MG book recommendations

MG Recommendations for Authors: Wildspark by Vashti Hardy
1024 1013 Writer and the Wolf Editorial

I loved Wildspark even more than Brightstorm – and I really loved Brightstorm! I first came across Vashti Hardy when I took the Golden Egg Academy’s year-long ‘Write Your Successful Children’s Novel’ programme, as she went through the same programme and is still a powerful, supportive force in the GEA community. She’s a fantastic MG writer; this was such a fast, easy read and Prue is compelling and likeable right from the start without being perfect: sometimes I wanted to shake her and shout ‘Forget about Francis, Prue! Go live your life – it’s what he would have wanted!’ Twelve year olds, amirite?

The pacing feels just right – Prue and her brother’s backstory is sprinkled throughout as short flashbacks – and the stakes are high: if Prue doesn’t figure out how to bring back personifates’ memories, she’ll never see her brother again and that is just unthinkable for her. The worldbuilding in the novel is gorgeous and evocative without feeling overly detailed or dragging down the pace of the story: I have to get me some of that shimmering qwortzite! There are fascinating themes at play here about morality, life and whether progress should is more important than individual freedom. There’s a teaching resource on Hardy’s website that pulls out quotes from each character relating to these themes which is really fascinating to read from an author’s or editor’s perspective, as you can picture Hardy analysing these themes in her manuscript and deciding how each character would contribute.

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