A story of courage, survival, and taking charge of one's destiny
Inspired by true events, The Shadow Girl tells the story of an unnamed narrator who escapes the dangerous imploding world of her parents and wider family in order to survive. The narrator never embraces the life of a street kid. She dreams of becoming a doctor, volunteering for Medecins Sans Frontieres and inventing a vaccine for the eye-eating African worm. She is driven to survive the streets and her gun-toting Uncle Creepo, and to make something of herself. And to do that she needs an education. A loner and voracious reader, she tricks her way into a tough, western suburbs school and later into a high school in the ivy belt where the girls wear pink dresses and want for nothing. She is befriended by a street girl called Cinderella after she is threatened by some thugs on the train. Although Cinderella saves The Shadow Girl's life, she is unable to return the favour as Cinderella struggles with her own demons which involve sexual and drug abuse as she tries to escape the memories that put her on the streets. Using a mixture of genres from literary thriller to comedy and incorporating aspects of post-modernism (with the author and protagonist meeting daily to discuss the story), John Larkin has pared back the humour in order to deliver his best and most important novel to date - and one with an intriguing twist. The Shadow Girl is a tale that is sure to leave the reader breathless as the final confrontation with her uncle comes to its inevitable conclusion.
Also by John Larkin