Susan Maxwell

Book Cover - Nowhere Island

Nowhere Island

Gil bolts for freedom on his way to another foster-placement. When his backpack is stolen, with his treasured photograph and his hag-stone, his pursuit of the thief brings him to an island dividing the motorway, and to the ramshackle home of three other runaways. Riley and Grayson escaped an abusive parent, and with Junk, the dog, steal supplies. They tell Gil about another inhabitant, already established. Pez ran away from a cult, bringing with her stolen seeds, experience of self-sufficiency, and a conviction that isolation and silence are safer than human company.

Mouse Heart Cover Image

Mouse Heart

Set on a ship-theatre, docked in a gloriously stinking, tatterdemalion alt-Bristol, Mouse Heart is the tale of a theatre-orphan turning detective to save her friend from the gallows and the fictional Queen Anne II from assassination.

Aarti and the Blue Gods Cover Image

Aarti and the Blue Gods

Aarti and Aunt live in a state of anxious self-sufficiency on Aunt’s Scottish island. Aunt apparently rescued orphaned Aarti, and took her to safety away from ‘a world full of bad, cruel things.’

Book Cover - The Hungry Ghost

The Hungry Ghost

Freja’s arrival from Denmark to stay with her father and his new family in Singapore coincides with the month that the ‘hungry ghosts’ of ancestors wander and are ritually appeased by the living. The spirited Freja, admirably prepared for ‘survival situations,’ encounters the ghost of a forgotten girl whom she tries to help, despite knowing nothing of the custom and having no guide to either the country or the culture.

The Spirit of the River cover image

The Spirit of the River

In 2007, the Oxford Junior Dictionary removed dozens of words related to nature. One critical response was Robert Macfarlane’s and Jackie Morris’s The Lost Words, poems to the words removed. Spirit of the River is another form of resistance to loss of vocabulary. Murphy names and describes everything he sees, behaviour and habitat along with appearance. Actively seeing, not just looking, is emphasised.