A Library of the School of EducationDPIUW-Madison School Of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUW-Madison LibraryUW-Madison Catalog
About the CCBC
Authors and Illustrators
Recommended Books for Children and Young Adults
CCBC Calendar and Events
CCBC Podcasts
CCBC Publications
Intellectual Freedom

Support the CCBC
Support the CCBC
Are you a...K-12 TeacherLibrarianEarly Childhood Care ProviderUW Student / Faculty


by Justine Larbalestier

Published by U.S. edition: Soho Teen / Soho Press, 2015
309 pages
ISBN: 978𢴔16955441

Age 14 and older

The year is 1932, and the gritty Sydney neighborhood of Razorhurst is controlled by two rival gangs; one led by Gloriana Nelson and the other by Jim Davidson. Prostitution, gaming, illicit drugs, nightclubs, and grog shops run rampant in the area alongside poverty. An uneasy truce between the two factions is threatened by the murder of Jimmy Palmer, Gloriana抯 right-hand man. Kelpie is an orphan who can see and talk to ghosts, and who exists on the edges of her community. A story set over less than 24 hours begins with Kelpie stumbling onto the murder scene of Jimmy Palmer. High-class prostitute Dymphna Campbell is also there梥he was Jimmy抯 girlfriend. It抯 clear Dymphna didn抰 kill him, but she and Kelpie flee as the police arrive. On the run throughout Razurhurst and Sydney, Kelpie and Dymphna, accompanied by Jimmy Palmer抯 ghost, try to keep a step ahead of Gloriana and Jim Davidson, both of whom are in pursuit. Aspiring writer Neal Darcy is captivated by Dymphna and is drawn into their drama. A vivid sense of time and place permeates the action, while complicated characters model the many ways people are trapped by circumstances of poverty, crime, racism, and violence. One of the story抯 revelatory moments comes when it抯 revealed that Dymphna, who seems like a worldly adult, and Kelpie, who seems like a child, are almost the same age. The two teenagers similarities gradually emerge as they draw on their combined intelligence and instincts to survive a harrowing day.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

book cover
Book of the Week

In accordance with the UW-Madison Accessibility Policy, this site makes every effort to comply with the World Wide Web standards defined in the Federal Rehabilitation Act Section 508, specifically subsections 1194.22 and subsection 1194.31. If you need additional resources or have any questions or concerns about this site, please contact the site administrator for more information.
UW crest