The Frights of Fiji by Sunayna Prasad is a fast-paced middle grade adventure.
It’s a fast-paced story and easy to read, definitely a solid choice for younger readers looking to dive into stories filled with intrepid heroines who fall into worlds of magic and outsmart the bad guys. Alyssa is nearly 13 when the book starts. Her parents are dead and she lives with her strict and horrible uncle (although she has a sweet cousin named Hailey who brings light into Alyssa’s otherwise miserable existence). They’re forced to do chores all the time, isolated from friends, and ignored and neglected by the uncle. So when a magical message appears on the window frame, you know Alyssa’s world is about to change forever.
“Your life will never be the same again, Alyssa McCarthy, as magic will interfere.”
She tumbles into an adventure linked to her parents death and discovers the villain behind her life of misfortune. There’s a lot of weird magical trouble that Alyssa struggles to explain to the adults and then a bit of kidnapping as the villain sweeps in to snatch Alyssa up. She ends up in Fiji, trapped behind magical barriers, as she outwits the evil Master Beau. The book is set in 2010 so I enjoyed the flashbacks 😂👌🏻 (I feel oooold, that was so long ago.) There’s magical technology too which was kind of fun, and lots of hybrid creatures. Never a dull moment that’s for sure.
There’s also a girl-power friendship squad when Alyssa has to rescue Hailey and joins up with some of their friends. The kids are cute and you can’t help but root for them. It has a lot of classic middle-grade tropes too which made it a nostalgic read.
Recommended for fans of magical kids books and adventures.
I also have an interview with the author below, so read on to see!
AD | Thanks to the author for providing a copy of the book for review.
Hi Sunayna! Thanks so much for chatting with me today about your book. 🤗 Can you tell us about your publishing journey and how The Frights of Fiji went from first idea to finished novel on our shelves?
I’ve imagined the idea of my book’s MC ever since I was little. Then I abandoned that idea… until I was about 16. The idea of a girl named Alyssa with long, blonde hair hit my mind again. Based on my childhood imagination, I wrote a book where she could talk to animals and would hang out with them in Africa. That failed to please others, though. So, I removed that story from the market.
Not willing to give up on the idea of my character, I started a new novel with the same idea of a protagonist, except that this one did a lot better.
The story was originally published in 2013 as, “From Frights to Flaws.” I received good reviews for it, but removed it from the market in 2018. Then I made some moderate edits and republished it as “The Frights of Fiji,” since that title was much stronger than the previous one.
What’s your favourite thing about writing for kids?
I feel that the writing does not have to be too complex. It took me 7 years to hone and improve my writing abilities from poor to decent to great. I also find writing about children to be more exciting that writing about adults, although I wouldn’t mind doing the latter.
Can you introduce us to Alyssa?
She is 12 in the events of the book and lives with her harsh uncle and kind cousin. Her parents died 5 years prior from a car crash, and her aunt died 2 years after from an allergic reaction. She discovers magic’s existence and a sorcerer on the hunt for her.
Which has been your favourite book to write in the Magical Missions series?
Although this took about 5 years to brainstorm and write (as well as tired me out a lot), I probably enjoyed creating Book 3 in my series the most. I introduced new characters, more laws about magic, and much more that excited me.
Writing is super tiring 😂🙌🏻 I relate to that. Can we beg for a sneak peek about what you’re working on next?
I am working on the 4th book, where Alyssa discovers that her maternal grandpa is around, but trapped somewhere. She must overcome her fear of snakes in order to rescue him since a bunch of serpents guard him, keeping others away.
Sounds like another thrilling adventure for Alyssa 👀👌🏻 And lastly! What are some of the best author moments you’ve had so far?
I enjoyed receiving positive reviews of my books and getting more downloads of “The Frights of Fiji” since it’s perma-free, which opens more opportunities to submit it to eBook promotion sites.
All the best with your writing and future books in the series, Sunayna!
Title: The Frights of Fiji
Author: Sunayna Prasad
Date Published: August 22nd, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: S.A. Prasad Publishing
Add it on Goodreads
A world of magic and adventure awaits…
Sent to live with her strict, aloof, and uncaring uncle after her parents are killed in a car accident, twelve-year-old orphan Alyssa McCarthy longs for the life she used to have—one filled with fun and love. Then one stormy night, a message appears in the raindrops on the window that will change everything.
Meet the Author
I started writing stories at around six years old. I wrote until the age of ten, when I took a break from it. I returned to writing stories at about sixteen years old. Ever since then, I enjoyed creating books, particularly for children.
I have always been passionate about fantasy, especially with a modern twist. I have read bestsellers, like the Harry Potter series, which gave me a lot of inspiration for my books. Movies, especially Disney classics, also inspire the content of my stories. My goal is to help kids escape into a whole new fantastical world, especially if they are going through tough times.
I have lived a difficult life due to having a disability, where people would treat me unequally and not understand my differences. Despite the rocky road I grew up on, I ended up in a happy place during my early 20’s. So, no matter how rough your life or situations may be, positive outcomes can happen. Never give up.