Stained by Joanne Hichens


Stained by Joanne Hichens

In a poor district on the outskirts of Cape Town, Grace lives with her adoptive mother, Martha. Of mixed race, Grace dreams about what her unknown, natural mother might be like, fantasizes about finding her, and is plagued by an intense sense of dislocation. Rebelling against her adoptive mother's smothering influence, Grace turns to close friend Shardonnay and her sister, Crystal. In contrast, Crystal is a teenage mum and has had to drop out of school, bitter that her future has been decided by one mistake. Tired of being the responsible example, Grace hits the nightclubs with the younger, mixed-up, pop-idols crazy Shardonnay. All the while, though, she keeps a protective eye on Crystal. Is the baby, Ricardo, the reason Crystal suffers black moods and anger? Or is there a deeper problem? In the wake of searing tragedy, Grace finally comes to understand the qualities that make a caring and decent mother. Stained is a real page-turner. Gritty, honest, and hard-hitting, it is packed with drama and emotion from one page to the next. Prior to being developed for the Cutting Edge series, it was short-listed for the Sanlam Award for Youth Literature in South Africa. Cutting Edge is a highly contemporary fiction series for young adults. The series features fast-paced quick reads. Each book focuses on difficult topics and situations that many teenagers will have experienced first-hand or through friends. Cutting Edge is ideal for readers aged 14+ with a reading age of 12+.


Stained is an entirely compelling, searing and devastatingly genuine in its portrayal of emotional disability, betrayal and moral turpitude in the cramped living conditions of a low-income housing scheme. It is a rare evocation of such conditions, and a rare revelation of the neglect, abuse, and hypocrisy to which girls and young women are so easily subject. This story will be recognised by very many schoolgirls on the Cape Flats and elsewhere, and will make a powerful impact on all other teenagers and adults who hear regularly about such conditions, but do not experience them personally.

Edwina Shaw's spotlight-sharp portrait of teenagers growing up fast and loose, dazed and confused in 1980s Brisbane is so real it hurts. With whip-like prose Shaw lets us into the lives of the thrill-seekers, this gang of boys on the cusp of adulthood and the girls who hang around them. This novel is a quiet tribute to Shaw's brother, who suffered from schizophrenia, and a louder one to Shaw's talent as a writer. NSW Premier's Award Judges Report

About the Author

Joanne Hichens is a full-time writer and author, living in South Africa. Recognised as an emerging crime writer, she co-authored Out To Score, the acclaimed thriller published in 2006 by Umuzi - the South African imprint of Random House. She writes for Oprah magazine, Real Simple magazine, ITCH literary magazine, and is a regular contributor to the Life Times section of Cape Times, a South African daily. Stained is Joanne's first novel for young adults. She draws closely on her extensive experience working at a psychiatric clinic, to cover issues such as social dislocation, incest, child abuse, and post-natal depression. Joanne Hichens lives in Cape Town. She has Honours degrees in Fine Art and Psychology, and a Master's in Creative Writing. She is married and has three children.

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Book Info


240 pages


Joanne Hichens
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Publication date

20th December 2008



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