Shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award 2017, and the Blue Peter Award 2017. Children’s Book of the Week in The Sunday Times, The Observer, and The Telegraph, Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller.
‘The Girl of Ink & Stars is one of 2016’s top-selling debuts, and Hargrave’s second book establishes her as a major new talent in children’s fiction. Set on a remote island for people with leprosy, this is mesmerising storytelling.’
– Fiona Noble, The Bookseller‘s 10 Titles Not to Miss
Ami lives with her mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: her island is to be made into a colony for lepers. Taken from her mother and banished across the sea, Ami faces an uncertain future in an orphanage. There she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they discover a secret that will lead her on an adventure home. Ami must go back to the island of no return, but will she make it in time?
Hargrave has a real and rare talent for combining poetic prose with compelling, page-turning storytelling. Her writing conjures such a vivid sense of place, the lush wildness of the natural world a fitting backdrop for an adventure that requires great independence and courage. Friendships and familial bonds are all important; the fierce love between a mother and daughter is at the very heart of the novel. Themes of prejudice, difference and loss are deftly handled, and there is real emotional depth and poignancy to the story, which is at times heartbreaking but ultimately one filled with hope.
This is easily one of the most impressive children’s books I’ve read for a long time. I believe that if adult readers can find joy in a world marketed for young booklovers, then the author has succeeded in writing a book that stands out from the rest.
This is an enchanting book by a writer who fully deserves the fuss being made of her.