Ballad For A Mad Girl

Ballad For A Mad Girl
Written by Vikki Wakefield
Contemporary, Mystery, Paranormal, #LoveOzYA
309 Pages
Published May 2017
Purchased
Published by Text Publishing
Add to Goodreads
★★★★★
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?
Grace Foley is an adventurer, creating mischief and mayhem in the rural town of Swanston while continuing to endure the loss of her mother, the causality of a pedestrian accident. Swanston is acquainted with despair when Hannah Holt disappeared over twenty years ago, a presumed casualty of local teen William Dean who was then ostracised from the Swanston community, committing suicide and plunging from the quarry. Now Swanston adolescents are descending on the abandoned quarry including seventeen year old Grace. A night of frivolity is interrupted as Grace begins to hallucinate.

At home Grace is barely surviving, her father and brother Cody continue to mourn while Grace is increasingly isolated. Best friend Kenzie has become estranged and tiring of Grace and her antics, preferring the company of boyfriend Mitchell. While her friends have matured, frustratingly Grace believes they have abandoned her, except for her delightfully freeloading friend Gummer. Her terror is palpable as Grace begins to experience an apparition, believing Hannah Holt has materialised seeing Hannah's body has never been found. Authorities believe William Dean's unrequited love for Hannah lead to the young woman's demise, fascinating and incredibly disturbing.

Grace is an unreliable narrator compensating for her anguish with exhilaration. As children, Grace created bilateral friendships with other remnant children, those who were ostracised. On the verge of becoming adults, Grace displays an incredible amount of resentment especially towards best friend Kenzie, her relationship with Mitchell and popular friend Amber. Although Grace often appears conceited and obnoxious, Kenzie had already begun to distance herself from Grace's destructive behaviour. The circumstances of Hannah Holt and William Dean are sobering for Grace as she withstands an incredible character transformation.

Ballad For A Mad Girl may become a point of contention for readers, is Grace psychologically unwell or spiritual, a contemporary novel or paranormal. Determined by the disposition of the reader. Vikki Wakefield is a formidable author, the ambiguous narrative is intriguing and captivating. Absolutely phenomenal.

26 comments

  1. I have this one on my tbr for the love oz ya month too! Luckily my library has an ecopy so I'm excited to start. I always like the idea of a is it contemporary/is it paranormal book but I find they dont always deliver for me. Hopefully this ones different! Great review Kells :D

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    1. Usually I'm on the hesitant side too Casey but this was magnificent and quite eerie. Can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  2. Ohh sounds a bit like My Sister Rosa. I have to check it out when I get a chance as it sounds right up my alley. I haven't read one of her's yet surprisingly.

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    1. I have that one on my list for the Bingo Challenge this month as well actually. This was my first Vikki Wakefield read and looking forward to picking up her other books. It was brilliant!

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  3. You had me at "loss of her mother". I have a thing for grief books, and your review certainly has my interest piqued. Great review!

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    1. I must admit that I do too Sam. It's therapeutic isn't it. Would love to see what you think of this one!

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  4. Omg I feel terrible but I DID READ THIS and I legit couldn't remember a thing till I read your review.😂😂 I'm terrible. I think I have too many things going on in my brain. Ah well. I'm really glad you liked this one!!

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    1. In all fairness, you've usually already finished four entire books before I'm even at the title page. I absolutely loved it, still thinking about while currently reading Unearthed actually.

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  5. This sounds fascinating. I hadn't heard of it before, so thanks for sharing!! I think it would be interesting to kind of see what I thought of Grace while reading this one - is it paranormal? Is it a case of mental illness? Intriguing!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. It certainly was Lauren. I'm a fan of unreliable narrators, it adds another level of intrigue throughout the storyline.

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  6. Nice. Glad you enjoyed this one. Five stars, huh? I lve a good mystery. I am going to go check this one out right now! Thanks!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

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    1. One of my favourite reads this year Rebecca. Would love to see what you think of it!

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  7. Oh wow, poor Grace, I don't think I could cope either if I suddenly started seeing apparitions. I'll have to give this a go, I just love a good unreliable narrator. :)

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    1. Me too Sarah and even though her actions in the beginning are questionable, her character development is astounding. Really enjoyed it and would love to see what you think of it!

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  8. That sounds pretty intense. Unreliable narrators are kind of iffy for me but it does sound good.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. For me in depends on the genre Karen, I love an unreliable narrator when it comes to mystery, suspense even paranormal reads. I think you'll really enjoy this one Karen.

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  9. I've heard this book come highly recommended and I love the fact that it has an unreliable narrator! I've got it on my TBR to pick up this month and I'm looking forward to reading it. Lovely review Kelly!

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    1. It was brilliant Jeann, can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  10. Wow, a perfect 5 stars. I'm not sure what to think of Grace but she sure sounds like a handful. This is absolutely one interesting read Kelly :)

    xx
    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

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    1. It's wonderful Vanessa. It's absorbing and held me captive until the last page.

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  11. This sounds intereesting! I was wary of the whole seeing ghosts aspect but you saying it's ambiguous in the book about whether she's crazy or spiritual makes me so much more interested as it gives that book a whole other edge to it, you know? Now I really want to read and this isn't the kind of book I'd normally think about checking out.

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    1. She's unreliable which casts doubt about what she's actually seeing and whether or not it's just a manifest of her grief. It's quite eerie too, some scenes almost making my hair stand on end. I think you'll absolutely love this one Becky, such a brilliant read.

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  12. oh creepy ghost story! Would be interesting to find out how she goes

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    1. It's certainly creepy Ailyn, and wonderfully written.

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  13. This one sounds like a rather unsettling read (and sounds like a curious mishmash of a lot of genres!) Wonderful review Kelly :)

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    1. It is but in the most wonderful way possible! I can almost guarantee you would love this one.

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