Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

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★★★.5

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Publisher: Text Publishing

Release Date: 29th May 2017

Pages: 309

Genre: Thriller/Mystery/YA

Buy: Amazon

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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?  -GR

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I was given a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book took longer than it should have done for me to read, but that wasn’t out of lack of enjoyment or a reflection on the writing. I was in a kind of reading slump. I feel like if I’d managed to sit down and read this book at the pace I usually read, I imagine I would have enjoyed it more, but it was still a good book.

Grace as a character is very unique and refreshing to read about. She’s a very damaged person as a result of her past and has a very dangerous attitude to the world around her. She’s reckless and, to an extent, self-destructive, but I think it was necessary to the story. However, there has been some controversy surrounding the ableist language in the title and scattered throughout the story so bear that in mind if you decide to pick this book up.

The plot was definitely creepy and immersive throughout, and there wasn’t a moment when there wasn’t anything happening. The narrative was ambiguous at times, which I know from other reviews was a little confusing, but I personally loved it because it was so unpredictable. One moment, the story would be calm and following Grace through very everyday events, and the next your heart would be racing and you’d be thrust straight back into the action. In short, this book gave me the creepy thriller vibes I’ve wanted from the books I read last month but didn’t get.

I also really liked the family aspect, especially the relationship Grace has with her brother. They still have their issues and aren’t poster children for positive sibling relationships but I feel like it was realistic and I really liked how it progressed over the course of the book. I love me some healthy sibling relationships.

The mystery itself was the kind that I like. It was twisty and complex without being overly so, and though you never got the full picture until the end, you could still follow the deductions Grace was making as she got new information. I also found the ending to be satisfying – halleluja!

This is the perfect book to pick up over Halloween if you’re in need of a spook. You could definitely read it in one night.


Have you read Ballad for a Mad Girl? If so, let me know in the comments and we can discuss! If you have any questions about the book, let me know and I’ll try and answer them.


Thanks for reading, lovelies.

One thought on “Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

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