Eleven year old Ajuba has been abandoned at a Devon boarding school by her Ghanaian father. Haunted by the circumstances of her mother’s breakdown, Ajuba falls under the spell of new girl Polly Venus, and her chaotic, glamorous family. As the passionate bond between the two girls deepens, they discover what they think are the bones of dead kittens, hidden in the attic of the Venus home; but the bones are human. 

The girls set out to unravel the mystery but as the summer draws to a close, three tragedies conflate, with catastrophic results.

“The intimacy and uncertainty of adolescence is strongly evoked”  


“Spookily menacing” 

Marie Claire

“…an action-packed chiller steeped in the passions and potential darkness of childhood” 

Melissa Katsoulis, Sunday Telegraph

“Well done, and chilling” – Joanna Hines,  

Joanna Hines, Guardian

“One of the few novels about children for adults, this stands comparison with LP Hartley’s The Go-Between in its evocative account of the way a few months of childhood can shape a whole life”  

Independent on Sunday

“…the neo-gothic ghost of Daphne du Maurier will be chuckling with glee over this accomplished, atmospheric debut.” 


“This moving debut is as much about two troubled adolescents and the loss of innocence as it is a chilling mystery story…The novel surges with raw emotion: guilt, love, betrayal, loss – and treachery” 

Carla McKay, Daily Mail

“Badoe’s descriptions of the intense friendships and the preoccupations of pre-teens are spot on and she expertly captures the voice of Ajuba, the lonely and bewildered girl trying to decipher the world of adults. The story is heavy with dread and foreboding, a genuine and chilling page-turner”

Cath Staincliffe, Tangled Web