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The Shadow Girl

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  546 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
Inspired by true events, a story of courage, survival, and a young girl who defies horrible odds to take control of her destiny.
The unnamed narrator escapes the dangerous imploding world of her parents and wider family in order to survive. Not wishing to be chewed up and spat out by the red light district she hides out in her local church, spends her weekends in the sand
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Random House Australia (first published June 1st 2011)
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Veronica Roberts It depends where you are. The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft (Sydney) also act as his agent so they definitely have copies.

Community Reviews

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Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
THIS book has left me feeling kind of meh. I don't know quite how to describe it, and I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I'll try my best. This book is about homelessness. It's a 'true' story (in quotation marks because I'm pretty sure some creative flair has been added). It's about hope and overcoming all the shit which is thrown at you. It should be inspirational but I just didn't feel it.

I feel like I should've finished this book and stopped to reflect on my life an
Natasha Fernando
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At times when reading this book I had to remind myself that this was based on a true story. At the moment someone was out there trying to get through each day hoping that tomorrow would be better. They have no one that loves them and they have no one to love.

The way this book is written is really unique, the whole story is told by a nameless girl who is recounting what occurred during the past years for her get to this point. She is telling this to an author that she met during her schooling so
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mr Larkin, this was amazing! A very powerful story of a young, very bright, homeless girl. It's quite a grim, dark, story, but the way this complex story is put together lifts it from the hopelessness that characterise similar tales. There were even places where I laughed out loud - The Shadow Girl's sense of the ridiculous is wonderful.
A fabulous, thought provoking, Australian story! Highly recommended!
Katrina Ly
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
this book was great. usually when someone writes like this, i automatically tune out and as a result i usually have to force myself to finish reading that book, but this is one of those rare books that are written in that kind of way that only the truly dedicated readers read, that the teachers would love to assign to students, but it was still very captivating and obviously very poignant.

i can't really say that i absolutely love this book as i have other books, because this book is different, i
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Shadow Girl is a novel by Australian writer, John Larkin, that follows the story of a fourteen year old girl forced into homelessness due to her domestic situation at home. The story is beautifully narrated and the occasional changes in narrator help complete the story and complete the background of the main character.

This is a moving book, tracing out the tale that is similar to so many others out there. This story also explores simple human compassion which may come from complete strange
Megan Wiseman
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book had the desired effect on me, it challenged my values, beliefs and made me grateful for the people and opportunities in my life. The shadow girl has been written in two different perspectives making it seem more real. The book draws you in so much so, that I didn't realise I was reading half of the time and the main protagonist is an inspiration to keep reaching for your dreams no matter what your situation. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to read about life from an unusual and ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Shadow Girl is a remarkable book. It is thought provoking and challenging and based on a true story about homelessness. It is not a light read but it is well worth it. John Larkin writes beautifully. Chapters vary between first person and cafe scenes in which the author interviews the Shadow Girl about her story. This technique is powerful as it is a constant reminder that this story is true and makes the story more powerful.

It is a book that really made me think, especially about the peopl
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this after listening to an interview with Larkin for uni in which he talks about The Shadow Girl. It wasn't the story that intrigued me (though that did too), rather the style. I kind of get the impression you could read this book normally or by reading just either the SG bits or the cafe bits and it would still make sense.
This is not the easiest book to read, it is confronting in places but there is an offset in the humour. Not a book I would recommend to everyone. Though characters do w
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
One day for a book of this length is something of an achievement for me. I just could not put it down. This doesn't happen often, either. Waiting for the train, I read. Standing, waiting to be served at the local uni Woolworths, I read. On the train home from uni, I read. And waiting to be picked up in the rain, from the train station, I read. Obviously being based in the Sydney suburbs, as much as the effort to erase all names and places has been done, Larkin captures a life-like story into 406 ...more
Danielle McGregor
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A book with a very interesting narrative structure. It took me a little while to adapt but in the end I really liked the way this novel was written.
Whilst a book for Young Adults, the themes and story line is pretty full on as you learn about an abused teenager living on the streets. The story is very powerful and although quite sad, at times, Larkin also reminds you of the good in people and society too.
I really liked the Shadow Girl as the protagonist - she was smart, hard-working, tough and n
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book showed the scary reality of the world, and yet it also showed the beauty within people. It follows the story line of a girl forced from her home and learning the harshness of living on the streets. Along side the story shows the interview with her and the author and i found that i looked forward to those sections as much as I did to the actual story. In the interview it shows her true personality shine through a sharp, sassy and witty girl. I recommend this book to everyone for its dar ...more
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May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book! It touched on many important topics, such as homelessness and sexual abuse. It had a great story line. The only thing that kind of annoyed me was when the main character was talking to the writer and it wasn't specified who was talking, so you had to work it out yourself. Other than this it was an amazing book!

It's also so sad that it's based on a true story. I feel like this book can really open up people's eyes and make them aware of what is happening in the world ar
Pam Saunders
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended by a bookseller, again proving a good one is worth knowing. Loved the story and I was willing to skip a couple of not quite believable moments/events because the story had me so engaged. Hope there are schools and teachers out there like the ones Larkin creates. Unfortunately I do think there are some not pleasant characters just like those he created, but fortunately there are those just like his good characters too. Will be recommending this highly to the teens at school.
Melissa Turner
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book made me contemplate life and how good I actually have it. It made me appreciate what I had. It was a great read but between the middle and the end I lost a bit of interest because there wasn't much excitement or anything to pull me in. Overall I really liked the story and the way it was written.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sarah Montgomerie
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Couldn't put it down. Particularly loved the style in which it was written.
Words and Nerds
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Words and Nerds Podcast & Blog
Pilot Episode with John Larkin

* The following blog (and podcast) discusses content such as mental illness and suicide-prevention that may be upsetting to some people *

You won’t find many better blokes than multi-award winning Aussie novelist John Larkin, a feminist with a strong social conscience and a belief that people are inherently good. You don’t need to look too closely to see these beliefs permeated throughout his most recent novels The Pause and The Shad
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this all in one sitting, as it was so engaging and confronting. This was a very powerful story and at times was really difficult to stomach. 'The Shadow Girl' is the story of a homeless girl recounting her struggles to an author that she met at school so that she can pass her story on anonymously. Her story is recounted through first-person narration interspersed with dialogues between the girl and the author as they discuss events at a cafe, which makes for a unique telling that grounds ...more
Queen Coloman
Sep 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I only made it to page 7 of this book. I usually give a book more time to find its rhythm but seven pages was all I could manage.

Larkin tries too hard to sound teenager-cool, camouflaging (badly) exposition as inner-monologue that felt forced and inorganic. When you try to make every line clever, funny or sassy, it has a nullifying effect on any truly standout lines you might have written. In the same way a herd of elephants is only as fast as its slowest member, overstuffed prose is only as go
Leticia Porter
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good. I loved it so so so so so so so so so so so much. It was really amazing.
I don't know what other people thought but I kind of felt like the author was saying something in the book about how there may be bad people but there are so many good people. Like there was Ms Taylor, the principle, the random old lady, Alistair, the bus stop guy, Cinderella and so many more people who helped her. Even Aunt Serena could sort of be seen as a good person. I just loved this book so so s
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Heart wrenching, heart warming and beautifully written.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Read my reviews at looking for seattle

I don't know what to feel about this book. Disappointed, I guess. I haven't been too into the romance stuff lately and here is this book that could touch on some real issues but I just wasn't impressed.

I have this thing about addressing the reader in fiction. I think it really takes away from the authenticity of the story, like, "hey! hey you! I have something to say!" With the interviews between the author and the (nameless) protagonist being a central poin
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those strange books that changes you. I didn't expect much from it, hell ididn't think I'd end up finishing it, if I;m being honest.

But i made that treck through the story and found myself captivated.

the story is quite horrific in places, but oddly beautiful too. The writing is pretty blunt, but there's also many interesting ideas bought up.

It's not a novel to read in one sitting. It's the kind you need to sit on, to digest for a while and wonder about all the whys and hows of
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although I was drawn into this story narrated by a 14 year old homeless girl, i found some parts very confronting. John Larkin's characters are believable. It seemed as though the many newspaper reports of domestic violence, underworld drug dealing and homelessness come to life in this novel which was 'inspired by a true story'.

It is written in an interesting style as the young homeless girl tells her story to a journalist?, writer?
Most of the book is narrated by the unnamed teenager but occas
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
i was given this book to read for a novel study and at school, and personally, I believe it is an amazing book that after a while it is hard to put down. After much discussion with the class, we came to realisation that the area mentioned in the book is actually based of an area about a 15 minute drive away.

A great thing when reading a book is being able to connect with the character and what is going around around them. one reason is because, yes, i have grown up around where it is set, but th
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well I think this is actually quite a great book that kind of inspires me. I mean it's not the most inspirational book out there but I do love this book, the shadow girl, and how she chose to live her life. And I'm happy because she got her Ms Honey in the end but in a different version. She inspires me, but the most inspiring thing in this book is how at the bus shelter the guy cleaned up all the glass for her. And how he told her about the blinking author. That part really made me want to go u ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
The wait for this book was worth it. The style it is written in caught me out, but I enjoyed it.

Shadow Girl has a beautiful balance between showing the reality of the world, the darkness within humans, but mostly, the kindness of humans, and how this affects someone who needs it. And that, I think is why I stewed over this book for so long, turning it over in my mind long after I had finished it.

I did however, think that at points, some of the characters were very undeveloped, or the narrator
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Okay so being a teenage hormonal girl ,I usually just avoid these kind of books .I mean I mostly just read romance and fantasy and I really didn't want to buy this book but then there wasn't any other affordable book in the store so I settled for this .
This book is so captivating ,it dosent matter what kind of a reader you are ,you will love it.I love the main character and not once in the book will you feel any flaw.
Usually when reading books based on true events ,you might get a headache or ju
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shadow Girl is a standout novel by author John Larkin. It is a compelling and thought-provoking tale of survival that offers an intriguing examination of human nature. The Shadow Girl herself is a surprising character, smart and sassy with a grand imagination and a penchant for witty one-liners, whilst her Uncle is a truly terrifying adversary. Larkin has created an innovative novel that pushes the boundaries of young adult fiction with its combination of sharp and resonant writing and a plot th ...more
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Sydney-based author and screenwriter, John Larkin, was born in England but grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has, at various stages of his writing career, supported his habit by working as a supermarket trolley boy, shelf-stacker, factory hand, forklift driver, professional soccer player and computer programmer. He now writes full-time. John has a BA in English Literature and a MA in Cr ...more
More about John Larkin...
“We start each day with a blank sheet of paper in front of us, and what we write on it is up to us.” 26 likes
“You've got that look about you, like you've seen more than you should have.” 12 likes
More quotes…