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The Ghost's Child

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,032 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
The latest work from Australia's bestselling and international-award-winning author for children and young adults.

A lush, romantic fantasy for girls.

"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
Audio CD, 4 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Bolinda Publishing
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 16, 2008 tee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Very pretty writing, very out-of-the-ordinary and a really beautiful tale.
Apr 22, 2008 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not generally a big fan of Sonya Hartnett. It's not that I don't appreciate the skill of her writing, I just never feel emotionally connected to her books. (Apart from "Forest", which was about cats, not people. I think I have a problem with her oft-times misanthropic take on humanity.)

Anyway, I didn't expect to care for "The Ghost's Child" any better than I had (most of) her other novels, and it's true that when I started the book, I felt quite disconnected, as much as I—yes—admired the wr
Jun 25, 2008 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What does it mean to love someone very deeply, and then lose that love? And what does it mean to love someone deeply, but still yearn for something more? Once again, Harnett illuminates the hidden places of the human heart with truth and beauty.
Jan 03, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this, but I have a feeling that it's not going to sell well with my students. The read is much like that of Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson's fictionalized account of growing up in turn of the century England: slow, lots of description, not so much with the action. Haruf's Plainsong is another in this vein.

That's not to say that students won't like it, but I think it's a niche read rather than a widespread seller.
Jul 30, 2008 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Another deep one from Harntnett. It was a very quick read and I always wanted to pick it up and see what was going to happen next. I don't see too many teens enjoying it for plot or characterization. But I do think the writing is exquisite and teens can definitely enjoy that!
The Ghost's Child: A poorly-written review with digressions!

Matilda is already an old woman when she comes home to find a young boy relaxing on her couch, clearly waiting for her. Over the course of the afternoon, she tells him the story of how she came to be who she is--her way of refuting the boy’s disappointed accusation that she has gotten old. How she arrived at this place in her life--elderly, serene, at peace--was a long process of travel and adventure, of falling in love and learning to
Oct 10, 2008 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hartnett, Sonya. 2008. The Ghost's Child. Releases October 14, 2008.

"An exquisite fable about love and loss by the author of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Surrender."

It's important for readers to realize they're holding a fable in their hands. It will help explain some of the strangeness for one thing. If they're not trying to make it fit reality. Not that the book is unrealistic--it has its moments of course--but it's a blended reality meets fantasy. It has its own set of rules.

So fable abou
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Ashley B for

Matilda comes home one day to find a young boy sitting on her sofa. They have tea, and she tells him about her past. At that time, she went by Maddy, and she longed for a fairy tale life.

When Maddy finished school, she came home to her family's house by the sea. Her father asked her what she thought the most beautiful thing in the world was. She answered, "sea eagles." Her father decided that the two of them together would travel the world in search of t
Matilda, an old woman, enters her sitting room to find a mysterious young boy waiting there for her. His smoky colored eyes are familiar and though he has surprised her with his arrival, the two share tea and conversation for an afternoon.

Maddy's life unfolds in a lyrical recollection told to the young boy, swinging from scenes in the present in her sitting room back to the distant past when she was girl and first fell in love.

This is a gorgeous story that reads like a dreamy fairy-tale, a fev
I’d only read one of Sonya Hartnett’s books previously, Shadows of the Side-Step Wolf, which is a young adult novel I read in high school. I was curious to read more and with my track record with book covers to go by there was no way I could go past this one given it's lovely illustrations.

I’m so pleased to say the book lived up to its gorgeous cover by being an eerily beautiful story. I love how Sonya Hartnett turns the Australian bush and beach into a fairytale setting - unique and strange bu
Eva Mitnick
Mar 27, 2009 Eva Mitnick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Gorgeously written and managing to be at the same time both warmly human and puzzlingly mythical, this book is not easy to categorize. It will probably be of most interest to older teens and adults, as the main character is an old woman named Maddy looking back at events - and a relationship - that happened to her as a teen and young woman.

There are fairy-tale elements (Maddy's young man, whom she calls Feather, is an otherworldly sort of person) and moments when (as during the fight between the
Clare Cannon
Jun 14, 2010 Clare Cannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
Shelves: adults
Permit a philosophical review, for it is a philosophical book. It is a superbly written story that immediately submerges the reader in lyrical prose. The style is perfectly suited to the poetic theme which has the echo and poignancy of an age-old fable. Style and structure gradually build the narrative and leave the reader in anticipation of some great event, of some significant and completely transforming act.

My hope was that it would glorify complete selflessness, and show the beauty of giving
Feb 19, 2011 marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear Sonya Hartnett,

I love your books and can't wait to read more.

Lauren Schultz
I discovered Sonya Hartnett on a list of Printz Award-winning authors, and when I figured out that she was from Australia, I decided to try reading a couple of her novels. Of the three that I bought, this one sounded like the most unusual; reviews tout this novel as a combination of fantasy, fable and myth. As a former literature professor who has taught a course specifically on myths, fables, folktales and fairytales, this description intrigued me. I hadn’t intended on reading it, though, until ...more
Apr 26, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fable fans
This was a fable :) I really liked Maddy, but with Feather I have some bones to pick. I do not get "Truth" from Feather the way Maddy did. I get isolation and omission. Maddy mentions that maybe it would have been better had she never met Feather. Personally, I'm in that camp. Maybe I'm too much of a realist. But come on! What did he bring to the table, really? He was mopey and impossible to communicate with, and dare I say it, PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE. And when she loses the Fay, what does he say? I' ...more
Mar 21, 2012 kristineLuca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kāds to sauks par pasaku pieaugušajiem, bet es to dēvēju par stāstu, kas satur morāli. Soņas Hartnetas "Rēgu bērns" aizrauj ikvienu romantiskās literatūras cienītāju. Šī autore piesātina darbu ar metaforām un simboliem, savukārt tie veido atmiņā paliekošu mīlestību, vilšanos, cerības un emocijas tēliem, kas liek lasītājam ļauties gan asarām, gan nopūtai priekā, gan arī nesapratnē. Soņa pat atstāj iespēju pašam domāt par atbildēm, kuras neatklājas pat ar stāsta pēdējām lappusēm. Atļaušos teikt, ...more
Alekz Hannah
Oct 21, 2012 Nafiza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I'm reading this for Contemporary Children's Lit and according to my Prof, this is "simply divine and unlike anything you have ever read." It sounds exquisitely painful.

For a novel its length, A Ghost’s Child is surprisingly heavy where the themes are concerned. The book deals with self-discovery in a multitude of ways. Before the story of Maddy and Feather even begins, Maddy sets off on a journey of self-discovery with her father. Maddy and her father travel around the world together, seeing wo
Alexi Salter
Oct 04, 2012 Alexi Salter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was genuinely captivating, it kept on urging me to pick it up and see what happens. The descriptions were so incredible, I think Sonya may now be one of the best authors in all of mankind!

I do have one complaint though, it's that the character Feather was just stupid! I know that's a very rude thing to say, but he was! If you haven't read the book, don't worry, I won't give too much away. He was okay at the beginning, but in the middle he just turned horribly, horribly wrong...Whatever
Hannah (The Curiouser & Curiouser)
You know those books that tug and pull at your heartstrings until your sick with grief? The ones that make you want to curse and scream at whoever it was the got you into reading in the first place?


Well then, my friend, you haven’t been reading the right books.

This is a story of heartbreak and letting go. But not in the sense you might think. As you’ve probably figured out from the title, this is a ghost story . . . but not, at the same time.

There is no scary house with strange noises and a b

Review soon? Maybe?
Mar 23, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The moment they meet and find beauty in pelicans is unexpected and beautiful and not cliché.
Nov 11, 2014 Jules rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd describe this as a fable. It is magical, surreal & philosophical. It is both beautiful & heartbreaking at the same time. An unusual & wonderful read that will probably stay with me for many years.
KZM books
Jan 26, 2015 KZM books rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone

“…Svet se menja kada se nešto u njemu voli. Reči postaju slabe. Boje blešte. Svaki trenutak treperi zbog mogućeg značaja. A srce koje voli pita se kako je uopšte moglo da živi, a da ne voli – i kako će uopšte živeti sada, sada kada voli.”

Jednog kišnog dana, kada se gopođa Matilda vratila iz šetnje sa svojim psom, u svojoj kući je zatekla dečaka čiji joj je pogled delovao poznato. Nije ga poznavala i svakako ga nije očekivala, ali to popod
Miss Book
May 06, 2016 Miss Book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was just beautiful.
Like yeah,characters were nice,plot was really interesting,but what really stood out to me was a writing style.LIKE SONYA WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR WORDS WOMAN
Dec 02, 2015 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book a couple of times, though not for a few years now. When I first read it, as a 14/15 year old I was absolutely blown away by Hartnett's incredible writing. I hadn't before come across a book that was written so well. I was captivated. These days I hardly remember the details of the story (perhaps I should re-read it shortly...), but it will forever stand out in my memory as one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, for it showed me what a book can be.
Maybe it won't c
Alissa Bach
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kira Simion
Edit: 7-20-16

I just have to quote this:

What is the world's most beautiful thing?

Later the young girl answers "Seagulls" Of course. Seagulls. This was the second answer since the first one she chose was "Victory."

Do you know what her father said the answer was? "Her." How sweet.

Edit: 7-22-16

Wow. Just wow. This was beautiful in a vague sort of way. It let you interpret things (I realized the beautiful way the author had written in the way that there was detail but, just enough that you
Aug 18, 2016 Isidora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Koricama i stranicama ove predivne, tajnovito i poetski intonirane knjige, "lete" srebrnasti galebovi. Savršeno vizuelno rešenje uvodi u jednu bajkovitu, simbolima od početka do kraja uvijenu, a ipak dovoljno prozirnu životnu istinu. Nisam sigurna koliko je ovo zapravo delo za decu/tinejdžere, s obzirom na podtekst i ne malu senku koja pada na naizgled bezazlenu osnovu, ali, sličan "problem" prati i "Malog princa" - uostalom, dobra književna dela sasvim uspešno funkcionišu bez obzira na ciljnu g ...more
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Sonya Hartnett (also works under the pseudonym Cameron S. Redfern) is, or was, something of an Australian child prodigy author. She wrote her first novel at the age of thirteen, and had it published at fifteen. Her books have also been published in Europe and North America. Her novels have been published traditionally as young adult fiction, but her writing often crosses the divide and is also enj ...more
More about Sonya Hartnett...

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“Love is like moonlight or thunder, or rain on a tin roof in the middle of the night; it is one of those things in life that is truly worth knowing.” 64 likes
“I want my life to be mystifying," she declared, although she didn't know what she meant.” 33 likes
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