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?
I trace the word with my finger. It shimmers. A sharp impact near my ribs knocks me sideways and the pipe seems to buckle and twist. My legs lose grip. Close by, someone is sobbing as if their heart could break.
Vikki Wakefield’s first YA novel, All I Ever Wanted, won the 2012 Adelaide Festival Literary Award for YA Fiction, as did her second novel, Friday Brown, in 2014. Friday Brown was also an Honour Book at the Children’s Book Council of Australia, in 2013, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Prime Minister’s Awards. Vikki’s third novel, Inbetween Days, was Highly Commended in the 2016 Barbara Jefferis Award, was a 2016 CBCA Honour Book and was shortlisted for the 2016 Prime Minister's Awards. Vikki lives in the Adelaide foothills with her family.
‘Fans of intelligent, unflinching, spine-crawling thrillers…will love Ballad for a Mad Girl.’ Books + Publishing
Vikki Wakefield is a formidable author…Intriguing and captivating. Absolutely phenomenal.’ Diva Book Nerd
‘Wakefield tightropes confidently between fact and fantasy, the real and the surreal in this gripping tale of a daredevil teenager.’ Adelaide Advertiser, Favourite Books of the Year
‘Everything you already love about Vikki Wakefield—plus a spine-tingling supernatural mystery. Ballad for a Mad Girl is brilliantly creepy and thrilling.’ Fiona Wood
‘There’s a dark side to being the funny one in the group. This is a piercing, creepy tale about a wild girl who could lose herself to a ghost. Vikki Wakefield’s writing never fails to give me chills.’ Emily Gale
‘Vikki Wakefield writes stories that will break your heart.’ Readings
‘Ballad for a Mad Girl is brilliant, edgy and unsettling. Grace is a tough and sympathetic anti-heroine. I felt her grief and, even when I cursed her curiosity, was compelled to follow her to the story’s satisfying, cinematic end.’ Simmone Howell
‘Vikki Wakefield is one of Australia’s best YA writers. I couldn’t put down Ballad for a Mad Girl.’ Cath Crowley
‘Vikki Wakefield is one of the most creative and daring authors writing for young adults today. Ballad for a Mad Girl is an Aussie YA Gothic tale that smartly uses the supernatural to explore the depths of grief and growing up, and the pain to be found in both. This is a caring and keening novel, creepy but tender and wholly marvellous.’ Danielle Binks
‘Ballad for a Mad Girl is an intense, unsettling read…Every page is charged with emotion.’ Loony Literate
‘Ballad for a Mad Girl is about the living, the dead, the long journey of grief, and what happens when the lines between them blur. A spooky, gripping rollercoaster ride!’ Nadia L King
‘In Ballad for a Mad Girl, Vikki Wakefield does it again, this time raising the bar with a riveting, beautifully told ghost story that draws you in until the very last page.’ Kids’ Book Review
‘Vikki Wakefield is one of the most creative and daring authors writing for young adults today. Ballad for a Mad Girl is an Aussie YA Gothic tale that smartly uses the supernatural to explore the depths of grief and growing up, and the pain to be found in both. This is a caring and keening novel, creepy but tender and wholly marvellous.’ ALPHA Reader
‘Talented author Vikki Wakefield produced another gripping novel for YA readers…A clever mystery and insightful working out of newly adult relationships among characters as real and nuanced as ourselves.’ Adelaide Advertiser
‘A beautifully creepy book.’ Booktopia
‘With complex and genuine characters, a captivating narrative and the authenticity of a small-town setting, Ballad for a Mad Girl is the epitome of great Aussie YA.’ Written Word Worlds
‘Beautifully written, chilling and atmospheric, Ballad for a Mad Girl is a story with heart, horror, and hope.’ Bookish Manicurist
‘Ballad for a Mad Girl is a real page turner...Beautifully written. The gothic, literary tone adds to the creepy atmosphere.’ Reading Time
‘Ballad for a Mad Girl has all the features to appeal to its intended audience, with its tight plot, its claustrophobic country town atmosphere and a group of longtime friends growing up and sometimes growing apart. Many are sure to enjoy the tension and edginess of Vikki Wakefield’s novel.’ Magpies
‘A tightly drawn story of compulsion...I could picture the landscapes so carefully created by Wakefield. The striking cover will impel young adults to choose to read it and they will be stunned by the extraordinary thriller within.’ ReadPlus
‘This is another great young adult novel by Vikki Wakefield that looks at the real world of a teenager, and what might be happening on the other side.’ Big Book Club
‘Evocative descriptions will make readers feel Grace’s fear, frustration, and confusion, with sights, sounds, and scents that are as palpable as word on a page can be. Mesmerising, haunting, and hopeful.’ Kirkus Reviews
'Wakefield’s bone-chilling supernatural thriller...blurs the line between perception and reality, often folding in shrewd discussions of mental illness along the way. With whirlwind pacing, dynamic characterizations, and out-of-this-world spook appeal, Wakefield’s writing is a possessive force of its own. Readers, ready your nightlights.’ Booklist
‘The touch of magical realism—or is it psychic ability that Grace inherited from her mother?—is key to making the plot work…Give this to readers who enjoy a bit of supernatural ambiguity in their crime dramas.’ Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Ballad for a Mad Girl starts with a girl’s mundane rebellion against her widowed father and quietly draws you deeper into 17-year-old Grace’s changing world. Beneath her prankster exterior, our heroine is furious at life well before she suspects she’s losing her marbles; Vikki Wakefield uses Grace's supernatural visions to explore the feeling that everyone else is growing up too quickly while she's stuck in the past. Fans of Cath Crowley will appreciate Wakefield's ability to expertly channel the voice of teenage disaffection.