An open letter to Victoria Aveyard.
Dear Victoria Aveyard,
Hello, my name is Calel, as you can tell from my account, and I am here to complain to you personally. When I first went to Barnes and Noble about three months ago, I thought I was going to emerge from that fine establishment with a cute Harry Potter picture book to read to my little cousins.
What I actually came out with was ‘Red Queen’. The one book I had heard about from my friends, the one book I read the back of and was immediately engrossed in. I read the first few chapters, going 'this is pretty good, I see why my friends like it’.
Skip two weeks later, about mid-August, school is barely starting. I am reading 'Red Queen’ as much as I can. I have fallen in love with Maven, he is just so perfect in my head, he is gorgeous. Cal reminds me of myself, the name and also the 'older sibling must be perfect’ pressure. Mare confuses me, she is the one character that I sit and talk about with my best friend for six hours, trying to figure her out.
As soon as I finish the book, I am in tears in the back seat of my ma’s car. It hurts like a broken heart, because I am heartbroken. I feel betrayed, backstabbed, by the only thing I trusted. This wasn’t how it was to end. No, this book was to be about segregation and racism that I could count on to be the testament to my feelings towards the world.
Red Queen was supposed to be a cute little adventure book that didn’t take place on Earth or anywhere near my time period. It was supposed to be this wonderful book that I could reread a thousand times and find new things every time. But this book is so much more. Red Queen shattered my expectations, took the bar and flew to Pluto with it.
Queue griping with my best friend about it, and all I know is that she’s in the middle of Glass Sword, ten minutes later, we’ve swapped books, Glass Sword for Six of Crows. My ma was expected to pick me up from her house in a half an hour, so I barely scratched the surface of the book. I read to about chapter two in the next few days, as I am now a high school student in the only STEM school in the state.
I am assigned a book report due at the end of October and I reasoned with myself saying, hey, you can read another heartbreaking story for a grade! And that was exactly what I did.
Roughly two hours ago, I had 73 pages to go before I could start on the report; an hour ago, I was in the exact same spot as last time, crying in the back of my ma’s car, screaming for the next book. The neighbors are starting to stare at the blonde girl in the back of an Honda Accord, who is literally screaming at the top of her lungs “you f*cking idiot!”
I fell in love with the characters again, I hate Maven even more than I hate math homework. Shade is my brother, he is what I want in a brother. Cal is basically my crush, I love him so much, I can barely function without thinking about him. I see Mare as myself, we are one, I feel her pain, I know it well. I want to go into this universe and exist.
Miss Aveyard, you are now going, “wow, what a complete weirdo, she recapped the last 3 months to tell me this”. Not at all, I’m saying I literally want to jump into this book and make everything better. Why did you write this so well? How can you make me cry when only the worst things make me cry.
You have a gift, one that many want, but only few can master. Victoria, I love you so much for giving me this world to love, to visualize and try (fail) to paint. I want to to say thank you, even if you have gotten this far into my jumble of words.
You’re my favorite,
Calel Laathi (enter last name)