Ballad for a Mad Girl

2018 - Shortlisted

Shortlisted

Judges' comments

Grace Foley likes to win. She battles against all odds to be the best, including the dangerous dare of crossing a gully on an overturned log. On this most important dare, she encounters the ghost of Hannah Holt, a girl who had disappeared. While others try to help, Grace becomes obsessed with Hannah’s ghost and, despite her own terror, follows her in a search to understand the girl’s story.

Vikki Wakefield uses ghostliness against the reality of life in a small town to reveal the ugliness of lies concealed. Using economical language, characters are explored and setting is quickly defined. Events are eerie and believable, due not only to carefully placed word structures, but the authenticity of the protagonist, Grace Foley. As she battles to control her world she finds herself alienating all who might otherwise help her. To win this time, she needs to push all others away. A truly gripping story.