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Patrick Henry freshman relaxes... by writing a novel

Olivia Silva After a tiring day at school, there’s nothing freshman Olivia Silva enjoys more than sitting down, turning on some Green Day, and writing a novel. Resistance, a 225-page story Olivia began writing in middle school, is on its way to becoming her first published book.

From the beginning of her second semester of sixth grade, Olivia began writing her story as an outlet from the day’s troubles.

“Resistance describes a post-nuclear war America that was taken over by Talists, an oppressive political party that most citizens hadn’t even heard of until it was too late,” Olivia said. “The bulk of the book tells the story of the struggle between the new government and a rebellious group of people, known as the Resistance. However, much of the conflict doesn’t necessarily belong to a single character and the government is not the only thing they are rebelling against.”

The Talists, the main antagonists of the story, budded out of Olivia’s earliest reflections upon her new-found understanding of politics. As the editing process continues and the reviews from peers and teachers drive her to improve her colossal work, her current viewpoints on the characters’ struggles become more apparent.

“Some of the themes in Resistance reflect what I thought in sixth grade and others reflect what I believe now,” she said. The content of her book, with a deep, controversial conflict and descriptions more richly worded than many authors three times her age could write, Olivia’s talent and intelligence are evident in the pages of the story she worked so hard to create.

“There are also moral and religious aspects in the story, and at the time, I was trying to figure out what I believed. By the time I finished and revised it, I wasn’t so confused anymore,” she said.

In order to finally reach the sweet point of publication, Olivia must deal with flaky editors and unimpressed publishers. Even with half a dozen rejected query letters behind her, she remains hopeful that her first few chapters of work will shine through to someone.

“Even though the first couple publishers I’ve sent Resistance to have not accepted it, I still have that desire to be heard and I’ll submit it to however many I have to in order to get it published,” she said. While she may never really know how an after-school idea in her head became an enormous superstory, Olivia is sure she wants the world to read it.

“I feel as though I have something important to say, only I can’t speak it. I’m kind of quiet and shy, but through writing, I don’t have to speak and I feel a lot more confident,” she said.

Writing has always been natural for Olivia, who has been drawn to the written word since she first learned to write. One of her first stories, “Butter,” told the woesome tale of a time she mistook butter for cheese and ate it plain.

“It didn’t really have a happy ending,” she recalled. Since “Butter,” Olivia has been escaping to song lyrics, short stories, poems, and even novels as a way to create a world to get away from the one she’s in.

There’s no gimmick behind Resistance, no reason to say, “this is good…for a sixth grader.” Through finding and revealing her stances on the controversial conflicts of the characters, Olivia says, “subconsciously, I wrote Resistance to discover who I was.” With teenage writing publication TeenInk featuring her works online and English teachers marveling at their new miracle student after she writes her first essay, there’s no question that Olivia Silva’s writing will end up published, the only question is when.

Execerpt from poem, “This is What it’s Like,” featured as an editor’s pick on TeenInk

“Buildings tower over my small figure, distorted and gray and like splotches of black ink on a parchment letter. The tarred road is cracked and torn, reeking of sweat, blood, and petroleum. I lift my head to the sky to catch the rain that is sure to fall, but it seems as though the clouds have deceived me.”

-- Brianna Pinto
Patriot Press
Patrick Henry High