A Hunger of Thorns
Lili Wilkinson
Publisher: A & U Children
ISBN: 9781760526948
Awards Year: 2024
Category: Book of the Year: Older Readers


Maude is the daughter of witches. She spent her childhood running wild with her best friend, Odette, weaving stories of girls who slayed dragons and saved princes. Then Maude grew up and lost her magic – and her best friend. Storytelling is her only gift that remains.

Odette always hungered for forbidden, dangerous magic, and 2 weeks ago she went searching for it. Now she's missing, and everyone believes she's dead. Everyone except Maude.

Maude is sure she can find Odette inside the ruins of Sicklehurst, an abandoned power plant built over an ancient magical forest –a place nobody else seems to remember is there. The danger is, nobody knows what remains inside Sicklehurst, either. And every good story is sure to have a monster …

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The CBCA judges say...

This darkly atmospheric book draws the reader into a metaphorical exploration of the challenges of living in a highly industrialised world, told through the lens of an interrogation of female power and persecution in the historical and contemporary context. While utilising a magical realism setting to present highly contemporary themes, the clearly drawn characters allow the reader a deep understanding of the psyche of young people, and the novel is firmly grounded in family and peer group dynamics. Though building on the recognisable young adult trope of the “strong female protagonist”, Wilkinson has cleverly subverted this tradition through world-building and interesting characterisation, making this immersive story a powerful and original novel for the upper end of the readership.

Teaching Notes for this book...

Allen and Unwin, the publisher, have generously made teaching notes available for this book on their website.