The Map of Leaves by Yarrow Townsend, reviewed by Catherine

Orla Carson lives on her own, save for her horse, Captain, and her beloved garden which was planted by her late mother. She’s happy to keep it this way but sickness comes to her hometown of Thorn Creek, and nature is blamed. Stowing away on a river boat, can Orla save the people of Thorn Creek with a little bit of luck, love, and all the help she can get along the way?

“My favourite part is that the plants communicate with Orla so it’s as if they’re talking to her.”


The story is told in Orla’s perspective. Although only 12 years old, she is evidently a headstrong, determined character who you find yourself instantly rooting for. She prefers to do things her own way which becomes an issue as teamwork is required when two other children, Idris and Ariana, join her on her mission. Idris is the son of a Hauler, and Orla doesn’t think much of him at first. Ariana is quiet and clever, the thinker of the gang.

The problem that occurs in this book is a sickness that strikes the fictional world where the story takes place. In a nearby town they had named it Mapafoglia: the map of leaves. Black veins would spread out across your body, like a map, and once it reached your heart it was the end. Yet a secret threat lurks close to home… could it be the answer that Orla and her friends are desperate to find?

My favourite part is that the plants communicate with Orla so it’s as if they’re talking to her. I wonder if her Ma shared the same gift? I think that this brilliant, gripping book deserves a 5/5 star rating.

I would recommend it to readers of ages 9 to 13 who love adventure and extreme plot twists – but if you aren’t in that age group then I’m definitely not saying you won’t love The Map of Leaves!

Our #ReviewCrew books are read and reviewed by our team of young readers.