Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ballad for a Mad Girl” as Want to Read:
Ballad for a Mad Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ballad for a Mad Girl

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  656 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe.

That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voi
Paperback, 309 pages
Published May 29th 2017 by Text Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ballad for a Mad Girl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ballad for a Mad Girl

Draekora by Lynette NoniBegin, End, Begin by Danielle BinksBallad for a Mad Girl by Vikki WakefieldFrogkisser! by Garth NixThe Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil
#LoveOzYA 2017
60 books — 102 voters
Bottled Goods by Sophie van LlewynThe Dirty Book Club by Lisi HarrisonBallad for a Mad Girl by Vikki WakefieldAnastasia by Carolyn MeyerMonday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
Red Book Covers
184 books — 16 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  656 ratings  ·  174 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ballad for a Mad Girl
Tilly Booth
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ALRIGHT LISTEN UP BOOK NERDS. This book is fucking fantastic and if you want to read something that is YA, Australia, a little spooky and wholly emotional then for the love of all bookish gods, PICK THIS BOOK UP. You will not regret it, trust me.

Vikki Wakefield is an auto-buy author for me. She's fantastic. Her writing style is one of the greatest I've had the pleasure of reading and her characters are relatable and real. I can honestly and proudly say that Ballad for a Mad Girl is my new favou
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The gully looks bottomless tonight. Some say Hannah Holt is buried in the gully, her uneasy spirit slipping from crevice to shadow, sniffing for fear, and when she smells it she'll pull you down by the ankles with her teeth."

Grace Foley is a teenager hoarding a lot of rage and grief. She's never got over the death of her mother or her father subsequently leasing out their farm and moving Grace and her brother to town. She's known for the pranks she plays, particularly on the kids at the cat
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review was originally posted on Happy Indulgence Books. Check it out for more reviews!

3.5 stars

It’s been a while since I’ve read a truly creepy book, but Ballad for a Mad Girl definitely satisfied when it came to the horror moments – a girl covered in blood, creepy visions, hauntings and an unreliable narrator.

Grace is still trying to cope with the death of her mother, but in the process, she fixates herself on a murder mystery that happened to a teenage girl 20 years ago. From the start,
Alice (Married To Books)
I recieved a digital copy of this for review via NetGalley!

Ballad for a Mad Girl is a loveozya novel about a girl called Grace. She's in her final year of high school and always up for playing pranks on students from another high school that sits next door to her own. After one challenge goes horribly wrong, Grace starts to experience something very creepy, a strange fixation towards an unsolved twenty year missing persons case of a young girl from the area called Hannah Holt. In a short matter
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie-nz, own, 2017
"My heart is a room with an unwelcome visitor."

This is Vikki Wakefield's fourth novel and we 'clicked' right away. Since I've admired and enjoyed her previous work, I knew I would love her newest addition.

It's gritty, it's raw and oh-so gripping. Even though I'm a big scaredy-cat, I adore the thrill just the same and the novel delivers on all accounts. But it's more than a mystery with elements of horror. The author excels at writing about the human condition and character study. Moreover,
Trigger warnings: abuse, death of a parent (in the past), mental health issues.

My thoughts on this book can basically be summed up in one word: Que???

Like...the whole time I was reading this book, I just wasn't sure what the fuck I was reading. Was Grace dealing with mental health problems? Was she an unreliable narrator? Was there genuinely weird paranormal shit going on? I STILL DON'T KNOW.

I liked the writing. I liked Grace. I liked her friends and her family members and her stolen axolotls.
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ballad For A Mad Girl is the fourth novel by Australian author, Vikki Wakefield. Seventeen-year-old Grace Foley’s dad has grounded her (again) for a stupid prank (and yeah, she probably deserved it). But tonight, there’s a pipe challenge on: all her friends will be there; her daredevil reputation and her record are at stake; she’s got to show those Sacred Heart kids who’s the champion, so of course she’s going to sneak out. But at the quarry, when she’s on the pipe running across the gully, some ...more
chloe ♡
I received an ARC of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Overall rating: 2.5 stars

Soo... I got creeped out. *cue creepy murder music*


I didn't know anything about the book before I started reading it. I liked the cover, so I requested for it. (Oh my goodness I sound so shallow.) When I started reading it I was kind of confused.

I don't understand what Grace is doing, and she has TERRIBLE fr
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loveozya, text, bookgasm
Grace Foley is an adventurer, creating mischief and mayhem in the rural town of Swanston while continuing to endure the loss of her mother, the causality of a pedestrian accident. Swanston is acquainted with despair when Hannah Holt disappeared over twenty years ago, a presumed casualty of local teen William Dean who was then ostracised from the Swanston community, committing suicide and plunging from the quarry. Now Swanston adolescents are descending on the abandoned quarry including seventeen ...more
Kirsty ❤️
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read some really rubbish books lately so it was nice to finally ead a good, creepy, spooky book. It's an Australian young adult book with a murder mystery, ghosts, teenage angst, grief, mental health issues and probably a whole host more things. 

There are so many twists that turn then twist again although not to the point where you can't keep up. I enjoyed all the relationships; both teenage groups that love each other, fall out, make up and rinse and repeat. I liked the tone of the book. T
Text Publishing
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, ya, australian
‘The touch of magical realism—or is it psychic ability that Grace inherited from her mother?—is key to making the plot work…Give this to readers who enjoy a bit of supernatural ambiguity in their crime dramas.’
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

'Wakefield’s bone-chilling supernatural thriller...blurs the line between perception and reality, often folding in shrewd discussions of mental illness along the way. With whirlwind pacing, dynamic characterizations, and out-of-this-world spook ap
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vikki Wakefield is one of the most creative and daring authors writing for young adults today. Ballad for a Mad Girl is an Aussie YA Gothic tale that smartly uses the supernatural to explore the depths of grief and growing up, and the pain to be found in both. This is a caring and keening novel, creepy but tender and wholly marvellous.
rachel ☾
• Wakefield’s writing style rubbed me the wrong way. I found it physically painful to read like someone was rubbing a grater over my eyeballs with every sentence. I have no patience for lyrical metaphors that try to subtly suggest what is happening. You can be poetic and clear at the same time.
• Grace was unlikable, completely and utterly unlikeable. I had no sympathy for her. She was an awful friend. She was not funny, and it is constantly said that she was meant to be. I literally did not eve
Greyson | Use Your Words
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

DNF @ 25%

I just can't do it to myself. I stayed for the mystery for as long as I could but cut out early because of the judgmental main character. It just reminded me too much of myself when I was a teenager (yes, teenage me was an asshole). The mystery just wasn't interesting enough to make me stay. I did want to like this book. I don't find many books written by Aussie authors that I enjoy. Unfortu
Dec 11, 2016 marked it as to-read
How I feel about Vikki Wakefield's writing:

I cannot wait for this book.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Review to come on podcast.

Christine Bongers
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie-ya
I'm a huge fan of Vikki Wakefield and her latest offering is a cracker. Dark, gothic, and unputdownable. Loved it. ...more
Bec (booktineus)
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland

PROMOTE ALL THE AUSSIE BOOKS!! Vikki Wakefield is an author I’ve heard nothing but good things about, and I’m so glad I can add her to my list of Aussie Authors read. I definitely need to check out more of her stuff after BALLAD FOR A MAD GIRl because it was so well written.

A large focus on family, friends, grief, and mental health
An important part of any contemporary and mystery is the charac
I need time to process and to talk to people about this one.

I enjoyed Grace's voice. She always felt real. But sad and dark subject matter mean it's a tough read (but that's expected from this author).

Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this down. It is a thrilling, compelling and scary novel. Wakefield at her best (and that's very, very good). ...more
Brooklyn Tayla
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Okay, this was definitley a unique reading experience. After seeing Vikki Wakefield speak at YA Adelaide, I was intrigued by the premise of her book, and it never quite left my mind after hearing about it, so I couldn’t resist picking it up from my local library and when I started reading it, I was actually hooked, I had chills, and honestly had no idea what would happen next; I haven’t read anything like this before, I couldn’t stop thinking about this book and it’s unique story, I needed to kn ...more
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
You know a book is pretty good when you pull an all nighter to finish it!

Let's get the cons out of the way first:
-I wish we could have seen (view spoiler)
Manon the Malicious
I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This did not catch my interest. I became partly interested around 75% but not before.
I could not stand any if the characters. There were all so unlikeable. Don’t even get me started on the main character… But her family or friends weren’t any better.

The plot was soooo messy and the way it was written was incredibly frustrating. Often, we would have a sort of cliffhanger at the end of the chapter but there was no following at th
Cass -  Words on Paper

I read Vikki Wakefield's debut novel and really enjoyed it, and found myself connecting with the characters and story, it was lovely. This one? Not quite as much. In fact, I'm still so confused as to what actually happened that I fear my review will just be a completely incomprehensible mess.

'Ballad For A Mad Girl' involves grief, death, fear, prank wars and rivalry between schools in a small Aussie town, a dog that won't go upstairs, pizza, friendship amongst misfits, and the voices and v
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
alright :-)
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy moley, kids. This book is AMAZING! I've always been a huge fan of Vikki Wakefield, but this book: this book is off the scale. Gripping, scary, thrilling, real, unreal and fabulous. I started it a few days ago, whilst on holidays, and it gripped me, but I didn't have time to really get stuck in. Well, I've just devoured two thirds in one giant gulp. It's 1am. Just read it. ...more
Emily Mead
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
This was so good. The emotions are intense and unsettling - it would be incredible as a movie. In some parts it had a similar vibe to Stranger Things. Definitely recommend.
Rashika (is tired)
For someone who has had Vikki Wakefield on her tbr for over half a decade, it has taken me a surprisingly long time to finally pick up a book by her. I went in with the expectation that I would at least like it but ended up being surprised in many pleasant ways.

OZ YA, in my opinion, tends to be much grittier than US YA so its always refreshing to find myself lost within the pages of an OZ YA. Ballad for a Mad Girl is many things. It's partly a paranormal murder mystery, partly an exploration of
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Ballad for a Mad Girl was slightly confusing, moderately spooky, and very mysterious. I liked that I could not for the life of me figure out how it was all going to come together. Honestly, I am still trying to figure it out. Was it mental illness? Or was there real paranormal stuff going down? The world may never know. I liked most of the characters but I had a few problems with Grace. She started out okay, an angsty, rebellious teen acting out after the death of her mom. I sympathized with her ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Grace Foley has always been a little bit mad. Anyone who isn't afraid of anything must be. Things take a turn for the worse at a notorious pipe challenge, a dangerous game played by competing schools, and Grace freaks out completely and starts to have experiences she can't explain. Crazy experiences like supernatural encounters with a girl who went missing over twenty years ago kind of crazy. Suddenly Grace can't tell what is real and what isn't anymore and she stands to lose not only her mind b ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Small Spaces
  • Take Three Girls
  • Please Don't Hug Me
  • Loner
  • Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal
  • The Place on Dalhousie
  • Kokomo
  • The Erasure Initiative
  • Amelia Westlake
  • The Shop at Hoopers Bend
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
  • Invisible Boys
  • The Mother Fault
  • Between Us
  • Honeybee
  • Memento (The Illuminae Files, #0.5)
  • The Yearbook Committee
  • Come
See similar books…
See top shelves…

News & Interviews

Secrets between siblings, grandparents with grievances, parents with problems. If you're looking for serious drama, check out these new...
27 likes · 3 comments
“We need our monsters to know what it is to be human.” 2 likes
“First one to puke on the carpet is a legend.” 0 likes
More quotes…