I was completely thrilled to discover that Stone Girl is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings Young Adult Book Prize.
The winner will be announced next month.
Here’s what the judges said…
‘When 12-year-old Sophie finds her mother dead, her life slips out of her hands as she becomes a ward of the state. Behind the veneer of a system meant to help, she quickly realises that her new world is where children fall through the cracks, and rock bottom is a long way down. As she grows up kicking around from home to home, Sophie lands with Gwen, Matty and the beautiful, wretched Spiral, fellow casualties of abuse and neglect, struggling against the bureaucratic disempowerment that has consumed their lives. Maybe with them Sophie can begin to untangle the pain of her past.
Unforgiving and unforgettable, Stone Girl is a raw dose of reality for older YA readers. Hale grips onto the lives of her characters and pulls them to the surface, exposing the debilitating impact of institutionalisation on Australian youth, and the violence of a broken system which is equal parts well-intentioned and corrupt. Hale’s prose is precise and powerful, deftly balancing bleakness with glimmers of hard-won hope and inner steel. Stone Girl is a crucial and heartbreaking contemporary story for an informed generation.’