A Reader’s Opinion of Ari: Sylph Valley by Juliana Hayes June 12, 2012Posted by #4 in Everything but the kitchen sink, I read books.
Tags: Adolescence, Author, Avatar the Last Airbender, book review, fiction, Juliana, Juliana Hayes, Literature, Twilight, Writing
Okay, I’m officially jealous.
I am 49 years old, have been writing since 1991, have never been published (unless you count poetry anthologies, magazine articles and this blog), can heat my house through the winter with rejection form letters not to mention that all my hair rejected me like I was an unwanted organ and I have just read a really cool book by a teenager.
A published book.
A real, hardcover with a dust jacket with a picture of the author book.
And I know the author. She’s 16 or 17 or who really cares! She’s published a book. I bought it from the BN.com website. I’m gonna have to get her to autograph it for me.
I had kind of heard through the grape vine that Juliana was writing a book but it never really registered on my brain because I have talked to many people who say they are writing a book, myself included, and I have never seen them published, so I just kind of forgot about it. Until I saw her carrying her book. Then it became real. So I just had to buy a copy and read it.
Ari: Sylph Valley is what I would call a teen fantasy novel and it is surprisingly short at only 80 pages. The story is about a teen girl named Ari who is taken from her school by 3 mysterious teens with magical powers. The whole novel is written in first person so you are experiencing Ari’s thoughts and emotions and reactions first hand. And I have to say I’m surprised at how well written it is, after all, I have teenagers of my own so I naturally have assumed that most teenagers can’t write. Juliana Hayes proved me wrong.
There are several elements to the story that sound familiar to me because I have been subjected to endless hours of the animated series Avatar: the Last Air Bender and have had to sit through all the Twilight movies with my wife, but there the similarities end. Juliana has managed to take these influences and create an original story that obviously will become a series of adventures with the four main characters.
I usually don’t like to give away the plot when I’m reviewing a book and I purposely withhold other information because I believe it does the author a disservice when a book review can sum up the whole book in a few paragraphs while giving away the ending at the same time. I hate those kind of reviews, just like I hate watching movies with people who can’t shut up about what is going to happen next. So if you want to know more you will just have to buy the book. Just click on the picture of the cover and it will take you to where you can get a copy.
Ari: Sylph Valley is not, in my opinion, a book for adults. It quite obviously is written from a teenagers perspective with teenage readers in mind and with language that teenagers will understand; specifically teenage girls will love the book as there are moments of blossoming romance that only a young woman will be moved by – not gray haired old men with grand-kids. I enjoyed the book simply because I know the author and was honored to get a copy and read it, knowing full well my taste in novels leans in the techno-political-espionage-murder mystery direction. I like novels that could be taken from the front page of our newspapers, er… websites (who reads actual newspapers anymore?).
Juliana Hayes is a remarkable young woman to have accomplished her first novel and Ari: Sylph Valley promises many more to come – and I have to say: at her age, to have written a book this good on her first try tells us that the literary skills of Miss Hayes will become very sharp and very accomplished within just a few books. I dare say, also, it shouldn’t be too much longer and I will be able say I know personally an author who is on the NY Times bestseller list.
Congrats Juliana on your book. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.