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Telesa #1

Telesa: The Covenant Keeper

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When Leila moves to her new home, all she wants is a family, a place to belong. Instead she discovers the local ancient myths of the telesa spirit women are more than just scary stories. The more she finds out about her heritage, the more sinister her new home turns out to be. Embraced by a Covenant Sisterhood of earth's elemental guardians - what will Leila choose? Her fiery birthright as a telesa? Or will she choose the boy who offers her his heart? Daniel - stamped with the distinctive tattoo markings of a noble Pacific warrior and willing to risk everything for the chance to be with her. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper?

A thriller-romance with a difference. If you enjoyed Twilight, then you will be enthralled by Telesa as it blends the richness of Pacific mythology into a contemporary young adult love story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

423 pages, Paperback

First published August 18, 2011

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About the author

Lani Wendt Young

31 books397 followers
Lani Young is an international bestselling author of YA fantasy, contemporary romance and literary fiction. The 2018 Pacific Laureate, her work is inspired by the diverse mythology of Oceania and the richness of her cultural heritage as a Samoan and Maori woman.

When she's not writing (or reading), she's baking cookies, talking to dogs, and trying to do triathlons.
She lives in Samoa and New Zealand with her Ironman husband and four children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 282 reviews
Profile Image for Liz Reinhardt.
Author 25 books1,808 followers
October 8, 2011
When I first picked up Lani Wendt Young's YA novel, I was expecting the story of a young girl dealing with changes in her family life and maybe a little romance. What I got was a sweeping epic of Samoan lore and star-crossed romance that grabbed on and wouldn't let go!

Telesa made me feel like I was in the tropics of Samoa, right alongside Leila...it was almost like Samoa was another amazing, gorgeous character (and I have a serious urge to go to Samoa now!). She begins the book as a strong young woman who's in immense pain and has no connections left in her life. She travels back to the land of her birth and discovers family and friends she never could have dreamed of; her world changes from cold and dreary to lush, warm, and loving.

And of course there's a boy. SIGH! An amazing, gorgeous, swoon-worthy boy who makes you fall in love and will creep into your dreams! Daniel, the boy who infuriates and attracts Leila at the same time, is a deliciously intriguing young man who sees the power and beauty in her. Leila begins to find comfort and peace in her new home, but there are complications...she finds out that she has a more amazing connection to her homeland than she ever imagined.

Leila is telesa, one of the protectors of the earth, and the more she finds out about her amazing, incredible powers, the more she realizes that things are not at all what they seem, and she's going to be in for the fight of her life. But Leila doesn't have a weak bone in her entire body, and following her journey is an exciting, breathtaking ride that will make you lose sleep!! I cannot wait to learn more about Daniel and Leila and watch their love blossom!! Pick this up right now!
Profile Image for Rusalka.
379 reviews111 followers
July 24, 2016
If you would like to read Twilight in a tropical setting this is it. Book is set in Samoa. Lelia is heading there as her Dad died and she is Samoan. But because for some god unknown reason to us Southern hemisphere peoples, even though she is 18 she is unable to execute her adult decisions here. She has money and some how can't use it, so is at mercy of a controlling aunty and uncle she's never met. Who make her go to school. Because even though she is not needed to legally (compulsory schooling seems to be only until 14), they tell her to and it's a good plot device. Oh and church. She can go to church and school and no where else. Talking to people is also out.

Enter Daniel. He's gorgeous. He makes you forget you're an independent human being. You forget you can make any decision in the world. Ever. Because you are a girl and girls cannot exist without hot men. In fact, introduce the hot American doctor scientist guy, and all elements of self determination pretty much go out the window. Us women can't do anything ever without thinking about the men. It comes with the boobs. Rational thought ≠ boobs. It's like teen fiction science or something.

Right so Lelia has special, magical, Samoan mythological powers that has been brought out due to her being back home. Her Mum (FYI Lelia thought she was dead) also has these powers and is tied to some weird sisterhood thing (ie. women with no men are bad). Anyways Lelia needs to work out who she is and what to do and such. With the boys. Because god knows you can't do these things without men.

1. Pretty self evident from above. Unless you are a girl. Then you may need a hot boy to explain it to you.

2. The author is from Samoa, educated in America and lives in New Zealand. Besides the sexist co-dependent bullshit discussed above, the magic system is interesting and the problems of mixed island/nation race would speak to a lot of us in the Pacific. So I would say the majority of the time this would be written for us in the Pacific. Until you read it. What Pacific nation do you need to spend 2 pages describing netball to? You need to spend 5 pages describing rugby to us? Rugby is the only thing us Pacific peoples agree on! In fact it's pretty much a religion in half of our countries. However, there were a lot of Samoan culture and words I needed help with, and those explanations were welcome.

But it is obvious from the start this book is written for American audiences, not Samoan or New Zealander or even Aussie. I just feel in order to gain a few more readers the author has excluded her actual readership base. As a Pacific reader, granted a tenuous one, I felt like in the bits of this novel I engaged with and could relate to, I was made to feel like a moron, as if someone was explaining it to a slow, senile 2 year old. For an American reader for example, imagine you read an American novel who spent 2 pages explaining baseball and 5 pages explaining basketball to you. You know. You grew up with is. It's part of you even if you hate it. And it makes the book tedious and patronises the reader.

So when you read a book that tells you that your gender is incapable of making a decision without a man, and then spends pages of bullshit explaining to you your own culture, I get the shits. Once it got rid of all of that and talked about her inherited magic and the Samoan lore it was more engaging, and the actual climax of the book was interesting and enjoyable. I enjoyed the bits between say 70 and 95% of the book. So I liked 15%. Hated the other 85%.

For more reviews visit http://rusalkii.blogspot.com.au/
Profile Image for Elesa.
68 reviews
December 29, 2011
Forewarning, my review is given in an absolutely bias manner and I don’t apologies for it 
I am ecstatic that there is finally a Polynesian author that has written a book that takes place in my homeland. I’m moved to so many different types of boastfulness and my pride soars because of this book.
Yes, there are a few grammatical errors but that does not decrease the value or take away from the story, just an unfortunate mistake that we as readers have come across in many, many books. I’m taken back by Lani’s ability to capture such beauty with words and weave some of our Samoan culture in and out of the story. My sisters and good friends have gushed and drooled over Daniel and Ezra lol.
Hi-5 Lani, for doing a great job on the book. I didn’t want to spoil the book for others, but I’ve managed to get so many more people to read your book. We look forward to the second book in March. Hope that you’ll launch a book signing here in California.
89 reviews24 followers
April 4, 2015
They're a hot couple, don't you think?


Too bad in real life he has a wife. Oh, well.

My dream come true :')
He's hot.
A prefect.
Good behaviour.
NOT a jerk.
The guys want to be him.
Oh, and all the girls want him.

Awkward girl.
Doesn't fit in.
Half cast.
Mother died.
Bushy haired.
Bushy eye-browed.
No guys paid much attention to her, aside from Daniel, though he was intrigued by her.

Enter transformation.

Maleko, Daniel's best friend, wants Leila.
Other guys want Leila.
She's gone hotter.
She's a pretty awesome dancer.
And Daniel's moved on.

Characters I did not like.
I did not like Sarona.
I did not like Mele.
I especially did not like Maleko. He was so shallow.
Profile Image for Sade.
12 reviews4 followers
April 21, 2012
This book is very inspiring. It has a lot to appeal to young readers like me. I'm 13yrs old and an avid reader. I like that the main character Leila is a strong person. There's too many books written for young adults with girls who are kind of wimpy. I like that the character Daniel is smart and caring as well as super hot.And he isnt all over Leila or only out for one thing. There's too many books out now about vampires, werewolves and stuff like that. This book has a supernatural element but a very unique one. The Telesa spirit women are kind of like environmental terrorists, they're pretty cool. And its a good message about how we need to have more respect and honor for the natural environment.I'm looking forward to the next book. I think other teenage girls would really like this book. My only complaint would be that we dont get to see more of the Jason character. He's skuxx.
Profile Image for Ella.
104 reviews3 followers
August 18, 2012
I don't know how much my opinion matters, but here goes. I read this book (and the second one) when I saw the cover on a friend's facebook page. She really liked it, so I looked it up and thought the storyline sounded interesting and it was. I was really intrigued by the concept and the mythology. I would really like to know more about Pacific Islander mythology. I even tried doing a Google search on Telesa and all I came up with was references to this book and some hints of there being some actual Telesa mythology. The concept of this book is what earned two of its stars. The problem with this book is the writing and character development. The author's style is juvenile, at best. Her character development did not seem consistent and her obsession with the male physique was tiresome. Information was given about the main character in first part of the book that seemed contrary to information given later in the book. Reading and finishing this book was not about an affection or commonality with the characters, but more a hope of its improvement and curiosity about what will happen to them. I honestly can't recommend this book, but I also don' regret reading it. After all, I did read the second one.
Profile Image for Sherre Copeland.
210 reviews62 followers
March 25, 2012
Wow! Thats really all I have to say about this book. I loved it with every fiber of my being and the author is an absolute genius.

Not since twilight have I felt this way after reading a book. Just as I have this feeling that I MUST visit Forks, Washington, I now MUST go to Samoa. That's not to say this book can be compared to twilight. No! It's just that, I must say, I have finally found a book to join the ranks of Twilight, Hunger Games, andThe Mortal Instruments. One I will want to read over and over and never tire of. So much culture and legend and myth. I love it all. This book made me feel great for being brown! I felt that I fit with this book in so many ways. That's not to say I'm Samoan, no I dont think I am, honestly I'm never completely sure what I am so I just claim African American because it's the easiest and the most dominant race in my mish mash gene pool. I just love Samoa (from what I read) and I must see it for myself.

Okay, well enough with that, I must say that this book was great!!! I loved it. I loved Leila because she reminded me of myself in her inner thoughts, and because she was everything I wish I could be on the outside. Oh and Daniel? Talk about gorgeous. I am in love!!! Jason? Oh Jason...I know Leila didn't really want you but I'm always here. *sigh*

This book had my heart racing and my feelings on edge. I read so much in one sitting that my eyes began to hurt and when I finally looked away from the words, black lines from the words danced in my vision. (please tell me I'm not the only one who feels like this) I found myself counting down the time until I could get back to this book. Hating my dog for having to go outside to do his business. Didn't he know I had reading to do! The story line was amazing. I was tempted to go to Lani's blog site to ask her why on earth she hadn't told me this was such an amazing book. I would have read it sooner! I needed this book in my life. When on when will the next book come out??? I need it now!!!!

So here again I leave you with a blog post that probably makes no sense because I have no idea how to put into words what I'm actually feeling inside. There's only one thing I can say. If you've been pondering giving this book a try, just give in.......and if you havent been thinking about it at all, do yourself a favor and still buy it. I'll have you know...I just paid money for the print version of this book. I wanted to hold it in my hands because I just love it that much!!! You wont regret it. 5 SUPER LARGE stars!
Profile Image for Jillian Dodd.
Author 129 books6,149 followers
October 28, 2011
How many times do you come across a book that gives you everything you want in a book? Telesa has it all. There's Leila, the girl that we can all relate to. She's smart and confident, but doesn't always know what to do. She goes to Samoa searching for a place to belong. She didn't expect to meet a boy. A certain boy, who she hates at first, who is also SMOKING hot. Daniel. Did I mention I'm in love with Daniel? With his rugby playing abs, amazing muscles, interesting tattoos, and killer smile. He can be vicious and competitive on the rugby field one minute, and sweet and chivalrous the next. Sorry, I'll stop now. This book is not just about Daniel.

This story is the epic tale of Telesa. Leila is a Telesa, but doesn't know it. As she grows to discover her birthright, her powers, her family, and herself, what will she choose? What is her destiny? And does it involve a hot rugby player?

I can't wait to find out. Can't wait for book 2!!!
Profile Image for Jess.
410 reviews
March 1, 2012
"Give me another chance. To show you a better side of Samoa. Of me?" -Daniel.

When Lani Young contacted me personally to review her book, I was flattered and totally intrigued after reading the blurb for the book.

This book is set in Samoa, which is just so refreshing from your bog standard YA novels set in the US. It was a nice change of pace, and Lani Young did extremely well with describing the Samoan landscape, it's smells, and the language used in that part of the world. It didn't feel like you were reading a travel guide of the Island.

Let me begin with Leila, she's extremely kick ass and strong. She's immediately likeable, she has a little temper on her which she tries to control when she moves to Samoa in search of answers about her mother. She meets Daniel (*sigh*). He's this super hot, rugby star at SamCo (Samoa College) and Leila at first doesn't like him and judges him far too quickly. But they both soon learn that they both aren't what they thought and after much talking (like Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett) they form an attachment, which leads to a kiss, which leads to Leila bursting into flames...literally. The romance between these two was slow to progress, there was no insta-love, and that's the way I like YA romances to be. Not instant, but slowly built over the course of the novel.

Although I slugged through some parts, most of this novel will keep you wanting to read more. The plot and the story is intriguing. Lani Young has managed to include myth and legend bringing to life a tale of wonder.

There was a nice little twist at the end, which leaves you wanting book 2 straight away. But alas, we must wait, not long though, after March I believe book 2 is set to be released.

There isn't a lot I can say about this book, but I'm unsure as to why it hasn't been picked up by a publisher yet, it's a shame because it's a great story, it's new it different, it has everything that a YA novel should have. A kick ass protagonist, a hot boy (actually 2 hot boys...Jason is there too), wicked friends, evil woman spirits, an exotic country full of mystery and legend.

All I can is that, I think you should most definitely read this book. Give it a go. You may just be pleasantly surprised by how much you'll enjoy it. I know I was.

Thank you to Lani Young, for allowing me to review this. I enjoyed it and I early anticipate book 2, When Water Burns.
Profile Image for Sieni A.M..
Author 4 books80 followers
November 12, 2011
I loved everything about this novel. From the characters, the dialog, stunning setting, humor, suspense, and romance--I was latched on for days and could not put it down! Felt instantly connected to Leila as an afakasi (half caste) who travels to her mother's country of Samoa in search of a place to belong. What she finds is an exotic, vibrant culture steeped in nature, customs, language, generous hospitality, and ancient mythology of Telesa--a fierce sisterhood who haunt people for decades with tales of power and destruction.

And of course she finds love. If you like romance, then you're in for a sweet treat who comes by the name of Daniel. But it's not just your average puppy dog roll-your-eyes kind of love--it's one that is strikingly mature and grounded for a couple of teenagers. And of course to spice things up Lani Wendt Young throws in a love triangle, and as the excellent writer that she is, you do feel torn between the two.

What Leila doesn't expect to find is a bond so strong to the land than she anticipated--one that impresses a power so compelling she cannot escape. She becomes torn between her heart and her birthright; she struggles between her place in the sisterhood and the people she cares most about, and her decision will lead you on a thrilling adventure!

2 reviews
December 1, 2022
This book made me very proud to be afakasi, and even more proud of my Samoan roots.

I really enjoyed this book. I accidentally read 6 chapters of oceans kiss realizing it wasn’t the first book haha so I was anxious and excited to see how everything started and I’m excited to read the next books.
Profile Image for Shannon Mayer.
Author 114 books5,916 followers
November 2, 2011
I picked this book up becuase my grandparents spent two years in Samoa as missionaries and so the country has always, in a sense, been a part of our family history though we ourselves are not Samoan. Reading Telesa though has allowed me to feel as if I have been to Samoa and have experienced it myself.

The main character, Leila, was great, prickly and very likable despite her owly behaviour as her driving force is to find a place where she fits, where she can call home. The love story between Leila and Daniel is sweet and very believable (though there are times that if I were Daniel I would have socked her one right in the nose!) and the relationship Leila has with her mother Nafanua is so well done.

I give this book a solid 4.5 stars, only docking a little because I found that the first portion of the book was a bit slow for my taste, though I do understand the need to build a foundation for a story, it still took a bit too long to grab me. But once it did! Wow, could not put it down!!

Very much looking forward to the sequel in march of 2012 and highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for LaVerne Clark.
Author 4 books61 followers
March 31, 2012
I adored this story.

Not normally a reader of YA stories, the author's voice captured me from the beginning. I've never been to Samoa, but the descriptions transported me there.

The relationships between the characters were complex and real with more than a couple reminding me of my own extended family. I felt like I had a sneak peek into what Island life was like for two very special boys in my life who have recently moved to NZ and feel I can sympathise with them more about all the challenges and changes they had to deal with in settling here. Thank you Lani for that valuable lesson.

The relationship between Leila and Daniel was heartfelt and hot (excuse the pun!) and I was so pleased to see them conquer the things seperating them, but with an ending that left me hanging. I can't wait for the next installment.
679 reviews5 followers
December 9, 2011
Loved this book! The author takes a Samoan legend/myth and turns it into a modern-day reality. I knew I loved this book when after I was done I couldn't stop thinking about it. When is the next one coming??

Profile Image for Keren Hughes.
Author 21 books211 followers
June 13, 2012
Oh My Goodness. What to say about this book?... *taps finger in chin in contemplation*
I just don't know what to say to do it justice. I always reflect on a book at the end and this time, I've come to my review without knowing what I am going to say. I'm just typing and hoping it makes sense.

So I'll start at the beginning. I was asked to review TELESA as part of the RABT tours and I signed up right away. From the synopsis, I knew it was something different and intriguing. I haven't come across anything like it before and as I am always keen to try new things, this appealed to me.

Take a look at the cover and I defy you not to see it's unequalled beauty. At first, I wasn't sure how it linked to the story, but that is something you discover as you journey into Samoa with Leila as your guide!

LeilaFolger is 18 years old. She's just lost her father and feels lost and alone. She doesn't want to keep living with Grandmother Folger and so decides to undertake a journey to Samoa. A journey of discovery that leads her to find out things she never expected were possible.

Upon arriving in Samoa, she is met by Aunty Matile and Uncle Tuala. Aunty is a sour-faced woman and is quick to dash Leila's hopes of an enjoyable 3 month stay. The way she is so curt with Leila. You would do well to always respect Aunty though. She is a woman you wouldn't want to cross.

Leila has come to Samoa in search of vital information. She wants to know about her family. Specifically about her mother. The mother she never had because she died in a hurricane when Leila was just a baby. But Aunty isn't happy about this and is quick to tell Leila that she would do well not to bring up the subject of her mother - and any time Leila tries, she is only met with a fierce resistance.
Aunty believes that what she is doing by not telling Leila anything, is protecting her from the harsh truth about the kind of woman her mother was.

So Leila settles into a routine of going to school, home and of course, church. She's not to go anywhere else. Aunty Matile and Uncle Tuala do their best to enforce this, for Leila's own protection.

It's at school that she meets Daniel. The devastatingly handsome Head Boy, or should I say Chunk Hunk...? (you'll get that reference when you read the book) He's handsome, sweet, kind... He could never be interested in Leila... could he...?

Leila is glad that settling into SamCo (Samoa College) is easier than she had expected. She's used to American ways and social cliques that she's never been a part of. But though SamCo has some of it's own cliques, this time Leila feels a part of everything. Thanks in large to her fa'afafine friend Simone. He's the most feminine boy she's ever met. Finely manicured hands. Subtly applied eye-liner. But he's funny and kind, making Leila feel completely at ease in his company.

I won't go too much into the real gritty part of the story, that's a journey for you to embark upon.

What I will say is this...

As the story unfolds, you are taken on a magical journey. Lani Wendt Young has written this from her heart. As a girl born in Apia, Samoa - it is clear to see she loves the land that she is from and it has inspired the most beautiful story.
With a beautiful fluidity, TELESA is more than just a story. It's more than just mere words on a page. It's a journey that you undertake and come out smiling on the other side. Yes, there are hard times to go through. Yes, there are ups and down, twist and turns. But those all add to the beauty of it.

I can say in all honesty that Lani Wendt Young has shot to the top of my 'new favourite authors' list and TELESA has been added to my 'most-favourite' list on Goodreads, but also to my mental lists of 'favourite books of 2012' & 'favourite books EVER'.

It's clear that Lani poured her heart and soul into creating this amazing story. I am in absolute awe of her at this moment in time. She created inspiring characters. The good and the evil. I adored Leila's quiet yet fierce strength and passion for what she believes in. Aunty Matile and Uncle Tuala are to of my favourite secondary characters. Simone is one of my favourite 'best friend' characters - I have never heard of anyone who is fa'afafine before - I absolutely adored him.
As for Daniel. Oh. My. God. I cannot begin to explain how fiercely I loved him! There aren't enough words in my vocabulary.
I was slightly tempted along the way by the beautiful Jason. I'll admit to imagining him stood there in his half-naked glory. But when it comes down to it, I am a one-man woman. Daniel stole my heart. (and don't care if he ever gives it back)

I admit to crying twice. The fact that I cried is testament to how wonderful a story it is. I don't cry easily.
This was my Goodreads status last night...
"I'm 82% done with Telesa - The Covenant : Can somebody hand me a tissue? I just cried a river! I haven't cried like that over a book in ages. Really tugs on my heart strings. I love this book!"
Honestly, I defy anyone who reads this not to cry. So grab yourself a box of tissues!

I want to thank RABT for giving me this opportunity to read and review TELESA. If they had not offered it to me, I may never have discovered this book and what lies beneath.
I am honoured to be part of the blog tour.

A huge thank you must go out to Lani. If she hadn't been inspired to write of this beautiful land of Samoa, I would never have been able to fall in love with it. I honestly feel like I will always carry a piece of Samoa in my heart.

I could go on all day, but I feel this is probably a good place to shut up! I told you I would type and just hope for some sense to come of it!
Profile Image for Rubí Santander.
207 reviews36 followers
March 31, 2023
"Too often, modern science and Western medicine rip off traditional healers. They take our plants, they take our knowledge, ‘invent’ a cure for something and then get filthy rich off it. And maybe they throw a few cents over their shoulder for the villagers who were foolish enough to give them the information in the first place."
Profile Image for Jenn.
597 reviews39 followers
July 4, 2018
Did not finish this book. Totally lost interest after she found her birth mother and was introduced to her aunts, it just felt as if it just dragged on from there and couldn't keep my attention. I had hoped that this would be an interesting book too so I am a bit disappointed
Profile Image for Bnice.
75 reviews
September 4, 2012
I really enjoyed this book. I'm samoan, born and raised in California, but lucky for me, my parents brought SAMOA into our home in the states. I'm greatful for the heritage and culture I know and cherish for life.

So the book was a great read! I loved how I was so familiar with everything that Mrs. Young was describing and I couldn't help but feel at home with this book being that everything was set in Samoa, how good is that! I love, love, love me some DANIEL..He's one of those samoan boys that still holds true to the traditions and unwritten rules in Samoa. Its very safe to say that DANIEL is one CHUNK HUNK and very old fashioned which is fine with me YES! I love his character how he RESPECTS his elders and respects girls.
Leila is from the states and is not accustomed to the Samoan way of life! She is in for a culture shock in a good way. She doesn't hit it off right away with DANIEL, as a matter of fact, they get into a class debate and they are on opposing sides and get into it, something fierce..She makes some friends at school SIMONE ( a shim= she+ him= SHIM) He becomes a very good friend of Leila and helps her with the ins and outs of the samoan life and expectations on the island and in school.
TELESA speaks of women who have an affinity of powers of the earth elements AIR, WATER, FIRE and Leila not knowing is one of them. Leila was born to a palagi (white) man and a samoan telesa lady. Her mothers name is Nafanua. Her father took her away from SAMOA where she was born when she was 4 months. Her father didn't speak much of her mother but requested that she never go back to SAMOA. Leila loved her father and it was just her and him against the world. Her father was a "FOLGER" a man born into the Lawyer family business and a family with no financial hardhsips, well off in that area. Her father was in the Peace Corp in Samoa and met Nafanua, fell in love and they had Leila Folger. Leila's father meant the world to her and she didn't quite fit into the prestige world of the FOLGERS. She was made fun of in school as the brown girl with thick hair. She found herself getting into fights and not fitting in when school kids would tease her about not having a mother. So tough in a teens life when you don't have any info on your mother..Leilas father died due to a brain tunor and Leila's life was in shambles, absolutely devastated her world. What would she do now that her father has passed away?. Her grandmother Mrs.Folger of course would take care of her, but she felt such a void in her life without her father to lead and direct her life. She turns 18 and decided to go against her fathers wishes, she sells her car and purchases a ticket to SAMOA in search of her family roots, to find out about her mother and what she was like. This is where the story begins her, trip to Samoa..

I loved the love story in the book as well as the legends of the TELESA.I loved how Mrs. Young described the lush gardens and delicious foods in Samoa. I must say after reading this book, I was already in love with DANIEL and planning a trip to the motherland..There's alot of action that takes place in the book which caught my attention right off the back, so it doesn't disappoint at all.If you haven't read this book, you ought to..I highly recommend the book to readers..

Thank you for a good read Mrs. Lani Wendt- Young..I thoroughly enjoyed myself..LOVE IS BEING ABLE TO DO AND DEFEAT ANYTHING TOGETHER...
Profile Image for Karen.
454 reviews70 followers
June 25, 2012
I almost think the main character in the book was the setting—Samoa itself. The author writes about it so vividly and deftly, without getting bogged down in endless description. It’s clear that she knows what she’s writing about, and she did an outstanding job at writing about Samoa in a way that helps people not from there understand the culture and the unique things about it. And she did it in a way that felt neither condescending or like too much time was spent explaining. It’s clear the author loves the country, and that love was contagious.

The story itself was interesting and unique. Because it takes place in Samoa and uses that country’s mythology, the whole idea felt fresh and new. Everything was fascinating to me because I’d never read anything very much like it before. I loved the idea of the Telesa and their deep connection to the earth. And speaking of the Telesa (they’re kinda like femme fatale witches, only very connected to nature), I enjoyed how layered their characters were, especially the head Telesa. They were the antagonists of the story, yet it was so easy to understand their motivations and see that while their methods may have been wrong, the intent behind them stemmed from a love of their country, and that made it hard for me to hate them.

Leila, the main character, was a little hard for me to like at first. She’s initially very defensive and closed off and tends to blow up at people with little provocation. But since that all plays into Leila’s character development and into the development of her powers, once I got a third of the way in or so, she wasn’t bugging me anymore. Plus, I liked that she wasn't, well, white. I'll be the first to admit that I'm basically as white as they come, but I love it when YA characters have a little, you know, color to them.

My one niggling complaint about the book is the love triangle. Since it doesn’t really come into play until halfway through the book, I thought I’d get away without it having one. So I may have rolled my eyes a little when boy #2 came into the story. At least both boys are hot and genuinely nice guys. I legitimately wanted Leila to be with both. Although I have to say, I fell totally in lust with Daniel. Oh my gosh, that boy is fine. No wonder Leila is crazy attracted to him—he’s Samoan, hot (what is it about Polynesian boys that's so intrinsically attractive?), athletic, smart, responsible, kind . . . If Leila doesn’t end up with him, can I have him? Plus, I liked that although there was a love triangle, the author successfully steered away from any insta-love and made the relationships very believable.

Overall, this was a totally solid book. It was a little long, in my opinion, but looking back, I’m not really sure what parts the author could’ve cut out. So, yes, if you’re looking for a YA paranormal that departs from the run-of-the-mill, give this one a shot. I know I already mentioned how much I loved the setting and culture, but I'll say it again--I loved it. I really don't know why there isn't more of a market for Pacific Islander/Polynesian/non-American YA books if Telesa is at all a representative example.

Book Light Graveyard
April 28, 2012
When I received this book I expected it to be like most YA books, kinda mediocre. This book is anything but mediocre. It is full of depth and lots of twists and turns. Ms. Young takes you on a ride you won't forget. She writes a story with great detail but it never overpowers the point of the story. It is a great romantic thrill ride that has your heart pounding and pulse racing till the end.

Leila is my new book BFF. If I want a bad ass chick fighting beside me it will be her. She can control fire, pretty cool. She also doesn't take any crap from people and speaks her mind. I love it when a woman has a mind of her own and can say what's on her mind. Leila is a little trouble though. She is part Samoan and part White and has never thought that she fit in anywhere. Well that is until she gets to Samoa and realizes that she does fit in here. This is home, even if it took awhile for her to realize it. She also has mommy issues but who doesn't?

Leila's love interest Daniel has secrets. I suspected at first that there was more to him but as you read on you really do believe that there is more to his story. He is what keeps Leila stable. They are Yin and Yang. Even when they were not together, I believe that everything she did was for Daniel in hopes to keep him safe.

Nafanua is not the best mom. I think her lack of mothering skills is partly due to her "sister" Sarona. Nafanua's actions all seem to be influenced by Sarona but it is Nafanua who is in charge. I believe she wants the best for Leila in her own demented way. When you read about her you have a love hate relationship. You want to hate her but at the same time something draws you to her.

Jason is another great character. He is Leila's friend but he wishes it was more. He has a nerdy aspect to him that drives you wild. He knows about her powers and wants to help her in her quest to be normal. In Leila's world nothing is truly normal.

I loved learning about Samoa. It seems like a beautiful country with lots of history.

I wasn't crazy about Sarona and the covenant. They all seem to be power hungry and they extreme means to fix issues. You don't have to blow everything up to fix the problem.

I don't read a lot of Fey or Elemental books but I loved this one. It was rocking. I loved every aspect of this book but the beginning. I thought that part kinda dragged on. Once you get past that you can't put it down. I loved this book. Can't wait for the next in the series.
Profile Image for Tia.
7 reviews
May 8, 2012
I'm so grateful to have ordered 'Telesa' read it - and own it! - as I have been able to imagine my cultural roots, remember the family way of life, and the all inspiring tales of the 'women by the pool' my grandmother use to tell me.
I, at first, thought it would be a complete myths and legends book of stories from Samoa. It was the title that caught my attention, and I immediately ordered the book... it was a different matter when I read it.
Sooooo glad that I ordered it! What a storyline! The book not only focusses on the characters coming together, but the detail to the environment used for the story, the gardens, the 'fale' and secret place of 'the pool' - were very, very descriptive, and really stirred the imaginations to such a wondrous place. The characters in the book - for the young adult readers in my house - would draw a nodding familiarity, to the responses of 'meeting the guy' [for the first time], and 'the new weird girl' [but she's interesting!] vibes! lol!!...
I will be ordering a book for my brother in brisbane, as I do not want to release my signed copy from the author. [heeheehee!] Thank you Lani for stirring the memories, and reminding me, it's time I went home for a visit... a looooonnnnggg visit. :) Thank you also, for your writings of one of the most familiar stories of 'Telesa' I use to hear so fondly from my nana. I wish you all the best with this series, and will be eagerly awaiting the next book!
Telesa - The Covenant Keeper
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
23 reviews
July 31, 2012
I decided to read this book because I'va never really read a book quite like it. This book was written by a Samoan, and since I myself am samoan, I felt it would be interesting to read what someone from my nationality would write like.

The category on the bingo board that this book completes is "a book written in 2011/2012". The reason this category was interesting with this book was because the book is actually about a myth that originated in the islands a very very long time ago, when the earth was first created in fact. So when I read this book I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was written with modern language and has modern themes. So that combination of the 2 different times in the world made the book very interesting and fun to read.

My favourite quote fromt this book was "They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice. They lied" This was very scary delightful for me to read because 1. I did think that lightning didn't strike in the same place twice 2. I know why the character 'leila' mentioned that when she was bettling the other 'telesa' and 3. I learnt that in the old myths, 'telesa matagi' are the telesa's that can control the sky, including lightning.

Something new I learnt from this book was what a 'telesa' actually was. A 'telesa' is a gift brought to the islands by the earth god 'pele' to "keep the peace" in the pacific islands.

The setting in this book was interesting to me. It was interesting to me because the story is based in the island of Samoa and that just so happens to be where I lived for the first 5 years of my life.

Profile Image for Louisa.
6,910 reviews31 followers
June 11, 2012
Really enjoyable book, great characters and plot, and unique setting, and loved it!

*Full review from Words I Write Crazy on June 6th*

This was a highly enjoyable romance/mystery/thriller, set in Samoa, a unique setting, with a unique plot, and just a wonderful book! With heartbreak, challenges, and wonder beyond wonder, Telesa is a wonderful book!

Leila was a strong character, the traditions of Samoa, and respecting elders and how her aunt and uncle received her, and acted around her, and her attempts to learn who her mother was as a person, well, it aggravated me, and while it did the same to Leila, she didn't act on that frustration and anger, she just kept it inside, making her a better person then me!

Well, except when she's talking with Daniel, who really raises her hackles, and boy, it that funny to read, especially the cutting the grass scene, and yeah that was really hilarious! All that tension, conflict, and growing passion, it was a wonderful (for the reader) start to their relationship, because it was so explosive, that debate.

Rising tensions between being a Telesa and being with David, and the heat, the passion, the rules and the beliefs, it all comes to head, and you better watch out, because it is volcano hot, and someone is going to be hurt!

This was a fantastic book, highly enjoyable, and yeah, I did, so I hope you guys check this book out!
Profile Image for Tricia Kristufek.
Author 28 books68 followers
April 20, 2012
"I've never seen anything so beautiful - and so terrible in my life."

Leila is searching for a place to belong after her father's death. Against his final wish, she travels to Samoa to try to find out about her mother, who her father had told her was dead.

After she arrives on the island, she settles into her routine, but a fire builds inside of her that she can't explain. Even as she adjusts to her knew school - and the God-like boy, Daniel - she gets throwing for a loop again - her mother is alive. Now, she needs to find answers to the cause of the flames. Answers only her mother can give her.

Trying to quench her inner fire, but thoughts of Daniel feed the flames, so she agrees to move in with her mother to find out how to control this power. But even as she learns to control herself as a telesa, she finds out why her mother's name brings fear to the locals and must decide between her mother's ways and her own.

Full of Samoan culture, Telesa: The Covenant Keeper is a tale of accepting who you are and standing up for what you believe in.
Profile Image for M.A Grace.
Author 5 books72 followers
June 17, 2012
I love the authors ability to describe Samoa. I myself have never been but through this book I can picture the magical beauty it holds there. The story really pulls you in but I had some issues in the middle as it seemed to drag on a bit. But eventually the story picked back up. As the story unfold you become engulfed with the characters and their relationship as it builds and develops. The end leaves you with a good amount of questions and kinda just bluntly ENDS but I guess that pulls you towards wanting to get the second book of this trilogy so you can get the answers you so desperately want and need.

Recommended for anyone that wants a book that pulls you in and doesn't let go. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon. You won't want to be disturbed.
Profile Image for Sisilia Meli.
205 reviews41 followers
April 11, 2020
"They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice. They lied."

Telesa is the paranormal telling of a young girl named Leila who's learning that she has a major role to play in protecting Earth. As she discovers the significance of Telesa, her relationships with her family and a new love interest named Daniel, Leila is taken on a journey that'll change her life and the people of Samoa for good.

I read Telesa when I was back in high school and then again for my Young Adult Literature class and let me tell you, it brought back all my old feelings towards this story! This story will easily capture the feelings of a young pacific island girl who's searching for a hero that represents her people and her islands as well as depict the deep love that they have for them!
Profile Image for Josie.
429 reviews15 followers
July 5, 2015
Phew, hot, steamy, sexy...all that in a no sex YA bundle!
I picked this book for the 666 for 2015 - An Around the World Reading Challenge and also because I spent 4 weeks in Samoa earlier this year. This book totally swept me back to Apia and it's surrounds and was an absolute joy to read.
I would not pick myself as a "fan" of supernatural YA fiction, but this book really absorbed me in it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey it took me on.
Daniel, phew....hot hot hot!
3 reviews3 followers
February 20, 2014
- It was one of the best books I've read. I'm glad that the world will know about this island called Samoa with many myths, legends and how unique their culture is.
13 reviews
April 11, 2020
Leila is a young girl who moves to Samoa to meet her relatives and the culture that she comes from. This turns into her discovering her roots on the island as well as the magic within herself. I loved how this novel was taking the perspective of a pacific islander teen who is mixed and trying to find her place. I think that there is a great need for more authors to write for this audience since it is rare that this perspective is shown for many of the readers that fit that description. One thing that I will say about this book is that it is a teen drama and that the storyline, in general, was very fast-paced. It reads more like a television drama than a typical novel. By that, I mean that there is always some crazy new thing that thas to be dealt with, and there is a love triangle that develops and changes with every flip of the page. One of the other descriptions that I read said that this was a Samoan version of twilight and I think that is a pretty good description. However, I think that this book set off a reaction for the world to see that it is important to write oceanic literature for young adult readers. I loved the accuracy of the culture that it was portraying the different details really helps the readers to connect when they know about the different customs that are being portrayed. This was one of my favorite reading not because of the plot or characters, but because of what it was trying to accomplish.
Profile Image for Rachael.
Author 8 books421 followers
October 25, 2018
I was gripped from the opening pages and plunged into this epic story where mythology blends with the modern world of Samoa. I could not agree more that Telesa is the Twilight of the Pacific! It's addictive, exciting and romantic. I love that Leila struggles with the power bubbling inside her. It has that whole superhero-origins-story vibe. I was particularly captivated by the Pacific setting, the high school friendships, and the exploration of culture, myth and legend. This book kept me up late at night. It made me smile and chuckle and sigh and swoon. That Daniel tho.
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