Nightshade Academy

Belladonna, Book 1

#1 Amazon Bestseller

Twenty teenagers are selected for an elite military boarding school, but only five will emerge as guardians—destined for a life of glamour and brutality.

Ebook $7.99
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Mel Torrefranca

Mel Torrefranca is a novelist from the San Francisco Bay Area, now residing in the jungly mountains of Northern Thailand. Her books feature morally gray characters, bold endings, and a pinch of awkward humor. Mel discovered her passion for writing at the age of seven and published her debut novel Leaving Wishville during high school. She also drinks way too many lattes.

Twenty teenagers enter. Only five become guardians.

Yahshi Konya shouldn’t be one of them. With low test scores, his selection for the Empire’s boarding school raises red flags. The guardians are offering him the opportunity of a lifetime, but at what cost?

Taking a chance, he joins the aggressive military program and strikes an alliance with two trainees. Vell, the only girl, and Pinto, the overachiever. United, they tackle relentless challenges, watching their competitors dwindle.

But the Academy is not what it seems. When dangerous truths emerge, Yahshi finds himself killing his friendships—and possibly his humanity.

A gripping tale of power, betrayal, and redemption, Nightshade Academy will leave you walking the tightrope between good and evil.


Lost Island Press



Publication Date

November 11, 2023


Ebook, Paperback, Hardcover

Page Count


Cover Designer

MAD Book Covers


Gonzalo Mansilla


Mel Torrefranca

“The story started out strong and slowly but surely just kept getting better. And the ending is so very promising for what’s to come.” Thibault Busschots

“I don’t even know where to begin. This book was phenomenal, heart-wrenching, and beautiful.” Gabriella Kuhn

“I wish I could rate this book higher than five stars…The plot twist at the end really had me, and I can’t wait for the next book. Mel never disappoints but this was mind-blowing.” Ishana

“Every word in this novel was chosen carefully and with a specific intention and it shows. I was so impressed with the depth of emotion that was expressed with such few words.” Hannah Wernecke

“Where do I even start? This story was incredibly well-crafted. To me, characters are everything, and these characters WERE everything. My sister can attest through the multiple texts I sent her talking about how wholesome the friendship dynamics are.” S.J. Robert

Recommended for Ages 13+

Nightshade Academy contains some mature themes, violence, and/or language.

  • Murder
  • Animal killings and experimentation
  • Fight scenes with descriptions of blood and injuries
  • Violent school bullying
  • Harsh disciplinary actions
  • Force-feeding
  • Self-induced vomiting and self-harm
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • Poison consumption
  • Mild profanity
  • Ritualistic branding of teenagers