Thirteen Pearls, by Melaina Faranda

Out of the evening shadows two faces looked down at me. Both young men. Both good looking. One Eurasian face with olive skin and dark eyes. The other haloed by a wild mane of hair. He was trying not to laugh.
‘I’m fine,’ I said. I wanted to cry.

Edie Sparks has a dream. She wants to sail solo around the world. But first she needs to finish her boat and, for that, she needs money. So when her long lost uncle offers her a job babysitting his four year old son over the summer, she jumps at the chance.

Soon she is on a tiny island off the coast of Far North Queensland, battling a seemingly uncontrollable child and a sullen, controlling uncle. The only bright side of the island are the two workers – Kaito and Leon.

Thirteen Pearls , part of the Girlfriend Fiction series, is a pleasing blend of adventure, romance and personal development. Whilst Edie learns, through trial and error, to care for and control her young charge, she also learns a lot about herself. At the same time, the story is liberally sprinkled with humour, with Edie a wry first person narrator.

An absorbing read.

Thirteen Pearls (Girlfriend Fiction), by Melaina Faranda
Allen & Unwin, 2010

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Big Sky, by Melaina Faranda

I drifted off, worn out from the long day. From the swag close to mine there was a soft, male sigh. My eyes fluttered open. Dan. Then I crashed.

Skye isn’t happy when she finds out it is up to her to lead the annual muster on her family’s Kimberley cattle station. She was supposed to be partying with her friend Aria. But dad has broken his leg, and Mum is overseas on a business trip, so Skye finds herself on a plane home from boarding school and in charge of a group of mostly in experienced station hands.

One of the musterers, however, is experienced – and, to top it off, totally gorgeous. Dan seems interested in her, too, but as leader of the muster, Skye can’t let her attraction – or her hot temper – get the better of her.

Big Sky is part romance, part adventure, in a mix that will appeal to teen readers. Set in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and including dingoes, crocodiles, cattle chases and more, there is much to interest readers who may be unfamiliar with station life, but also plenty to which they can relate, including the problems of teen friendship and first romance.

Part of the Girlfriend Fiction series, Big Sky is a gripping read.

Big Sky (Girlfriend Fiction)

Big Sky, by Melaina Faranda
Allen & Unwin, 2009

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Circle: Dreamer, by Melaina Faranda

Tara knows it’s going to be a terrible day. First, she can’t find her missing science assignment. Then she breaks an angel, one of her father’s favourite possessions. She is waiting for the third piece of bad luck, but isn’t prepared for it when she hears what it is. The mysterious Troy Daniels, a boy from her class, has been critically injured in a car accident and is in hospital on life support.

Tara feels a connection with Troy, although they’ve never really spoken. As he lies in hospital, Tara is troubled by strange and terrible dreams in which she must undertake a quest to rescue an imprisoned Prince. These dreams have some relation to Troy, but Tara isn’t sure what it is.

In her waking hours, Tara is involved with her friends in the Circle, who use their combined magic to channel energy and solve problems. Can they help Tara and, in turn, Troy?

Dreamer is the first title in a new series by Melaina Faranda, The Circle. Ten very different girls make up the Circle, where the bonds of friendship combine with the possibilities of magic and the power of intuition. Parents and teachers who may have concerns should be aware that the book does deal with witchcraft and the occult, however the overiding focus of the book is on friendship and realtionships.

The Circle: Dreamer, by Melaina Faranda
Random House, 2003