‘Stone Girl’ wins 2019 Readings YA book prize
Eleni Hale has won the 2019 Readings Young Adult Book Prize for her novel Stone Girl (Penguin).
Hale’s novel was chosen from a shortlist of six for the $3000 prize, which considers first and second works of young adult fiction and memoir, with the aim of promoting and supporting an emerging Australian writer and celebrating Australian YA books.
Stone Girl was chosen as the winner by a judging panel comprising Georgia Phelan (Readings Doncaster), Jackie Tang (Readings online), Dani Solomon (Readings Kids), Kate O’Mara (Readings Hawthorn) and author Cath Crowley. The Readings Teen Advisory board was also consulted.
Hale’s novel follows Sophie, a vulnerable yet resilient girl who becomes a ward of the state following the sudden death of her mother. As Sophie falls into a system meant to help, she realises that the foster system is where Australia’s kids fall through the cracks.
Crowley said Stone Girl is ‘one of the most compelling YA novels I had read in a long time’. ‘The prose is exquisite—precise and original,’ said Crowley. ‘The characters are heartbreakingly real. We hold our breath, terrified for Sophie as she moves through an increasingly dangerous world. Hale doesn’t shy away from the trauma that young people experience, and she doesn’t offer pat happy endings. The novel ends with hope—but it’s satisfying and believable.’
For more information about the award, see the Readings blog.