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  • Published: 3 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143775904
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $24.00

Faraway Girl

A contemporary young-adult novel with mysterious goings-on, time travel, a curse and a strange painting.

Etta is worried about her brother, Jamie. The doctors can find nothing wrong with him, but he is getting weaker by the day. At breakfast one morning, he seems to have lost it completely:

In a voice as pale as his face, he said, ‘I think I can see a ghost.’

However, when they all turn to look, sure enough, materialising on the window seat is a girl about Etta’s age, wearing a beautiful Victorian wedding dress. Etta has to get off to school, she has no time for this, but she is about to discover that time has a whole new significance. She and her ghost companion have no choice but to work out what is going on before Jamie is lost for ever . . .

  • Published: 3 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143775904
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $24.00

About the author

Fleur Beale

Fleur Beale is the author of many award-winning books for children and young adults — she has published more than 40 books in New Zealand, as well as in the United States and England. A former high school teacher, Fleur was inspired to write her acclaimed novel I Am Not Esther when one of her students was beaten and expelled from his family for going against their religious beliefs. Fleur is a leading advocate for New Zealand authors, and home-grown literature for children and young adults.

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Praise for Faraway Girl

Faraway girl is a swirl of contrasts, written in a limited third person omniscient point of view. This allows the reader into the heads of both Etta and Constance (in the same chapter) as they face a time and place that is foreign to each of them. Constance’s awe or fear is clear, at the same time Etta’s amazement or anger rises up. Experiencing life in 1869 for a girl the same age, Etta sees for herself the severe restrictions Constance must live under. Constance in turn sees how a 17 yr old girl in 2019 lives, speaks and behaves – strong-minded, clever and accomplished. Both give the other courage and respect, binding them in their fate. Underneath this ingenious time-travel tale is the constant malice of a twisted curse that has all but taken the life of a young boy generations into the future. Fleur Beale has given readers yet another gripping read. The threads of malice, mystery, historical and present day are well written, weaving into a plot-driven, page turning novel for young adults.


This book has everything – a mystery to be solved, time travel, a cruel fiancé, greedy parents, a cursed painting, and a race against time to save a dying boy! It’s a fun read that moves at a breath-taking pace and provides a fascinating glimpse into the realities of life in the 18th century, not the romanticized version movies and tv shows would have you believe. I loved the ending! . . . I recommend this book for teens on up. It’s a great story.


Beale’s imagery is wonderfully rich and when we, as readers, first meet Constance - the apparition - the description of the moment is evocative and so poignant. Beale really is the master of the description as she encourages the reader to really ‘see’ the whole scenario playing out. The straightforward writing just adds to the whole experience. It is a remarkable feat to get such definition in the characters, and such a cohesive narrative arc, while maintaining a level that is easily accessible to teenagers. The science fiction-y style of time travel between the world of Constance in the 1800s and Etta in the modern era really piqued my interest. That era has become increasingly popular with New Zealand writers, but none quite give the real immersive experience as Fleur Beale achieves in this one. . . . From the descriptions of the situations that the characters are thrust into, to the cadence of the language that each of the girls speak, this novel is really a masterclass on quality writing with a science fiction bend but a heart for connection across the ages. However, above all, the tight composition of the third person limited perspective offers unique insights into the minds of these two strong female protagonists, accentuating their thoughts and emotions with clarity and development. Overall, the writing is among some of Beale’s finest and demonstrates that she has so much to offer to the literary canon of New Zealand writing. Truly a plot driven page turner that will keep young people coming back for more.

Chris Reed, NZ Booklovers

I am so glad to have read another Fleur Beale novel for intermediate readers and above. It is a time slip novel contrasting Victorian values about women and girls and today’s specimens. It makes for humour and drama that will keep the most discerning of readers in the book. . . . it is compelling reading especially the last 50 pages. How is an improbable situation going to feel credible? But it does, such is the skill of Fleur Beale’s writing.

Bob's Book Blog

Faraway Girl is another one of Fleur Beale’s wonderful novels. It follows Etta and Constance as they jump back and forth through time, trying desperately to save Etta’s brother and find a way to return back to their own times. . . . Right from the start of this novel I was hooked, immediately put on edge and wondering what was going to happen to Etta and her half brother Jamie. By the third page I didn’t want to put the book down, I was already so intrigued! I wanted to know what was going to happen next and I think this is something every good author should be able to do for their readers. Beale does this wonderfully and I really admire her ability to hook readers within the first few pages. . . . I think the book was really well written and I love the way that Beale is able to show the difference in times, as well as the behaviour expected, through the interactions of both Etta and Constance. . . . Overall, I think that this is an amazing book, although it was probably targeted at a market slightly younger than me. I still enjoyed it though and I think that anyone would like this story, especially those who enjoy suspense, a good mystery and, of course, some girl power!

Ashika Hira, aged 16, Hooked on Books

What makes this book work is the care given to the contrast between the different worlds the girls live in; between Etta’s live of freedom, both figuratively and literally (let’s not mention corsets) and the constraints Constance lives with, that are forcing her into marriage with a truly despicable individual. . . . I think that it would intrigue and entertain the young adult readers it is aimed at.


Fleur Beale, who knows teenagers inside out, is equally at home in historical dress as contemporary. In this cleverly plotted timeslip tale, which echoes many of the feminist issues of Anatomy [by Dana Schwartz], it is friendship rather than romance that drives the plot. . . . Beale remains in control of an expanded cast of characters and the mystery that ultimately links them. Some will fi nd Etta’s strong language challenging, but it’s certainly authentic.

Ann Packer, NZ Listener

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Real readers review: Faraway Girl

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