Stained by Joanne Hichens


Written by Joanne Hichens
Illustrated by
Part of the Cutting Edge Series


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? This fast-paced read is dynamic and gripping, perfect for teen readers who want all the characteristics of a long novel, dealing with teenage issues and tough topics, in a strong, condensed book. From a series written by some amazing authors, this book is everything a reluctant reader would want to get them engaged. Note: this book contains some strong language, graphic scenes and/or tough topics, so is only suitable for older YA readers.


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.

It is very refreshing to see a genuinely successful attempt at empathising with the issues of adolescent life without being ridiculously patronising. The plot genuinely deals with complex psychological issues such as bereavement and social isolation.

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.

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
More books by Joanne Hichens


Ransom Publishing

Publication date

20th December 2008



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