Suzy Zail

Walker Books Australia
5 July 2023


Suzy Zail

A gritty YA novel about family secrets, hope and healing. Based on a true story.

Lisa’s father has six months to live. And a story to tell about a boy sent to Auschwitz. A boy who lost everything and started again. A story he has kept hidden – until now.

But Lisa doesn’t want to hear it, because she has secrets too. No one at school knows she is Jewish or that her dad is sick. Not even her boyfriend.

But that’s all about to change. And so is she.


Set in 1980s Melbourne, Lisa Keller’s life is completely normal. In high school, she has an amazing best friend, and a loving boyfriend. But one day, everything changes.

Her father, Emil, is diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and has six months left to live. So, before he goes, Emil tells the story of when he was a young, Jewish boy surviving the Holocaust in 1944–45, escaping the Soviets after the war, and finding refuge in Australia.

On top of her devastation in the lead up to losing her father, Lisa is also left confused about her sense of identity. Her real name is Lisa Rosenfeld, not Lisa Keller. She’s never been religious, or attended a synagogue, she doesn’t observe Shabbat on Fridays, or break the challah. However, the grittiness of the past is softened by the overflowing love that Lisa has for her father, and so her Jewish heritage is not alienating but the missing piece of the puzzle she’s been looking for; a new part of herself that reconnects her with her family more than she ever knew.

Emil’s message throughout the novel is that despite the pain endured and horror witnessed, the family lost and dreams shattered, it is infinitely more important to strive to make the ugliness beautiful again. That the best revenge is still possessing the ability to love and thrive despite the hatred dealt towards you. Inkflower is a poignant, bittersweet story of family secrets, love and war, and re-learning who you are after your life has been changed. For ages 13+.

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