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Lionheart Girl

Written by Yaba Badoe

Key Stage 3 Fantasy / Magical Mysteries / Mythology Thrillers

LoveReading View on Lionheart Girl

Witch-laden West African myth and magic blaze through this thrilling YA adventure

November 2021 Star Book

At once steeped in richly-conjured West African myths and landscapes, and a page-turning thriller with real-life resonance (courtesy of its unforgettable protagonist), Yaba Badoe’s Lionheart Girl is a wonder of YA fiction. This is magic realism at its most powerful, exploring as it does universal themes of family bonds, fleeing and finding your way, through language that’s brilliantly enmeshed with its setting and subjects: “my heart, big as a lake in the wet season, shrivels to a slick of water in the dry.”

Sheba was born into a family of witches, to a line of powerful women who can shapeshift, whose touch can uncover people’s deepest desires and fears. The story begins with Sheba fleeing her village to find her father, spurred by “the fizz in my fingers whenever I touched Ma’s hair”. In time, Sheba’s overbearing mother reveals, “We royal women are special. Our blood is enriched by generations of ritual and magic. Magic flows through us”. And so Sheba unknots her own powers, and secrets of her past, in a tale that rails against convention while feeling utterly timeless.

Joanne Owen

Lionheart Girl Synopsis

Born into a family of West African witches, Sheba's terrified of her mother who can turn into a crow. But like mother, like daughter - magic runs through her blood and Sheba discovers powers of her own. Her touch can unravel people's innermost thoughts; their hopes, their fears - their secrets. Sheba too can shape-shift.

Through the communion of ancient magic, blood and friendship, she slowly uncovers the murderous truth about her stolen childhood and steels herself for the future. She must protect the hunted from the hunter - her mother.

African myth and magic beat in the dark heart of this fable about witchcraft, superstition, the bonds we choose and those we cannot. This is the third novel from an accomplished writer who can authentically bring Africa to life.

Lionheart Girl Press Reviews

'Lionheart Girl is deeply atmospheric, stunningly original, and sizzling with ancient myth and magic. Utterly unmissable' -- Sophie Anderson, author of The Castle of Tangled Magic

'Unlike anything I've ever read. Mythical, vivid, unsettling and utterly page-turning, Lionheart Girl explores bonds of blood, friendship and the power of being true to yourself. Both unique and brilliant' -- Ele Fountain, author of Melt

'Fierce and thrilling, Lionheart Girl delivers on the promise of Badoe's debut, and then some. I loved this original, lyrical, dark fable' -- Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of A Secret of Birds and Bone

'This is a magical tale, one that I loved ... Yaba's writing is a rich feast to be savoured. Filled with unforgettable images that leave you breathless, it is about the strength of love' -- Sally Gardner, author of Invisible in a Bright Light

'Vidly imaginative, brave, passionate and original heroine. A different kind of magical adventure that draws on West African myth for a story of universal interest' -- Amanda Craig, author of The Golden Rule

'Loved it! Yaba's best so far - a wonderful tale of magic and family' -- Cat Johnson

'Myth, magic and superstition course through this dark and mesmerising novel of witchcraft, family and coming of age. I loved both A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars and Wolf Light, but this is Badoe's best YA novel yet' -- Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

Book Information

ISBN: 9781789540857
Publication date: 14th October 2021
Author: Yaba Badoe
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 336 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 3
Topics: Fantasy / Magical, Mysterys / Mythology, Thrillers

About Yaba Badoe

Yaba Badoe is an award-winning Ghanaian-British documentary filmmaker and writer. In 2014 Yaba was nominated for the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema award.

More About Yaba Badoe

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