"This book is an unforgettable tale that has you guessing until the last page, a must read for teens everywhere."- Bayside Bulletin, October 2006.

Faking Sweet


Best friends – betrayal – and bitchiness!

Holly's new at St Clementine's Girls' in Sydney but she already knows who to watch out for! Jess Flynn, the most popular girl in year nine. She's beautiful and the leader of the 'it' group. But Jess has a secret and Holly knows it! 

Holly's best friend back in Melbourne, Calypso, told Holly the truth about Jess. Jess Flynn is a liar, a shoplifter and a boyfriend stealer. Calypso should know 'cause once she was best friends with Jess! But that was before Jess betrayed her. 

Now Calypso wants revenge and Holly's only too happy to oblige. How else is she going to get through a whole term in Sydney away from her bestie, Calypso. 

But Holly finds reaping revenge on Jess is not so simple. For starters, Calypso's carefully calculated revenge plan is not that easy to follow and even worse is that Jess seems so sweet. 

The more Holly gets to know Jess Flynn, the more Jess doesn't fit the terrible picture Calypso has painted of her. 

The question in Faking Sweet is 'who's manipulating who?'


"JC Burke has has managed to deal with Holly’s insecurities.... without making her character weak. The honest accounts of teen bitchiness makes for a humorous read." - Reading Time, Vol 50, No 4.

"The author has captured perfectly the dialogue of adolescent girls... the plot is engaging and often funny with ironic parallels between Shakespeare’s play Much ado About Nothing and the girls’ lives." - Magpies Magazine, Volume 21.

"A great read about honesty, friendship and being true to yourself." - Pages and Pages Book of the Month, September 2006.

The Process

Faking Sweet was soooo much fun to write. I've never written a comedy before and this one turned out to be a 'black comedy,' coz those girls got so evil! 

The story is about what we choose to believe. How do we know that what people tell us about a person is true? Do we believe everything we're told even though our instincts tell us something different? At what point do we decide to follow our instincts and not be lead?
This is something that happens in life all the time. Especially in girls' schools where rumours can fly! 

When I was plotting and planning 'Faking Sweet' I kept thinking this is a universal story. I've read it before as a cautionary tale, seen it before it in films. So I decided to find a parallel story that could run in conjunction with 'Faking Sweet'.  Of course I found it in one of Shakespeare's plays – Much Ado About Nothing. The great thing about incorporating the play into my story was that it made Shakespeare's words tangible and accessible to me (probably for the first time too!) I finally understood the contemporary nature of his plays and as I did, so did the character of Holly – for this is how she learns about herself.

Hopefully I have passed on my discovery and appreciation of Shakespeare to those who read the story of 'Faking Sweet'. 

I don't want to say too much more or I'll risk ruining it and giving too much away! Have fun with 'Faking Sweet' – I did.

Song/s I played