Leaving her old life in New York behind, 17-year-old Rosa goes to Sicily to stay with family. However, her family have a massive secret; they are involved with Mafia gangs, and soon Rosa becomes tangled up in their world filled with secrets, danger and crime.

On top of that, there's an ancient myth circulating about Arcadia about an extinct empire whose people were rumored to have the ability to shape shift into animals. As Rosa learns more and more about the past, she is forced to question her previous doubts…

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Then there’s Alessandro, mysterious and handsome but a member of the opposing clan, which spouts danger for Rosa and her family. Will Rosa be able to resist his charms whilst protecting herself from the myths that are hovering around the town?

If I was judging a book by it's cover I'd say that...


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From the very first moment it appeared in front of me I had a feeling it was going to be different. It looked dark and engaging and if I was to judge it by its cover, I would definitely say it’s attention-grabbing. It drew me in as I'm drawn to mysterious looking books in particular.

Whats the story?

Shani: Arcadia Awakens is all about a girl named Rosa and a boy named Alessandro who belong to two different mafia families. Rosa, who is new to Sicily, uncovers a whole bookshelf of secrets which she would never have dreamt was possible. It's also about Rosa and Alessandro (who I think are the perfect couple) struggling through danger, blood lust and betrayal - all set in the modern day.

What did you like about it? Did it win you over?

Olivia: Filled with myth and legend, Sicily is the perfect location for this book. With the steep mountains and beautiful haunting landscapes it is also the perfect camouflage for what realistically happens between the two opposing families.

The story completely won me over, especially the characters and in particular Rosa. The fact that is she is very daring and rebellious makes the novel exhilarating; the typical heroine is expected to be shy and cautious whereas Rosa’s personality contrasts with this, creating a whole new type of female lead to explore and learn about.

Shani: I loved Rosa and Alessandro because they both had little things which made you feel for them. I loved the story as well because there were so many branches that made it was both intriguing and entertaining. 

Is it one you'll be recommending?

Shani: I already have!

How did you feel when you finished it?

Olivia: As soon as I finished it I was shocked with the outcome of the situation and I longed to read the sequel. The book is so well written I was ready to carry on exploring the life of Rosa and Alessandro. Arcadia Burns will certainly be on my list of books to get through next year!

More importantly, are there any fitties to keep an eye out for? Could they give the Edward Cullens and Ron Weasleys of the literary world a run for their money in the fitness stakes?

Olivia: They'd better watch out as there may be a new generation of literary hotties coming our way..

Final score?

Shani: A big fat 5 out of 5!

So what do you think? Are you going to read it?

Arcadia Awakens is out now.

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