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Razorhurst

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


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