Quick Thoughts: “Razorhurst”

“Razorhurst” by Justine Larbalestier

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

GoodreadsSource: Book Riot’s Quarterly Box

Summary from Goodreads:

The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses—Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson—is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten.

Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment.

Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her.

When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living . . .


  • The style was…different. Each chapter jumped to a different person or object. It was an interesting way to fill out the details and tell us about the characters. It just made for some difficult reading because it meant the story wasn’t strictly linear.
  • The atmosphere was really fascinating. 1930’s Australia and gangs. You could really feel the atmosphere. The language of Australia, the language of the 1930’s, and the language of gangs all came through. It was a very ‘flavorful’ book.
  • The ghosts were an interesting addition. They didn’t feel terribly out of place. Hearing their perspectives added to the story.
  • I didn’t really love the characters. I just never really connected with them. I did like that Dymphna and Kelpie were strong ladies.
  • The story is technically a Young Adult book because Dymphna and Kelpie were both 16 but they didn’t feel 16. Kelpie felt a lot younger because she was so small and ‘sheltered’. Dymphna felt a lot older. She’s Glory’s best girl (yep, a 16 year old prostitute) and she’s apparently been at it for  while? I know she needed a way to take care of herself and this was pretty much the only option she had but it still didn’t feel right. Maybe it would feel so icky if she was older?

The bottom line? Interesting but not really my cuppa tea.


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