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Reviews from a Reader: “Rise”

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Reviews from a Reader: “Rise”

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This month’s book is written by two of Oak Park High School’s very own students: senior Maya Halthore and junior Aneesh Gowri. Their fiction debut, a tribute to childhood, is titled “Rise” and focuses upon a 16-year-old trained killer working for a group known in short as TALON, the Terrorist Annihilation League of Nations.

This girl, Arya Rayne, is tasked with hunting down and gathering a motley group of teens from around the globe, all of whom possess special skills or powers, from controlling technology to changing physical appearance at will. It is up to this combined force to take down a dangerous group, Sphinx Pharmaceuticals, which has deadly plans to bomb prominent and strategic targets within large cities.

The book itself, or at least its origin, is based in reality. The idea for the novel came from a childhood game called “Powers” that the two authors once played together. In this game, the pair would have to work together to save the world from imaginary threats of all kinds.

This game later became something more concrete, with backstories and characters. Though this project only recently came to fruition, Halthore and Gowri have been working on the book for approximately four years. The two students published the book under an independent printing company and have both physical and digital versions of their book for sale.

Yet their accomplishment was not without some difficulties.

“The toughest part of starting something is finishing. It’s difficult to get the motivation to finish because it’s not a requirement,” Halthore said.

The pair later had trouble getting their book picked up. Their search for an agent and a publisher led the two to send many query letters, which resulted in fourteen “No’s” before they heard a “Yes.”

Halthore says that the obstacles faced were worth the final result, that is, being able to publish a book. The authors also offered advice to other students desiring to write: “Just do it. Write down your ideas…  In this day and age, students have the capabilities to achieve anything.”

The novel clearly demonstrates that years of motivation can lead to success. “Rise” is hence a tale of both personal accomplishment and of the challenges of youth from the perspectives of teenagers bound together on an adventure.

“We dared for a couple of kids to save the world,” Halthore said.

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