Tag Archives: Young adult

17-year- old Male Releases First Young Adult Novel


Macon, GA (November 2, 2014) – Seventeen-year-old Randall Barnes has released his first young adult novel titled, “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson”, and the young author already has a hungry audience waiting to be inspired.   9780988762190

The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson is about a 13-year-old girl who has great plans to become a successful business woman. However, she resides in the most dangerous city in America where success is not a common theme. The teen lives a privileged life, but still has to endure the pain of her parent’s divorce and that adds to her struggles.  Nevertheless, Aaliyah is committed to keep her head above the water and not succumb to the pressures of her peers.

Already, The Diary of Aaliyah has garnered over 40,000 reads on Wattpad.com and universal acclaim. The book is also creating a positive impact among young adults, even those who are Aaliyah’s total opposite. One Wattpad reader said, “I clicked on the book because Aaliyah was described like me! Not the usual stripper or whatever.” Another reader commented, “I like this book. Man, I wish more girls could have common sense and class like Aaliyah.”

The Diary of Aaliyah is Barnes’ response to the negative media attention his generation gets on a daily basis.  The young author said, “We’re always seen as violent, misguided, sex crazed savages. Since we really don’t have an outlet to let off our frustrations outside of social media, we tend to accept and even conform to these images. The perpetuation of these stereotypes can even be deadly.” He added, “I got the inspiration to write the novel after the news about Trayvon Martin hit the national radar back in 2012. I had to do my part as a writer and a journalist to show the world that my generation isn’t what the media portrays us as.”

The Diary of Aaliyah is available in paperback and as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.com for $14.96.

About The Author:

Randall Barnes is a seventeen year old author, internet radio personality, public speaker and mentor who currently resides in Macon, GA. The youth is already renowned for his positive, realistic, moral driven writings. He writes for the popular news website Urban Intellectuals, the relationship blog Courting Her and the literary blog Straight, No Chaser. Apart from his writing skills, he is a dynamic public speaker and won first place in the FBLA Region 5 Public Speaking Competition in January of 2013. Randall also was the first student in history to represent Hutchings College & Career Academy in the Rotary Club Speech Contest.            


What Do You Expect Our Children To Do With The Worst Educational Systems In The Country?

“The mere imparting of information is not education.”

-Cater G. Woodson

The public school system sucks! Trust me, I’m a witness! Ever since first grade, I’ve been going to some type of public school. I’m currently a junior in high school experiencing the absolute worst year of my school career. Outside of seeing my friends and associates, spreading the word about my articles and gathering material for my novels, school is basically pointless. It’s a cold, honest truth that deserves to get mainstream attention!

I believe I’m speaking for every young person that attends sub-par public schools. We’re almost set up for failure. From the lackadaisical teachers to the over-the-top drama perpetuated by many of the students, public schools are like nightmares to BMB’s (Business Minded Brothers) and SRT’s (Sisters Running Things). Or, it can be a minor thorn in your side until the year of graduation. No matter how great of a student you are, we all go through trials and tribulations on this academic plantation!

In my first novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson, Aaliyah’s school life is one of the major storylines. Many fans of the novel on Wattpad and at my school cite the fact that Aaliyah’s struggle at Clarkson Middle School is relatable. So, using my future best-selling literary classic, let’s break down the two main problems stemming from public schools around the nation.


1)   Public Schools Are Usually Violent, Negative, Hopeless Environments

 “I go to Clarkson Middle School, the hoe capital of Willowsfield. Seriously, half of the girls in my 8th grade class are baby mamas and future prostitutes. For example, my former bestie, Jennifer Watson got caught ‘giving head’ to three different guys in the boy’s restroom during lunch last year. How stupid can you be to do something like that during school knowing you’re gonna get caught?

Clarkson isn’t only the ‘hoe’ capital of Willowsfield, it’s also drama central too. We fight and argue over the stupidest stuff ever. Gangs, rumors, clothes, boys, girls, sports, money, drugs, lockers, even schoolwork!! Yeah, it’s gonna be really hard to focus on my education in this ratchet environment but hopefully I can pull something off so I can get away from this horrible, ghetto school.”

-Aaliyah Anderson, from the fourthcoming Young Adult novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson

In the story, Willowsfield is statistically the most dangerous city in America. That mindset translates itself over to the school environment. My hometown of Macon is what inspired the creation of Willowsfield. While Macon isn’t nearly as horrible as Willowsfield, it has numerous similarities.

As I continuously read through the novel, I realized that The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson is a sort of allegorical text. Merriam-Webster defines the word allegory as “work of written, oral, or visual expression that uses symbolic figures, objects, and actions to convey truths or generalizations about human conduct or experience.” My novel isn’t only an accurate portrayal of teenage life in America; it’s also a reflection of the journey I had to endure to become a published teen author and journalist.

Aaliyah exists in an environment where success is foreign unless you’re excelling at a sport, selling drugs or hustling to get into the music industry. Aaliyah is incredibly ambitious. She desperately wants to be a big name entrepreneur. She’s even been doing G0116BRAWLcertain things that push her closer to achieving her dreams. However, she endures hate and negativity daily. It’s incredibly disparaging. Later on in the story, she even has a mini breakdown!

Parents, how do you expect your children to succeed in an environment where success isn’t even an option? How do you expect the young people you love and adore to excel in school when it’s basically an academic battle field? Now, I’m not trying to be the bearer of bad news! It is possible for a young person to keep focus on their goals in this proverbial prison. But it is an incredible challenge that requires faith, hard-work, thick skin and proper support from family and friends. Boxing and/or martial arts training wouldn’t hurt either!


2)   Public Schools Are Usually The Home Of Horrible, Careless Teachers

“What’s the deal with old, black teachers? They’re always so nasty, grumpy, mean and rude. Perfect example: Mrs. Conner. Mrs. Conner is my homeroom teacher and I already know we’re gonna have problems. She’s sixty-five years old, skinny, extremely conceited and claimed to have marched with Dr. King during the Civil Rights movement.  I doubt it though. With how she acts, they probably would’ve marched against her. My Momma always tells me to respect my elders, but with this lady it’s hard. To me, no matter how old you are, you have to show respect to get it.”

-Aaliyah Anderson, from the fourthcoming Young Adult novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson

Mrs. Connor, Mrs. Connor! In the urban contemporary allegory that is my novel, the character of Mrs. Connor symbolizes every elderly teacher that I’ve had in my storied school career that treated me literally like dirt for no reason at all. I based Mrs. Connor off of one particular teacher that I had to deal with back in middle school but, out of class and respect, I’m not going to mention her name in this article. I’m pretty sure that when the people from my middle school read The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson they’llmiseducation0 know who the infamous “Mrs. Connor” is based off of.

I urge everyone reading this article to go and check out the preview of The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on my Wattpad profile so you can really grasp the concept of how terrible Miss Connor is. Her and several of the other older teachers (who the students of Clarkson call the “Teacher Mafia”) make Aaliyah’s 8th grade experience a living hell! From the comments from the fans of my story on Wattpad, I’m not the only person that had to deal with several Mrs. Connor’s in my school tenure. As a matter of fact, based off the comments and feedback that I’ve received, that’s one of the most relatable parts of the novel!

I know of many teachers, both young and old, that have the tendencies of a Mrs. Connor. These “teachers” (if we can even call them that) are totally inept. They’re quick tempered, attitudinal and not mentally capable to deal with any children, especially the volatile beings that are teenagers. As instructors, they fail in every way imaginable. Like what elder and educator Carter G. Woodson said in the quote at the beginning of the article, there’s a difference between giving non-stop information and actually getting your hands dirty and teaching your students. Many of these Mrs. Connor type teachers are totally unaware of this distinct difference. This is why you see many intelligent, talented and capable students fall by the wayside. Our minds aren’t properly challenged by these teaching imposters!

Parents, how do you expect your children to be prepared for state standardized test when you have teachers like Mrs. Connor umar_johnson_book running around? How do you prepare your child to face the mental trauma that a teacher like her  would bring? Parents and guardians, it’s your responsibility to be on guard to protect your young  kings and queens from witches like her. One thing you’ll see from reading my novel is that teachers  like Mrs. Connor don’t fare well against students, parents and administrators that are intelligent and  don’t support their messed up ideology.  Just ask Clarkson’s new principal Miss Carter!

That’s all I’m going to say………


Read more about Aaliyah’s struggle to success and check out part one of the Mrs. Connor saga on Wattpad today! The novel is dropping soon!





Do you have any questions or comments for me? Was I right or wrong on this issue? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Twitter: @AuthorRandallB & @TeamYGB25

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Setting Relationship Standards

“Nowadays, I like to keep it classy.  But, even if I was like I was back a couple of years ago, I definitely wouldn’t fight over an ugly, brain-dead, high school dropout. You wouldn’t even catch me with a guy like that. I have places to go with my life and being with someone who doesn’t share my ambition will only hold me back.”

-Aaliyah Anderson, from the forthcoming young adult novel “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson”

As a teenager, one thing I see on a regular is people conforming to the negative influences that surround them. It’s so disheartening. Look at me, a soon to be published author at the age of seventeen! I saw how the odds are stacked against me as a young black male and I decided to go against the grain and chase prosperity by any means necessary.  Is it that hard for young people my age to do the same?

Surprisingly, it is.

deal-breakers-or-unrealistic-expectationsLiving in an urbanized city where hope is foreign unless you rap or play in a national sports league, I can sympathize with the fellow members of my millennial generation. Not only can I understand their struggle (as mine is virtually the same), I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help my people reach the promise land. I’ve started passing knowledge along to my peers in school and they’re happily receiving it. However, they still fall victim to the monstrous pitfalls that even many adults fall trap to. So allow me, with my new position as an UI writer, to give my readers a daily nudge in the right direction to achieving success.

One of my favorite books has to be The 48 Laws of Power. It’s one of the many works of literature that I believe every person who wants to achieve major triumphs in their lives should have in their library. Law ten of the book is one that should be dually noted as we bring up the topic of setting clear, concrete relationship standards. It states:


You can die from someone else’s misery-emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.”

For years, I argued with my people that I considered my friends that hanging around and dating the wrong people would be counterproductive for more reasons than one. While they laughed and mocked me, I made a concerted effort to be the type of positive brother that a young woman’s parents would be enthusiastic to meet. I also schemed on ways to carry myself with an intelligent swagger and still get major respect from the young people I see every day.

It’s safe to say that my attempts worked.

I’ve never been one of those immature guys that equated sexuality to manhood. Because of this, I’ve stood out amongst my peers. While I once shunned it and tried to fit in with the infectious, unlucky brothers that are the epitome of what The 48 Laws of Power said to avoid, I started to embrace it. As I started to accept that I was a BMB (Business Minded Brother), I separated from people counterproductive to my goals. With them off my back opportunities and prosperity seemingly found me!

Unlock the King or Queen that’s inherently inside of you. Do so by integrating these principals into your life:

  • Reevaluate your circle. If your friends or acquaintances aren’t furthering your cause, consider cutting them off.
  • Associate with a large amount of BMBF (Business Minded Black Folks). If they avoid you, maybe you need to take some time out to evaluate yourself! I mean, you attract what you are…….
  • Know who you’re dealing with. If the person you’re in a relationship with (intimate, casual or strictly sexual) isn’t on the up and up don’t suffer in silence. You don’t deserve to be around a negative person like that!
  • Never conform your relationship standards at any time. When I say never I mean never!

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Was I right or wrong on this issue? Do you want to join the focus group for my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson? I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at:

Email: thediaryofaaliyahanderson@gmail.com

Kik: @AuthorRandallB

Ask.Fm: @YoungandGiftedBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randall.barnes.501

Check out a preview of my novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson on Wattpad! It’s dropping soon!


Literary Spotlight: Frontier Incursion by Leonie Roger (Young Adult Fiction)

frontier incursion


About the Book

For Shanna, joining the Scout Corps had been a dream come true. The Scouts were charged with expanding their knowledge of Frontier, a hostile planet their ancestors had crashlanded on 300 years before. As the youngest in her class, Shanna struggles to find acceptance and respect amongst her older peers – a task made more difficult by the fact that she has not just one, but two of the colonists’ huge feline companions, their starcats.

On a routine patrol, she and the other cadets are swept up in the greatest challenge yet to be faced by the settlers of Frontier. Now they find themselves on the very frontline of a war they knew nothing about, and possibly the Federation of Race’s last chance against the hostile Garsal. Suddenly their world has changed, and in ways never dreamed of by Shanna and her fellow scouts.


Book Review

I am not usually a reader of sci-fi/fantasy so I am not the regular ‘target market’ for this book. Nor am I a young adult (thirty-something).. but I must say that I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed this book. In fact, I couldn’t get my nose out of it, devouring it like any of the most enjoyable fiction I’ve read. I think this novel will especially appeal to the reader who loves animals.

The Frontier landscape, flora and fauna is intriguing and the author carefully unravels its mystery throughout the adventure, always avoiding heavy over-description which I have found can plague fantasy novels. The characters are accessible, and empathetic and there is a pragmatism to their interactions that makes them very believable. In fact, the story itself is very believable as it draws you convincingly and thoroughly into the Frontier world.

The pacing of the novel is essentially perfect and from about a third of the way through I found myself sneaking every chance I could get to read it in order to get to the next bit and the next… the author built tension and climax skillfully…. It is just as any good fiction book really should be.

As I said at the beginning, there is a very special empathy for the animal characters in the novel, and because of this I would recommend it to people who love animals, and perhaps wouldn’t normally look to sci-fi/fantasy novels. There are notes of dry humour, sorrow and a truly great adventure in this novel.

As an end note: For any parents considering purchasing this for their young adults to read, this novel sits squarely and safely in the young adult novel category. There is appropriate language and themes at all times (not even any romance – a bit of a relief really), examples of competent men and women equally represented, and the recognition of nobility and good values (without preachy-ness) in this enjoyable adventure story. I would think this would be suitable for competent readers from 12 upwards.

Looking forward to book 2 and more from this author.

Available at Amazon.com