Reader Reviewed The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Girl of Ink & Stars

Written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

11+ readers   All Shortlists and Winners   13+ readers   If They Like...They'll Love   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2017 | Winner in the Young Fiction category and the overall Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017 ‘Here be dragons’ it says on old maps, but Isabella finds creatures even more terrifying in the unchartered lands of Joya, the island that is her home. Joya is a place of limited horizons and hidden stories: the governor has closed its ports and banned travel by sea; half the island is out of bounds to the population. When her friend the governor’s daughter gets lost in those Forgotten Territories, Isa accompanies the search party as a cartographer and, unknowing, follows the path of a girl whose brave defence of Joya has long since turned into myth. Map-making and story-telling are linked, says the author, and we all carry the map of our lives on our skin. This is a magical adventure, beautifully told and full of striking ideas on themes of loyalty, courage and redemption. ~ Andrea Reece

This will appeal to fans of Katherine Rundell, Frances Hardinge and Philip Womack.

The Branford Boase Award Judges' Comments - ‘Wonderfully readable’; ‘quick without being shallow, some beautiful writing’; ‘fresh and different’.

Millwood Hargrave told The Bookseller: "The only thing that has been better the past year has been being a reader; to be shortlisted alongside such beautiful books was an honour. Winning at this stage feels unreal, but I'm looking forward to it sinking in and to what the coming year will bring. Thanks to Waterstones."

Florentyna Martin, Waterstones children’s buyer, said: “The Girl of Ink and Stars is an absolute joy to read. It is always exciting when we see this level of outstanding talent in a new writer and Kiran has crafted a mesmerising world full of myths, magic and adventure that evokes an atmosphere akin to Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Our booksellers have assuredly chosen a writer who delivers the whole package: a beautifully written and hugely imaginative story with a strong and loveable protagonist and a page-turning plot.”

James Daunt, Waterstones managing director, added: “We have a sensationally good winner, a work of imagination and drive that will command a special place on the bookshelves of many generations of readers to come. The overall strength of our shortlist and the category winners reflects the vibrant health of children's publishing which we are delighted to celebrate."

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Annie Sherratt, age 11 - 'The Girl of Ink and Stars is an excellent book – the best I’ve ever read. There is a lot of adventure and it's full of unexpected surprises.'
  • Sidney Greenslade, age 12 - 'The Girl of Ink and Stars is a rich, involving yet terrifying story and I was practically holding my breath by the last few chapters! An emotional and fantastic story about magic, maps, true bravery and friendship - I would highly recommend it.'
  • Anastasia Abdian, age 11 - 'The Girl of Ink and Stars is a fantastic book! Where's the sequel? Was my question when I finished. There is adventure, action and an ancient myth, what more could you need?! It is a must read!' 
  • Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 14 - This book has fantasy, action, adventure and myth. I really enjoyed how the characters developed throughout the book.
  • Ruby Weyman, age 11 - 'The Girl Of Ink & Stars is one of the best books I have ever read . This unputdownable, descriptive tale, is also memorable and beautifully written.'
  • Felicity Wilcox, age 13 - 'A book full of Mystery, friendship, wonder, sadness, adventure and danger that I couldn't put down.'
  • Matilda Oliver, age 10 - 'This book is as beautifully written as it is illustrated, though it does have some things that you may not want to imagine and several (occasionally sad) twists...It is a wonderful fantasy story for fans of Philip Pullman and Eva Ibbottson.'
  • Emily Kirby, age 11 - 'I really enjoyed this beautiful heart-warming action-adventure story about friends and family. If you like books that are fast paced then I highly recommend you read this.'
  • Aminah Kauser, age 10 - 'I really enjoyed this book! I liked how it was written and most of the characters.'
  • Edward Bailey, age 11 - 'This book did not really appeal to me and would be more directed at readers' that are more into fantasy,and animals?'
  • Grace - 'This is Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s first book. It’s a story of two girls who risk everything to save their island. Set in a mythical isle, it's a murder mystery that will leave you breathless.'


The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her cartographer father once mapped. When her friend disappears, she volunteers to guide the search. The world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland - and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

About the Author

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Kiran Millwood Hargrave was born in London in 1990. She completed her undergraduate studies in English and Drama with Education at Cambridge University, also performing in Footlights smokers and plays. She graduated with distinction from the Creative Writing MSt at Oxford University, and was President of the Poetry Society there. She is an award-winning poet, with three collections published and work appearing in international journals such as Room, Agenda and Magma. She was a Barbican Young Poet, and has performed her work internationally, from Banff to Tokyo. Her first novel, The Girl of Ink & Stars, was published in 2016 to critical acclaim and won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017. Kiran lives in Oxford with her artist boyfriend and writer friends.

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Book Info


240 pages


Kiran Millwood Hargrave
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Chicken House Ltd

Publication date

5th May 2016




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