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Finalist for the 2015 Davitt Award for Best Young Adult Novel
Finalist for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature
A 2016 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection
In the vein of The Diviners and The Crimson Petal and the White, Razorhurst reimagines the notorious history of mob-controlled Sydney—with a paranormal twist.
Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and living on the street, is blessed and cursed with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts, and she sees the cracks already forming in their truce. Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell.
Dymphna is a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” for the trail of beaus who have died trying to protect her from Mr. Davidson’s assassins. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and as Gloriana’s hold crumbles one burly henchman at a time, the girls will need one another more than ever.
As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens at every turn, Dymphna is determined to not only survive but rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.
“Vivid and bloody and bold and fast—I feel like Razorhurst is in my bones now.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Sure, it is shiny and chilly and bloody and sharp, like the razor of the title, but Larbalestier’s book is also magical and glamorous.”
E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author
“Fascinating setting, colorful names, and sharp, peppery dialogue.”
New York Times Book Review
“Vivid…lavishly imagined…Larbalestier’s elaborate world is sure to linger.”
Los Angeles Times
“A bloody and evocative novel, written in clean and lively prose.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“Razorhurst is both fast-paced thriller and noir but with a paranormal twist… Larbalestier’s most compelling character isn’t a person or even a ghost but rather a place.”
“Larbalestier packs plenty of danger into the single day this novel covers, but frequent interludes of backstory keep things from feeling rushed…This story’s interwoven intrigue and empathy make it feel timeless.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Gritty historical fiction with a paranormal twist…The ghosts are mostly peripheral to the story, though their presence emphasizes the bloody nature of the time period and provides occasional humor.”
School Library Journal (starred review)
“Straight from the opening lines, the suspenseful narrative is both dizzying and illuminating as it rotates among the characters, giving a nearly 360-degree perspective on the life-threatening mess that Kelpie and Dymphna find themselves in…Larbalestier pulls no punches with the gruesome, gory details about the violence of poverty, and the result is a dark, unforgettable, and blood-soaked tale of outlaws and masterminds.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Reading like a detailed painting in novel form, this haunting, gorgeously rendered supernatural-historical novel captures the rough and tumble world of gangsters and molls in all its bloody, vicious glory…The novel is as much about the place and time as it is about the young women, and readers interested in immersing themselves completely in an unforgettable setting will revel in this well-researched, true-to-life adventure.”
Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Rebekah Rimington and Fiona Hardingham portray two orphans…The third narrator, David Ligudzinski, somberly provides backstories that delve into Razorhurst’s history and reveal characters’ motivations. While the story frequently switches point of view and time periods, the multiple narrators alleviate any confusion. The use of Australian voices to narrate a story set in Sydney adds authenticity and grounds the piece in Larbalestier’s style…An intriguing listen.”
"Razorhurst is magnificent—beautiful prose and good storytelling.”
Amber Benson, author of The Witches of Echo Park
“A timeless tale of love and violence in long lost Razorhurst with characters I truly cared about.”
Melina Marchetta, author of On the Jellicoe Road
“The voice actors Rebekkah Rimmington, Fiona Hardingham, and Davis Ligudzinski really bring the book to life. Rebekkah’s and Fiona’s strong Australian accents are perfect for Kelpie and Dymphna, providing just the right combination of sweetness and cunning. Davis reads the part of the narrator who fills in the backstory…The action is swift, the characters (including the ghosts) are believable, and there are twists and turns that will keep anyone guessing.”