Ghost Bird
Lisa Fuller
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
ISBN: 9780702260230
Awards Year: 2020
Category: The Book of the Year: Older Readers

Told with an undeniably authentic Indigenous voice, this is a haunting story of racism and small-town prejudices, alongside ideas of family history and culture. Through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Tace, after the disappearance of her twin sister, Fuller interweaves familial stories to create a mystery and a thriller that combines action and suspense with lyrical descriptions of the sisters and the tight bond throughout their community. The environment and setting are skilfully woven into the story, giving the reader strong insight into life in the Top End and a deep feeling of unease that is essential to maintaining the atmosphere of the novel. Fuller’s use of informal and colloquial language not only makes this book appealing to teenage readers, but also adds a level of sincerity that in no way feels contrived. Stories of culture and history form a strong theme of how past generations pass on beliefs and wisdom to their descendants, and how that can manifest in both positive and negative ways. There is clever interrogation of almost every theme. The book very successfully fills a void in Australian YA fiction.