A Hunger Of Thorns


A debut YA verse novel about what happens when the paths of a young busking violinist and an aspiring street artist collide during a pandemic. Set in one of the most locked-down cities in the world – Melbourne, 2020.

This song has a grace note,
a tiny note that’s there for embellishment
but can easily be ignored,
not played.
Tonight, I add it in –
just because.
We can all do with an extra note
of grace.

Grace Dalfinch is a talented violinist who longs to play contemporary music in bars, but her mum forbids her.

James Crux is an aspiring street artist who promised his dad he wouldn’t paint in public until he’s finished school.

When Crux witnesses Grace’s impromptu performance on a deserted tram, he’s inspired to paint her and her violin; and when Grace stumbles across her portrait in a Melbourne alley by an anonymous street artist, she sets out to find its creator.

Grace Notes is a debut YA verse novel, set in one of the most locked-down cities in the world – Melbourne, 2020. For fans of Cath Crowley and Pip Harry.

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The CBCA judges say…

This beautifully written debut captures all the light and shade of COVID-19 lockdowns, exploring the wider impact of the pandemic and how it affected different age groups. As one would expect from a verse novel, the prose is spectacularly lyrical in a manner so deeply authentic to the story it is impossible to put down. Well-constructed family dynamics are cleverly revealed through the sparse writing, but it is the authentic coming-of-age portrayal of protagonists Grace and Crux that is the selling point of the story. They are adorable and delightful and almost too good to be real, yet still inherently teen in their worldviews. This book is a gorgeous exploration of art and creativity from the perspective of central characters who are searching to discover meaning and purpose through both, opening thoughtful, original discussion around street art and the meaning of music that is highly suitable for the readership.

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A Reading Time reviewer says…

This debut novel captures a specific time and place that affected a lot of people but also is less understood by those of us whose lives were relatively unchanged by the Melbourne lockdowns of 2020. Comer’s verse novel with a dual narrative offers readers a sweet love story between violinist Grace and street artist Crux set during those gruelling months when Melbourne’s strict laws impacted many lives in many various ways. She is able to capture a wide variety of these experiences, including Grace’s mum who is in Italy on business, her grandmother who is a nursing home, and Crux’s job at a supermarket and his mother’s role as a nurse…


Teaching Notes for this book…

Hachette, the publisher, has generously made teaching notes available for this book on their webite.


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