A Hunger of Thorns

Lili Wilkinson

A Hunger of Thorns
A&U Children's
18 April 2023

A Hunger of Thorns

Lili Wilkinson

Winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults 2024

Maude is the daughter of witches. She spent her childhood running wild with her best friend, Odette, weaving stories of girls who slayed dragons and saved princes. Then Maude grew up and lost her magic—and her best friend. 

These days, magic is toothless, reduced to  glamour patches and psychic energy drinks found in supermarkets and shopping malls. Odette has always hungered for forbidden, dangerous magic, and two weeks ago she went searching for it. Now she’s missing, and everyone says she’s dead. Everyone except Maude.

Storytelling has always been Maude’s gift, so she knows all about girls who get lost in the woods. She’s sure she can find Odette inside the ruins of Sicklehurst, an abandoned power plant built over an ancient magical forest—a place nobody else seems to remember is there. The danger is, no one knows what remains inside Sicklehurst, either. And every good story is sure to have a monster.


In her latest novel, much-loved YA author Lili Wilkinson has turned her hand to fantasy.

This is a story of strong women, complicated female friendships, and a powerful matriarchal line filled with magic, but also steeped in secrets, rebellion, and most of all, love. In this world, the authorities have attempted to tame magic, commercialise it, and sell it back to the masses in the form of brief illusions that make people seem ridiculously beautiful – and the only ones who can see through the illusions are redheads.

It’s the story of a girl named Maude, who is a storyteller filled with magic and so good at telling stories that her characters come to life. Maude and her childhood friend Odette spent their days running wild together until one day, when Maude lost her magic, she was abandoned by Odette. Ever since, she has been filled with yearning to rekindle their connection.When Odette disappears and everyone else thinks she’s dead, Maude will attempt to rescue her. To do so she will need to step into a world filled with magic and a terrifying monster created from her own imagination. This magical world not only has a monster and two magical, immortal girls, but is steeped in lush trees, blooming roses, decadent carnivorous plants and mycorrhizal bacteria that connect it all together.

There are so many stories in Wilkinson’s new novel. Its layers are complex, like the layers of humus in the forest, and filled with intriguing characters who behave in unexpected ways. The title and the cover indicate that this is a fantasy story, and it is, but beyond the magic is a rich, layered story of strong women and the lengths they will go to for friendship and love. It is a thrilling read for ages 14+.

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