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Reaching For The Stars: Friendship is the first book in the Candy Series series. It was realeased on March 2014.
- Joni (debut)
- Mia (debut)
- Emilia (debut)
- Sofia (debut)
- Zara (debut)
- Qistina (debut)
- Miyuki (debut)
- Mikael (debut)
Best friends Joni and Mia are assigned to team up with their aloof classmate Emilia for a school singing contest. But during their very first practice, Emilia gets annoyed by Joni's terrible singing and storms off! Between Joni's tone-deafness, Mia's shyness, and Emilia's stubbornness, will the girls learn to get along and win the singing competition?
It was the first day of school! Joni met her best friend, Mia, whom she befriended since kindergarten in the school. As they entered the class to pick their seats, Mia accidentally bumped into Emilia, who was one of the four princesses in the school alongside Sofia, Zara and Qistina. Sofia scolded Mia for bumping into them. This infuriates Joni and she scolded back at them. When the bell rings, Miss Miyuki, Class 5A's class teacher announced the school will be organising a singing competition! The best two groups will represent the class to participate in the singing competition held after a month. Joni and Mia were assigned to the same group but to their surprise, the aloof Emilia was also assigned to their group! After school dismissed, Mia invited Emilia to practice singing with them and she agreed as she was very free. As they were practicing singing, Emilia noticed that Mia's voice was very beautiful and powerful, but Joni's voice was very terrible! This made Emilia to sing louder to cover up Joni's voice but Joni sang even louder. Emilia got angry and they started to fight while Mia told them to stop.
The Boy In The Tree
Emilia scolded Joni for her terrible singing. Suddenly, they heard someone laughing from a tree. They noticed that there was a boy sitting on the tree, teasing how bad their singing was. Joni became angry by his teasing and before she was about to hit him, he jumped down from the tree and disappeared. Mia suggested to practice again but Emilia refused. She said that Joni's tone-deafness was so terrible that they will definitely lose no matter how hard they practiced. On the next morning, Mia noticed that Joni's voice was very hoarse but Joni reassured her that it was nothing. When school dismissed, Mia asked Emilia to practice singing again but once again, she refused. Mia then took Emilia to the place where they practiced yesterday. They hid behind the bushes and saw Joni working very hard to improve her singing and vocals. Emilia becomes fed up with Joni's terrible vocals and scolded her again. Joni knows that she was not talented in singing but she really wanted to participate in the singing competition. She promises Emilia to practice hard to meet her standards. Emilia agreed to help her and she warned Joni that she will be very strict. Suddenly, they heard somebody laughing at the back. It was Sofia and her friends who were laughing at them. Sofia said that they will not befriend the poor people and now Emilia befriended Joni and Mia, Sofia does not want to be friends with her again. Joni becomes angry and she challenges them to sing the same song on the day of the audition. After Sofia, Zara and Qistina left, Emilia smacked Joni on her head, taunting her that how could she challenge them without learning the basics of singing. Joni replied that she scolds Sofia for talking bad about Emilia, just because she was friends with Joni and Mia. Emilia then thought to herself that having friends was good.
Joni practiced her vocals in Mia's house. After Joni practiced for a few times, Emilia scolded her about why she still haven't improved a bit after practicing for so long. Mia thought to herself that although Emilia and Joni are consistently bickering, she can feel that the atmosphere between the two was starting to ease. Mia made three mascots for herself, Emilia and Joni and she decided to name their group "Candy JEM". On the next day, they practiced singing again in the school compound. When Joni was singing, they heard someone laughing again. It was the boy whom they encountered that day. Emilia asked whether he was a student of the school. He mentioned that his name is Mikael and he noticed that when they are singing, a lot of places are off-key, especially Joni. Joni attempts to hit him and he said that if they want to improve their singing, they can meet him at the music room next Monday. On the day of the audition, the performance of Candy JEM was very good but Sofia's group, The Red Roses was even better than them. Sofia said that they have a famous professional teacher to teach them how to sing. Sofia then taunts Joni that Candy JEM will definitely lose in the singing competition.
During lunchtime, Joni comforted Emilia and Mia about how they managed to be chosen to participate in the singing competition. Emilia said that the talent of Sofia's group is far more better than theirs and they won't beat them in the singing competition. They started to argue and Mia tried to calm them down. Joni then said that although she does not know how to sing, she really liked to sing. She also said that she does not want to give up on singing no matter what. Emilia agreed with her and they decided to go to the music room. When they arrived at the music room, nobody was inside there. Joni thought that since Mikael liked to sit on the tree, then he will be hiding on the ceiling or somewhere else. She then realised that Mikael was just standing behind them. Emilia asked Mikael to teach them how to sing but he wanted to make a deal with them. They accepted the deal and they started to practice.
When they were practicing, Mikael asked Joni to try again but she still sang badly. Mikael then decided to conduct extra practices for her. On the next day, Joni complained to Mia and Emilia about how strict Mikael was when the two were practicing yesterday. On the other hand, Sofia and her friends were observing Candy JEM. Zara is confused about how Candy JEM can look so energetic even though they were no match for them. During the practicing session, Mikael asked Candy JEM to run around the music room for an hour in order to increase their stamina while singing. When Sofia and her friends were standing outside the music room, they are shocked to see how Candy JEM improved in their skills of singing.
After Candy JEM practiced their vocals for a week, Mikael praised them for having such improvement after practicing for a week, especially Joni, who had the most improvements. Mia then thought to herself that Joni and Mikael were getting closer to each other as Mikael always helped Joni to improve her singing, but she was too shy and introverted that she haven't spoke a few words to him. When Mikael praised Mia, she was shown to be blushing happily but when it comes to Joni, Mikael teased her and they started to bicker. On the next day's practice, Mikael was not satisfied by Candy JEM's performance and he reprimanded them. When Mikael was reprimanding Mia, Joni defended her and Mikael's attitude softened. He then explained to her to learn more from Joni. Mia then got angry and she said that she was no match for Joni and even though Joni can do it, she definitely cannot do it. Mia then ran out of the room sadly while Joni wanted to chase her back. Emilia stopped her because the person Mia needed now was not her.
Mikael found Mia crying in the bushes and he comforted her that she has the best vocals among the three, but she does not have enough confidence. He then told her his story that when he was little, he was very talented in singing and everyone held high regards towards him. But he failed in a singing competition, just because he panicked and wanted to complete the song, thus he forgot to have eye contact with the audience. Mia asked him how to overcome her problem. Mikael suggested two ways for her. The first way was looking at the space between the eyebrows of the person if she was afraid to have direct eye contact while the second way was she can imagine the audience as vegetables in order for her to perform naturally on stage. Mikael then reminded her that when performing, her smile was the sharpest weapon. After Mikael and Mia returned back for practice, Joni cried while hugging Mia because she thought that Mia hated her. They then continued practicing.
When the two weeks before the singing competition arrive, Mikael conducted a lot of strict training and challenges on Candy JEM and he praised them for finally able to perform efficiently on stage and his work here was done. Joni then asked if Mikael was going to leave them and he said that he taught them all the things he knew and they have to practice by themselves. Emilia then asked him how to win in the competition and he replied that maybe there was no key to achieve victory on this world. Mia then asked whether was he a graduate from the school and what troubles him. He then wished them good luck before leaving.
When Candy JEM returned for class, Joni wondered to herself about what troubles Mikael. Emilia shouted in her ear and this surprised her. Joni asked what was going on and Mia said that they are discussing about what they should wear on the day of the competition and they need Joni's opinions. Joni was awed by the costume designs of Mia and she wanted to help them with the making of the costumes. Emilia forbade her because she might ruin the entire costumes. After school dismissed, Mia and Emilia went to buy the materials needed for the costumes while Joni walked back home alone. When she was thinking about Mikael, she heard someone crying. She then saw Sofia crying because Zara and Qistina hated her and they do not want her to sing with them. She asked whether Joni will get angry for what she did to her and Joni suggested to be friends with her. Sofia then gave Joni the lunch she made and Joni accepted.
On the next day, Mia greeted Joni but she ignored her. Emilia thought maybe Joni was still angry with them for not letting her to help with the costume making. When Joni went to the school compound, she shouted out for Mikael with a hoarse voice. Mikael jumped down from the tree and asked why her voice was so hoarse. He then asked whether she ate something fried or spicy. She said that she ate a lot of fried and spicy food and he asked her angrily why she ate so much of these food. She said because it was a treat from Sofia and after she went back home, she drank a lot of cold drinks. Mikael then wanted her to not say a single word until the day of the singing competition and he wanted her to trust him.
After school dismissed, Mia and Emilia noticed a gloomy Joni sitting at her place while facing the window. Mia invited Joni to try out the costumes at her house but Joni grabbed her bag and rushed out of the class. Joni then sat on the tree with Mikael and he asked her why she does not want to tell them the truth. She replied that they are now busying making the costumes and preparing for the competition and they might not stand it if they were worried about her. Mikael then teased her for looking much like a girl at that moment and this made Joni angry again. Mikael stopped her from yelling as her voice haven't recovered. He gave her a drink that can protect her vocal chords. Joni wished to recover quickly so she could practice singing with Mia and Emilia. She did not notice that they were observing her under the tree. Emilia attempted to ask Joni to help them but Mia stopped her because Joni chose Mikael to help her. Emilia agreed with her because they still had a little more to complete the costumes and it was not the time to worry about others.
On the day of the singing competition, Joni was waiting at the backstage alone. Mikael suddenly showed up and Joni voiced her worries to him. She saw Sofia and her friends laughing at her and she got angry. She then mentioned to Mikael that she must overcome anxiety to win the competition. As Candy JEM were at the backstage, Mia asked Joni whether she liked Mikael and she said that he taught them a lot of things and she was very grateful towards him. Joni then asked whether Mia liked Mikael and she admitted that she liked him but now she wanted to sing for their friendship. When their group name was called out, they headed to the stage to perform.
Shining Super Stars
When Candy JEM were performing on stage, the audience was awed by Mia's voice. As it was almost Joni's turn to sing, Emilia sang with her and their singing was so wonderful that everyone were enchanted by their performance. After the song ended, the audience cheered loudly for them. Sofia saw their victory and she wanted her group to have a 100% perfect performance but The Red Roses ended up with Sofia scolding Zara and Qistina and they both cried on the stage. The champion of the singing competition goes to Candy JEM and they were so happy! As Joni shared their victory with Mikael, he decided to go to study music in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. He gave Joni his star locket and Joni tearfully hugged him. Emilia decided to go out for a feast to celebrate their victory. When Joni caught up with them, she said that she managed to get Mikael's e-mail address and Emilia started to sulk because she thought Joni and Mia were ignoring her. Mia and Joni hugged her from her back and said that Candy JEM will not be complete without her.