Internationally renowned Samoan writer, editor and journalist. Author of the Telesa Series and the Scarlet Lies Series. Also author of the nonfiction book, 'Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi', and the award-winning collection of short fiction, 'Afakasi Woman'. The 2018 ACP Pacific Laureate.
on June 08, 2018 :
This was a very good story. It includes some great characters, history, wonderful setting (I so want to go to Samoa now). The best part was the mysterious mythology and traditions.
(review of free book)
on Feb. 23, 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. You wont regret it. 5 SUPER LARGE stars!
(reviewed 44 days after purchase)
on Jan. 04, 2012 :
Very refreshing and romantic, well-written and with a mysterious touch.
I love it and I will read it again
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)
on Dec. 28, 2011 :
Once in a while you come across a book which perfectly blends culture and mythology with a healthy dose of action and adventure. TELESA is exactly that book. TELESA is the tale of Leila's journey of self discovery and a coming of age story linked to the TELESA folklore of powerful spirit guardians charged with protecting the earth and punishing those who destroy it. Leila has known loss and abandonment in her lifetime but she shows the maturity and grace of an old soul. Leila takes charge of her own destiny and is responsible for her own actions. She is strong when she needs to be but also vulnerable and she knows when she needs to ask for help. This is wholly refreshing in a genre permeated with weak heroines. I thoroughly enjoyed delving into TELESA and cannot recommend it enough.
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
on Nov. 28, 2011 :
I was introduced to the genius of Lani Wendt Young this year by a friend who follows her blog. (I follow too now.) Check it out at SleeplessInSamoa.blogspot.org! I began reading Telesa last week and I'm obsessed! If only I hadn't smashed my phone, I would be done reading it already! :-)
I identify with Leila so much. I too am an afakasi American girl who didn't know much my culture or meet my Samoan dad until I was a teen. Lani has done a beautiful job describing the indescribable! The imagery she was able to evoke was so lush that I could almost smell the flowers and hear the waterfalls. I have not yet had the good fortune to fulfill my dream of visiting Samoa, but whenever I get "homesick" for the motherland, I can pick up Telesa and fall in love all over again!
I can't wait for books 2&3 and plan on giving them as gifts to my teenage step-daughters. I know they will love Daniel & Leila's story as much as I already do!
(reviewed 49 days after purchase)
on Oct. 20, 2011 :
Hot,thirilling,riveting and wet-my-pants-with-trepidation-and-fear and that was only the first 5 pages.
I've always been a lover of Pacific writing,but most Pacific writers are (for lack of a better word) 'elitist' in that you need to be indigenous to the place or time that they are writing about. L.W.Y has created a novel that caters to the masses but manages to be intimate and engaging and leaves the reader feeling as though Telesa is a secret that you are privileged to have been entrusted with.
I downloaded this book to my iphone and was sneaking time to read it,whenever wherever. With each turn of the page, the characters came to life and with many of them, I felt like I already knew them. Especially the support characters like Simone - the coolest chick on campus and that one "Queen Bee".
The first time Uncle Tuala drove up to the Hallowed Golden Gates of Samco - I closed my eyes and could see everything so clearly, the falesa in Moataa next door to where Daniel lives, the welding shop, Faatoia, Fagalii Airport oi aue!
Lani Wendt Young weaves her words with magic and I was hanging onto every last one of them.
Growing up and being fascinated by the Telesa (Teine Sa) and remembering all the do's and don'ts that my Grandmother to this day will not let any of us wear our hair down at night and insists on the fairer palagi grandkids being indoors before the sunsets.
Bella and Edward who? Leila and Daniel made me feel connected, whether it's because they are Samoan and I felt I could relate more to spirits than vampires, I'm not sure, but if you're looking for romance,suspense,mystery and a cultural exploration steeped in tradition and legend then this is the book for you.
I loved it so much I've ordered paperback copies for everyone I know as Christmas gifts.
Cannot wait for Book II to come out. Hoping Jason goes in the way of Jacob and falls off by the way side.
Team Daniel all the way!
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
on Oct. 18, 2011 :
I didn't want to put my laptop down from the time I started reading. It kept me captivated. Even while at work, I would be thinking about what Leila and Daniel were up to. What Nafanua and her Sisters would be up, to.
I could almost feel Leila's love, lost, pain, anger and frustation and plus many more emotions. I honestly did feel like I was in the story. Then, I get to the end and I definitely can't wait for the next book to come out.
I truly enjoyed this book. There are not many samoan books out there like this. Well done Lani in taking that step ahead and writing this book. I look forward to also reading your short stories until your next Telesa book comes out.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Oct. 03, 2011 :
Telesa was an amazing read. I read it on my computer, which I NEVER do because I usually hate reading on my monitor, but I couldn't "put it down" or rather, turn it off. I loved the depth of the characters and for someone who moved to Samoa as a teen, I really felt like Leila's reactions to experiencing Samoa for the first time were so true. I was completely immersed when I was reading, so much so that I missed the characters and the setting when it was done. Well done, Lani. Can't wait for the next one.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Sep. 26, 2011 :
TELESA had everything I've always loved in a good read--romance, humour (where I actually lol for real!), that love triangle, suspense, and action. But more than that, I loved the human traits and qualities the characters possessed, everything that is so unique to Samoa, the Pacific islands and its people--hospitality by the aunt and uncle, kindness from new friends at school, that island humour, obedience and respect to elders (Daniel to his grandmother), etc. I am now truly homesick! I felt the supernatural storyline did not take away from this, but only served to enhance these characteristics. I admired the respect and love between Daniel and Leila, and it was so refreshing to read a story set in a high school where friends can be made easily and teachers are respected. I'm finding it reeally difficult to move onto another novel after reading this one, because I just can't seem to immerse myself in something short of these attributes. Well, that, and the fact that I can't get over Daniel just yet! :) Well done Lani! Looking forward to the next two books in the series.
From Sieni in Israel
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
on Sep. 25, 2011 :
I read this over the weekend, no chores or normal tv shows, no going ANYWHERE until I had finished this book.
I was absolutely enthralled, I can't wait to read it again, and am excited for the next book in the series.
I was not born or raised in Samoa, but I do know and have visited all the places mentioned in the book, and I could envision every scene in my mind and that is truly the mark of a great and talented writer, for readers to be able to see themselves in the story or see it in their minds.
Well done, 'Telesa' is fantastic, I have been forcing it upon my friends and family to purchase the ebook ever since I finished reading to the last word.
It makes me proud, that one of us, a fellow samoan sister can write such a wonderful creation. I have a great love for the Twilight Books and I am a big follower of the books and Stephenie Meyer, well done Lani, Leila & Daniel beat Bella & Edward hands down!!!
Please keep writing, I'm your newest fan. Thankyou for writing a book that the samoan & polynesian youth/young adults/older adults can relate to and envision themselves in through imagination, if ever thats one of the things we tend to lack is using our imaginations. So thankyou again for such a wonderful story.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
on Sep. 23, 2011 :
As a non Twi-hard (Twilight series reader/follower/worshipper), it was only out of respect for the author that I decided to purchase 'Telesa: The Covenant Keeper' and give it a go. However, it was not respect that made me eagerly continue after the first chapter, reading late into the night and only stopping out of the worry that the glare from the laptop was annoying my poor husband.
Reading the book made me feel like I was two different people: the born and bred Samoan who was reliving my school days, family life and local scene; and the first time visitor having a first view, smell and taste of Samoa. I nodded in agreement with Matile as she refused to discuss Telesa...and yet continued to turn the page to find what Leila discovered about these Telesa. Every detail was described perfectly, but it wasn't over the top.
Telesa is not just a love story. It's not just a spooky tale. It has elements of love, true beauty, self discovery, culture, family, magic and (my favourite) fantastic food. Lani Wendt Young had truly created a whole world, that I was only too eager to explore.
I only have one regret...that I will now have to wait patiently for the second book.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on Sep. 18, 2011 :
You'll be happy to know that my husband absolutely HATES your book....lol....Maybe because I spent the whole weekend (Saturday and Sunday) reading it TWICE...woohooo...yes I did not do the washing, cleaning, animal minding (we have 7 new pups that need constant attention), go to church (thats not new), refused to cook breakfast, lunch or dinner (or pick up takeaways) or surrender laptop so he can do whatever he does with it....It was ABSOLUTELY, DELICIOUSLY, HYPNOTIC (for the lack of a better expression). Once I started I couldn't stop. Laughing along to the all so familiar SAMCO school life/Samoan home life/teenage crushes/clashes with mother and WAIT FOR IT.............DANIEL ....the new love of my life (after all seven pups, two cats and poor hubby who is somewhere in the picture). Scenery and background described beautifully in detail. And characters I must say unforgettable…yes I mean DANIEL..hehe…and my second favourite NAFANUA….strong, proud Samoan goddess whose only weakness was her love for her child (true portrayal of a Samoan mother).
Congratulations Lani for a wonderful piece of work. I am now really impatient for the second part to come out. Good luck with book launches and god bless.
Azaria (TEAM DANIEL)
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)
on Sep. 16, 2011 :
"TELESA" was the cause of my children’s neglect, my long bathroom trips, my slack performance at work for a week tops and the beginning of my sleeping disorder. I could NOT stop turning the pages (or in my case, sliding the pages). Fascinating read from beginning to end and I could totally picture and relate to the characters being that this Y.A fiction is set in Samoa and written by an amazing Samoan writer. Like Leila, I too fell in love with Daniel. Ripped, green emerald eyed, independent, grandmother loving rugby star? Who wouldn’t fall for that? It demonstrated a whole new side to the Telesa legend I heard about when I was little. Leila summoning the powers of the earth – SO COOL. Simmone’s character had me cracking up thinking of the classic FUN Samoan ‘faafafine’.
L.W.Y did a fabulous job capturing the audience attention through her brilliant writing. I have no doubt that this book will be a BEST SELLER in the near future and I’m fully anticipating the next book coming out in 6months. The count down begins NOW!
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
on Sep. 14, 2011 :
Unable to put the book down everytime that my work life was beginning to be second priority to uncovering Leila story!
The captivating story about the journey of a young girl determined to uncover the truth and mystery about her family, a journey where she also discovers LOVE in a way she has never encountered. Funny, sad, romantic, nailbiting, powerful - a great read!
Utterly disappointed that I must now wait until the second book is released, like many who have also read the book, I too am eagerly anticipating Lani, cannot wait!!!
A MUST read and highly recommend!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Sep. 14, 2011 :
An absolutely phenomenal book, I could not put it down. The depiction of Samoa is utterly breathtaking, it makes you want to be in the main character's shoes, especially when Leila has a love interest like Daniel. I was truly captivated with this story because of the romance, the suspense, the setting, and the characters. This book is a MUST READ and I can't wait for the next one!!!!
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
on Sep. 09, 2011 :
I couldn't stop reading once it was purchased! I've always been interested in mythology and folklore but haven't read any of Samoan origin so this was a great way of introduction. Vividly written, it makes you feel as if you're part of the mystery and beauty of Samoa! I can't wait for book 2!!!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Sep. 09, 2011 :
I was hooked from the first page in. Such a well written, mesmerising read. I took the opportunity to pick it up to read in each spare moment I could grasp with two small children! Loved the way the story was written in a down to earth manner that made it even more believable. I am delighted to see there is another book lined up in the series and I do hope for more!!! I will be paying good money for all of these books. An amazing author with an incredible future ahead.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
on Sep. 08, 2011 :
A captivating read, a page turner. Lani Wendt-Young takes you on a ride following Leila’s journey to the small islands of Samoa from Washington DC to learn about her mother. What she discovers is beyond her expectations. The heroine’s experience is so real thanks to the author’s mastery with words that you are truly immersed in Leila’s world and emotional quest to find her true self in the midst of her findings. It couldn’t have been set in a more suitable place than that of the superstitious and exotic islands of Samoa. The amalgamation of the legendary Samoan myth into a modern day setting is nothing short of brilliance, a credit to the author’s true talent. Suitable for all ages. A must read.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
on Sep. 07, 2011 :
2 days and no work done! Ohmycushions ...so a PDF. file on a computer screen and my full attention while the files I have piled on my desk are screaming at me! Dont mind me while I indulge in the life of Leila! Such a great read..from beginning to the end!....loved the descriptive ends ... there were moments where I'd stop and literally picture myself walking around in Samunda, fresh bread in one hand and a Koko in the other ... breathtaking, heartwrenching, surreal, beautiful, fiery! I loved it :)
Thank you MsLani! now, the question here is, where can I find me a Daniel like that :)
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Aug. 30, 2011 :
Intensely riveting from the very start, TELESA begins with high levels of flammable substance. It grabs you and throws you right into the flames - and that’s just the Prologue!.
The very first moments that a reader encounters when they sit down and open up a book (or e-book) are integral to the entire reading experience, it can make or break a novel. In TELESA the reader is thrown into the deep end, submerged into the world of the novel. The Prologue reading something like a short story within the story, leaving the reader intrigued and ultimately wanting more.
As I turned the pages of TELESA - I could almost see these
images forming motions in my head, the words dancing in my mind!.
L.W.Y's style of writing seems to speak to me on both a conscious and subconscious level. Her newest YA fiction novel TELESA - imploring me to suspend my disbelief and become entrapped by the story of Leila Folger. I allowed myself to become immersed in the storyline, the characters, the myths and legends encompassing it - and it felt surreal. L.W.Y creates these 'blissful surreal like experiences' throughout the entirety of the novel - that keep you going back for more. Her writing is sincere and heartfelt, almost as if she's lived and breathed (to some extent) those very words on the page.
An intensely riveting novel, a compelling read -
a powerful force that will have you wanting more.
I summon you to a smouldering read...you won't regret it! xo jo_an
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
on Aug. 23, 2011 :
“Telesa” is an intoxicating love story intertwined with culture and complete with a contemporary feel. It is a breathtaking love story that speaks to the “romantic” in all of us! The descriptions of the scenes right down to the emotions of the characters illustrates remarkable talent; one that is absolutely natural and organic! The stolen moments and tension between Leila and Daniel had me on a roller coaster of emotions; where I found myself nervous, excited, angry, happy, sad, crying, fist clenching, heart pounding and absolutely euphoric! I started reading this book last night and as I progressed through it, it became extremely hard to resist the compulsion of turning the pages until the very end; which was 6:30AM this morning (an hour before my early morning class). All I can say is – it was WORTH the sacrifice of sleep! Lastly, a confession from the reader – I am completely, utterly and madly in love with Daniel! Haha! I CAN’T wait for the second book!
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
on Aug. 22, 2011 :
I could not stop turning the pages literally. Its now 5:10am here in Utah and I have just finished Telesa. A very well written book. It reminded me a little of the Twilight series only because of the two love interests but it had its own little twists and a whole different story to tell. It was a very good, interesting, can't stop reading kind of book. Loved it. I'm very excited about the second book....Hurry up Lani..:-)
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Kim Ese Salazar
on Aug. 20, 2011 :
I truly enjoyed this book! An eye opener where you can really feel where each character is coming from. A detail story that depict everything you can imagine that made me feel that i was part of the story! I laughed,felt anguish n even felt sad as each charcter was being developed! I lost sleep over this book and could not put it down. Lol. Yes a winner for mw if i can finish this in two days! A modern twist to the insights of the Samoan culture that ties in urban legends. Two thumbs up in my library!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)