“We need our monsters to know what it is to be human.”
― Vikki Wakefield,
Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe. That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf. As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price. Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?
This is the first book I have ever read by Vikki Wakefield*. It started well and I was looking forward to seeing where the story took me. There were however multiple points where I felt confused and a little bit lost. I am still not sure whether this was done intentionally to add to the feel of the book or not.
The main character Grace believable and relatable. She has had a difficult past and appears to be damaged as a result of this. She has concerning attitudes and struggles with maintaining relationships because of this. I liked this aspect as it gave Grace a more realistic personality.
I enjoyed that the relationships within the book, especially the one with her brother was so realistic. I have a brother myself and saw some aspects that I recognised.
In a typical mystery/thriller/slightly paranormal book, you never got the full picture until the end, and while I’ve read plenty of other books in this genre, I still didn’t see it coming.
Overall I enjoyed the book. I also found the ending to be satisfying if a little rushed, as though she had a word count to stick to. Honestly, I struggled with the pace throughout. Sometimes it felt as though the book was dragging on and then I couldn’t keep up. As with the confusion I felt reading this book, I am not sure whether the pace was intentional.
How did I rate it?
I read this book in one sitting, on a blustery night in the middle of autumn. I suggest doing the same. Wrapping yourself up in a warm blanket with a hot drink and giving this book a try. While it didn’t blow me away, it’s definitely worth giving a chance. 3/5 stars. Ballad for a Mad Girl is due for release on November 30th in the UK but is available on book depository now (dispatched from Australia).
Peace and pages