Reviews, Awards, and Lists


Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] dark, unforgettable and blood-soaked tale of outlaws and masterminds.”

Kirkus (starred review)

“[G]ritty historical fiction with a paranormal twist.”

School Library Journal (starred review)

“Reading like a detailed painting in novel form, this haunting, gorgeously rendered supernatural/historical novel captures the rough and tumble world of gangsters and molls in all its bloody, vicious glory.”

The Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books (BCCB) (starred review)

“A [novel] full of bloody confrontations, secret alliances and unexpected romance . . . fascinating setting, colorful names, and sharp, peppery dialogue.”

The New York Times Book Review (Y.A. Crossovers)

“[M]asterfully constructed . . . lavishly imagined . . . [this] hard-boiled tale feels like a love letter to the femme fatale.”

LA Times

“Razorhurst is both fast-paced thriller and noir but with a paranormal twist . . . Larbalestier’s most compelling character isn’t a person or even a ghost but rather a place.”

Boston Herald

“Yoking paranormal thriller, roman noir, and historical fiction, Razorhurst teems with precisely realized period details and an expansive cast of unsavory characters, as well as numerous allusions to the films noirs and Sydney history that inspired Larbalestier . . . intensely lucid and sharp.”

The Horn Book Magazine

“Elegant one minute and sinister the next.”

—Readings’ top 10 YA books of 2014 and top 50 books by Australian women in 2014

“A bloody and evocative novel, written in clean and lively prose.”

Sydney Morning Herald (pick of the week)

“Justine Larbalestier’s lightness of touch, compassion for her two main characters and balance of story and history meant that by the end I wasn’t ready to leave [Razorhurst]. . . . Highly recommended.”

Readings, Carlton (YA book of the month)

Razorhurst was the Australian Independent Bookseller’s No. 1 Children’s Pick for July

“[Razorhurst] is a deeply satisfying novel about ghosts, belonging and loss set against one of Australia’s most interesting periods.”

The Age Guide to Children’s Books for Christmas (Older Readers)

“Larbalestier weaves the history of Surry Hills into a story that is full of violence, sex, crime, corruption, nobility, love and lust . . . grabs us by the lapels and drags us through a fantastic supernatural caper story. This one takes her storytelling to a whole new level.”

—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother on Boingboing

Razorhurst [depicts] the vibrant world that paved the way for ours.”


Justine Larbalestier is a powerful storyteller who is able to create characters that readers really care about. . . [Razorhurst] is wonderful storytelling.

Reading Time (highly recommended)

Larbalestier’s style is original, she writes with . . . warmth and empathy for her characters, flawed and criminal though some of them are.

Magpies (highly recommended)

Rarely am I transported to another time and place so immediately as I was with Razorhurst


“[Razorhurst] offers an incredible portrayal of this world and its precarious balance between feminism and misogyny, offering a skilful take on female empowerment and agency with a great pair of main female characters.”

Book Smugglers (Notable book)

“Brilliantly written, fast paced and intricately woven.”

Lamont Books

“I really, really love Razorhurst.”

A Book So Fathomless

“Razorhurst is a brilliantly crafted story that will keep you flipping pages until the wee hours of the morning.”

Speculating on SpecFic

Razorhurst, like a razor, is sharp and cutthroat.”

The Art of Dreaming

“I highly recommend Razorhurst.”

Tsana’s Reads and Reviews

“[A] sassy, sultry and brilliant take on gangland warfare with a paranormal twist.”


“Engaging characters walk into the lion’s den while I hold my breath, anticipating ghosts bearing witness or cold dead-eyed killers extracting razors. . . . I highly recommend Razorhurst for adults, even those who don’t usually read YA.”

Dark Matter Zine

“Vivid and bloody and bold and fast—I feel like Razorhurst is in my bones now.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love

“Shiny and chilly and bloody and sharp, like the razor of the title, but also magical and glamorous. From one of the smartest writers in YA fiction.”

E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars

“A timeless tale of love and violence in long lost Razorhurst with characters I truly cared about.”

Melina Marchetta, author of Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca

“Razorhurst is magnificent—beautiful prose and good storytelling.”

Amber Benson, author of The Witches Of Echo Park

“Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier is a bloody masterpiece (pun intended)–the kind of book that feels classic and timeless and sharp with characters that live & breathe off the page. In short: wow.”

Courtney Summers, author of This Is Not A Test and All the Rage


Winner, Aurealis Award, Best Horror Novel 2014

Shortlisted, Adelaide Festival Award 2016, Young Adult Fiction Award

Shortlisted, New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards 2015, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature

Shortlisted, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award 2015

Shortlisted, Golden Inky Award

Shortlisted, Queensland Literary Awards 2015, The Griffith University Young Adult Book Award

Shortlisted, Norma K. Hemming Award 2015

Notable, Children’s Book Council of Australia, Older Readers Book of the Year Awards 2015


2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults

2016 TAYSHAS High School Reading List

The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2016 Edition, Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature

CCBC Choices 2016, the annual best-of-the-year list of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children‘s 2015 Blue Ribbon Books