> Skip to content
  • Published: 2 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9780143775737
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

The Memory Thief




A magical, spine-tingling novel about a girl who wants to escape her memories and a troll who longs to be a real boy, from the award-winning author of Conrad Cooper's Last Stand and The Impossible Boy

A lonely troll and a fierce, spiky girl form an unlikely alliance in Leonie Agnew's extraordinary novel for children aged 9 years and up.

For as long as Seth can remember he’s been trapped behind the iron bars of the public gardens, desperate to explore the world outside. By day he’s frozen in a stone skin as a statue of a shepherd boy. As soon as the sun sets he’s free to roam the park, ravenously hungry. He’s a troll, and the food he seeks is human memories. But somehow he’s yearning for something more than an endless cycle of hunting and loneliness.

Then he meets Stella, who has just moved to live with her grandfather in a house neighbouring the park. Her mind is sharp and quick and there’s something so different about her — she’s the only human Seth has met whose memories make his insides burn. He doesn’t want to feed off her. He simply wants to talk to her. Maybe she can help him find another way to live?

Engrossing, spine-chilling and surprising, this is a novel that grabs the reader and holds them spellbound. What terrible memory is Stella trying to escape? What are the fragments of memory that Seth is trying to put together? And is there any possibility that Seth could escape the lonely garden and start truly living?

  • Published: 2 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9780143775737
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the authors

Leonie Agnew

Leonie Agnew may or may not be living in South America with a poodle named Juan. She informs us that her days are spent drinking sangrias and teaching Juan how to bark in Spanish, while trading sombreros on the black market via her iPad. However, our sources have located her in Auckland, New Zealand. They claim she is an award-winning children's author, a former copywriter, and currently moonlights as a primary school teacher. It is possible she has a tendency to make things up. This is called lying, unless you write it down – then it is pleasantly referred to as being an author.

Kieran Rynhart

Kieran Rynhart is a freelance illustrator who was selected as one of Luerzers Archive Best 200 Illustrators Worldwide for 2010–2011. He creates his beautiful, distinctive and evocative images using a mixture of traditional and digital techniques, and works on a wide range of commissions from children’s picture books to commercial graphics and music videos. He is the illustrator of The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd (Te Papa, 2013), If I Was a Banana by Alexandra Tylee (Gecko, 2016) and Seagull, Seagull by James K Baxter (Gecko, 2020). He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Praise for The Memory Thief

All Stella wants is to leave her memories behind, while Seth is desperately trying to remember his. These two characters are so vividly developed that they leap off the page, and readers will find themselves empathising especially with narrator Seth, who fights against his troll instinct to devour human memories, to instead offer Stella kindness and companionship through a difficult time. Their improbable allegiance is delicately constructed and wonderfully heartwarming ... and ultimately full of hope and redemption. The language is rich yet accessible, making it perfect for middle-grade readers at all levels who like to get swept away with a story. Coupled with enchanting illustrations by Kieran Rynhart, this story is sure to be cherished by young fantasy fans.

Karys McEwen, Books + Publishing

It’s a text that sticks with you after reading it. ... Agnew’s The Memory Thief solidifies her position as a writer of note in New Zealand.

Chris Reed, NZ Booklovers

A beautiful examination of what makes you human and the power of sharing stories.

Sarah Forster, The Sapling

This book speaks of the power of memory to shape and nourish us as human beings. To build strength and empathy...The Memory Thief is a terrific mix of racing-heart as you read, cool characters, plot tension, intriguing twists and turns, brain-feeding ideas …. and it is so sweetly written. Glorious.

Paula Green, Poetry Box

A finely-wrought and adventurous tale of knowing yourself, friendship and difficult choice.

Crissi Blair, Family Times

Discover more

Article
Real Readers Review: The Memory Thief

Former British children's laureate, Chris Riddell, has said The Memory Thief is "Intriguing, exciting, everything about this story captured my imagination." But what do our Puffin Ambassadors think? Read on to find out!

Related titles