Sunday, January 11, 2009

Review: The Ghost's Child - Sonya Hartnett

The Ghost's Child - Sonya Hartnett

Ok, before I begin (and to get everyone psyched!) to say I loved this book would be a serious understatement. I totally devoured all 179 pages in one sitting, it was so magical and enthralling! (It also made me want to cry a little)

Basically, the book is about Maddy, retelling the mystical story of her life to a young boy who appears in her living room one afternoon. (You can read a full synopsis here)
"The sky was pitch, and gashed by lightning; loutish waves rose and slumped heavily as mudslides. At a moment when she was filled with desperation, Maddy opened her mouth and yelled for Feather. And half-expected him to appear, because she wanted him to so much."
What's really special about this book is Sonya Hartnett's stunning use of language. Her descriptions make the words on the paper come to life. When Maddy is 16 years old, her and her father set off all around the world in search of the most beautiful thing in the world. Their travels aren't gone over in much detail, only line after line of stunning summaries,
"Their cheeks were dampened, their ears were deafened, by the spray of a hundred waterfalls. They stood in the flying, flickering midst of a million migrating butterflies."
Reading the first chapter of this book I thought it may have been written for younger readers, it has large print, it's a short book and the language seemed quite simple. However, as the book went on it definitely is a young adult novel, the themes of love, loss and grief were quite heavy (as well as the increasingly addition of difficult words).

All in all, The Ghost's Child is a celebration of life, and the importance of love. Maddy's tale is what I would describe as magical realism... she sets off for the horizon on a boat voyage and talks to sunfish and whales on the way to find an answer to a question. But the fantasy is what makes the story so wonderful, daring you to dream, and find love and see beauty in everything and everywhere.

I give The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett an easy 5/5 stars, my favourite book so far of the year :)

I have a few more books by Sonya Hartnett on my to be read pile, Princes and Surrender. Hopefully they're as good as this one!

What's your favourite book you've read this year? Have you ever read anything by Australian author Sonya Hartnett?


  1. Wow, does that sound good. It's got a great cover, too!

  2. That book sounds really good! I have never read any books by her, I shall have to add it to my tbr list :)

    My favorite book that I read this year, wait do you mean 2008 or 2009? well if you mean 2008, it's Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon by Marjorie Kellogg, it's my new favorite book of all time actually hehe :D I just love it! If you mean 2009 I'd have to say Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, I loved it!

  3. great review! I love books with stunning, inventive language.

  4. This looks good! I'm adding it to the TBR. :) Thanks for the review.

  5. That book sounds really interesting. I will add it to my list

  6. I read What the Birds See, which I did not like, but this sounds good, so perhaps I should give Sonya Hartnett another try.

  7. This book was amazing, but instead of making me appreciate beauty and uplifting me, it made me cry and also depressed me. Still one of my favorite books I've read thus far.

  8. I just read this one and loved it! I'm going to read Hartnett's other books, too.

  9. This looks like an interesting book. I'm going to add it to my to-read list.
    college essays

  10. I appreciate your post it's too good and helpful for us...
    essay help