Amanda in Malta is the first book I have read in the series featuring a 12-year-old girl who loves to travel and experience new places and food while going on an adventure.

In Amanda in Malta The Sleeping Lady, Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, who is in trouble. Amanda travels to the exotic island with her friend, Caleb, and his parents and finds Leah, who is acting strangely. Amanda also discovers someone is shooting protected birds and a priceless artifact is missing from the museum.

I found Malta fascinating. Canadian author Darlene Foster does a great job of sharing information about this small country within the pages of her book without sounding like she is trying to cram a history and geography lesson in. Rather, it’s like you are learning and exploring this country with Amanda. I liked the people Amanda met, who were willing to share their culture – and food – with the curious pre-teen.

I didn’t particularly like Amanda, however, and some of the choices she made. The fact that she claimed (and maybe she didn’t, but it felt like she manipulated the situation) she felt claustrophobic and didn’t go with Caleb and his parents to one place and instead secretly took off looking for her friend made me furious.

One, what a terrible betrayal of trust and two, what if something happened? It was selfish and horrible and while I know it was needed for the story, I would argue it wasn’t. It’s a terrible thing to teach children.  I hope Caleb’s parents never let Amanda come with them again and I hope her parents ground  her for quite some time when she returns home, neither of which seems likely as getting caught in her lie was just a small piece in the book. Amanda didn’t seem that concerned, a fact that annoyed me for the rest of the read.

While I loved the fast pace of the story, some of the situations seemed too coincidental (like how Amanda got to Malta in the first place) and highly unlikely (a 12 year old is going to a new country to help a friend in danger? When something awful happens to the friend, the parents let it go and don’t call the police?). Even the ending was improbable. While I understand the story requires the 12 year old to go on an adventure – and often stories have children saving the world – in this case I found the danger and the mystery too much and too unlikely.

I am curious to read about Amanda’s other adventures and the places she sees and the people she meets.

Amanda in Malta is by Darlene Foster. I was part of Foster’s blog tour. Click here to read a Q&A.

A copy of Amanda in Malta was provided by Foster for an honest review. The opinions are my own.