LONGLIST REVIEW: The Girl of Ink & Stars

Joya is an Island full of myths and legends, steeped in history but now failing to thrive. Communities are hidden behind walls, beyond which are wastelands where it is rumoured evil beasts roam. Isabella Riosse lives in hope of one day leaving Joya and following in the footsteps of her father but until then her feet remain firmly planted.

Daughter of a map maker, Isabella has been brought up to believe that ‘Each of us carries the map of our lives on our skin, in the way we walk, even in the way we grow.’ Isabella’s heart is etched with the myths and legends of the Island which give her courage and determination. So when her best friend Lupe, daughter of the governor, vanishes beyond the walls, she is desperate to join the search party.

Knowing that a girl would never be taken seriously by the cruel governor and his men, Isabella dresses in the clothes of her deceased brother and offers her services to navigate the Island's perilous forgotten territories. As a cartographer’s daughter she is equipped with the skills and materials to map and chart the Island, but what she finds on her journey is beyond belief and more comparable to the childhood stories and legends she holds dear. Isabella soon realises it is not only Lupe that needs saving, but her Island home as well.

This debut novel by  Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a story of adventure, powerful friendships and bravery. Already an award winning playwright and poet, this beautifully written lyrical tale is a must read for anyone who loves books with courageous heroines. Recommended to more mature KS2 readers, this is a perfect Moving On book.

You can read chapter one of the book here, and see a video of Kiran Millwood Hargrave introducing the book here.

The Girl of Ink and Stars by  Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Helen Crawford-White

Chicken House     ISBN: 9781910002742