‘A train full of shadows. Of living ghosts. On a journey to nowhere.’

The Shadow Girl by John Larkin is a book that will make you re-examine the way you look at the world and just how horrible it can be. The Shadow Girl is tragic, but at the same time the light of hope shines through. This book reminds me that even if the world is dark there is still good, especially in places where you don’t think to look.

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 dunes on a Central Coast beach, and—with the help of her aunt’s credit card—has the occasional stay in a five-star hotel. Most of her time on the run, though, she spends on the trains—generally sleeping in the shunting yards. When the trains become too dangerous she manages to find a derelict house in a leafy suburb and moves in with the possums and resident ghosts, ready to prove once and for all that she can take care of herself.

‘I am a ghost. A wraith of atoms. A shadow’

I love that this book has such a strong female character who was able to overcome everything that was thrown at her and not break down.
You feel her emotions radiate of the page. The fear. The helplessness. The horror. The hope. All of this is balenced. There are moments where you marvel at her strengh then burst out laughing at her boldness and humour. During this story it’s hard not to be awestruck and inspired. It is heartbreaking to realise that there are actually people out there, living the way this nameless girl is living, and fearing for their life as much as she does.

‘You’ve got that look about you, like you’ve seen more than you should have.’

The Shadow Girl is a story of truth and lies, of lost innocence, but shinning with hope. It is definitely not a book to pass up.

Rating 5/5

‘Despite the post-it note with her phone number on it, she’s already little more than a fading memory. They all are.’