2019 - Shortlisted
Stone Girl is a heartbreaking and uncompromising novel of survival and hope, an important story about a girl who is forced to live in the foster care system after her mother dies. Hale has written a novel for older teens that is compelling, and an absolute page-turner, but it is more than that. This book takes you into the world of wards of the state and gives voice to forgotten characters, such as the protagonist Sophie.
The strength of Stone Girl is the authentic voice which is gritty, honest and confronting. Not for the faint-hearted, Stone Girl manages to avoid being didactic yet still offers insights based on the author’s own experiences as a ward of the state. Hale’s prose is stunning, her writing both raw and eloquent. This novel is a strong advocate for a refocus on how we deal with young people raised within institutions without support of family.