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The History of Mischief

Written by Rebecca Higgie


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‘There is madness in it.’

‘Yes. But magic too.’

Following the death of their parents, Jessie and her older sister Kay move to their grandmother’s abandoned house. One night they discover The History of Mischief hidden beneath the floor: it is like no book they have ever seen.

From Ancient Greece to war-torn China, from the Ethiopian Empire to Victorian England, the pages reveal a world of mischief and mystery, adventure and adversity – stolen bones and fiery dragons, feisty philosophers and tempestuous tyrants, shape-shifting trees and scorched scrolls.

But not everything is as it seems, in the book or in her life, and Jessie is determined to find the truth. The History has a history of its own. Unravelling its secrets might be the biggest mischief of all.


‘Higgie’s novel is an immensely engaging work, with a strong forward momentum and a satisfying emotional resolution.’ Fogarty Literary Award Judges Report

'An impressive debut and a worthy inaugural winner of the Fogarty Literary Award.' Jan Nicholls, President, CBCA WA

'The skill, complexity and magic of the interwoven storylines is absorbing and enjoyable but not fully appreciated until the final pages.' PaperbarkWords

'Rebecca Higgie skilfully alternates between chapters of the titular book … and Jessie's own story. Each 'history' is a powerful, fabulist short story in its own right, exploring the brutality and the beauty of humanity.' Books+Publishing

'I did not see the end coming at all, and I love when that happens …' One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

'… it is a wonderful ambassador for the value of using libraries in the thrill of research about real events and characters, which should be embraced by parents, teachers and students of many ages.' Magpies

'Overall, this is a marvellous debut, a unique novel from an emerging writer of huge ambition and astonishing intellect, that will satisfy adults as much as the younger audience it is aimed at.' Sydney Morning Herald

'The History of Mischief is evocative, ambitious, and a genius demonstration of plot.' Underground Writers 

'[Rebecca] has crafted a superlative novel full of adventure, history, magic and myth, as fluid and gentle as flowing water.' Kids' Book Review

'This book will keep you entranced, from the beginning to the unexpected twist at the end.' Beauty and Lace


Fogarty Literary Award (Winner 2019)

ISBN 9781925816266 (Paperback)
Formats B Format (198 x 130mm) (Paperback)
Categories Young Adult
Award Winning
New Releases
Fiction for Middle Readers
Children's ebooks
Publisher Fremantle Press
Edition 1st
Publication Year 2020
Pages 376
  • Rebecca higgie web

    Rebecca Higgie

    Rebecca is a writer from Perth. Her whole life has been spent in the company of books, with careers in libraries and universities. Formerly an academic at Curtin University and Brunel University London, she has published research on satire and politics. She has worked in the stacks of the State Library of Western Australia and fostered childhood literacy as the Library Officer at Guildford Primary, WA’s oldest public school. Her creative work combines whimsy and play with extensive research and critical insights. Her stories and poems have appeared in publications such as Westerly, Stories of Perth and Visible Ink. Her novel The History of Mischief won the 2019 Fogarty Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Read more