Student Spotlight: Allison Worth


Sarah Hima

Typing a chapter in "From the Ashes," sophomore Allison Worth adds to her upcoming novel.

After years of wanting to write her own book, but struggling to find a plot, 15-year-old sophomore Allison Worth began writing a dystopian young adult novel.

“It incorporates a lot of diversity, which is something that I feel most books for young adults do not have enough of,” Worth said.

Worth believes young adult novels are gaining popularity in society today. Her goal was to steer away from plots that are commonly used and make her book’s plot unique.

“The majority feature all-white main characters in a love triangle, two stereotypes I am trying to stay away from while writing my book,” Worth said. “Of the three characters in my book, the girl is Hispanic, one of the boys is half Japanese, half white and the other boy is African American. I’m also trying to include diversity with sexual orientation because all main characters tend to be straight; so one of them is straight, one’s gay and one is bisexual. There is not really any young books that actually have that kind of diversity in them right now.”

Worth gets her inspiration from everything around her. She is inspired by what happens in society economically and socially.

“A key part of my novel is that there is no middle class in the society, something that has become very evident in the real world in recent years,” Worth said. “And the civil rights movements still occurring today inspired me to incorporate diversity into the novel.”

In about a year, Worth hopes to have the first draft of the novel completed. She believes the book will be a few hundred pages and she writes about a page a day to pace herself.

“It takes a long time to write a book because once you have the beginning, middle and end figured out, you have to fill in the spaces in between with more minor events. After you have those events, you have to write them in with detail and add dialogue, which combined takes an extremely long time,” Worth said.

Worth has not contacted any publishers since she is still in the early stages of writing.

“I did get into the Spark! program for next year,” Worth said. “I think that will help me because one of an author’s most valuable tools is time, and spending time at the Spark office will give me the time I need to work.”

Jennifer Spotanski, Worth’s counselor, agrees with Worth’s opinion on her enrollment in the program.

“I know she is going to be participating in our Spark! program next year,” Spotanski said.  “And as part of the program, which is very individualized, she is going to be writing a novel.”

Worth has discussed with Spotanski her aspirations to get her novel published.

“I’ve only talked to her a little bit about bits and pieces of the book,” Spotanski said. “It sounds like there is going to be three main characters from what I remember her saying and they all have their own little stories. But it sounds like it’s going to be really interesting I can’t wait to read it.”

Casey Holland, Worth’s English teacher, encourages her to do her best when writing, and pushes her to improve on her skills.

“I always expect her to improve on her writing through her writing conferences with me through practice, and practice a lot,” Holland said. “She really does a good job when she struggles, of asking me questions of what she can improve on and she loves trying new things so I know she is a good writer.”

Worth uses her writing to share her views on society.

“Allison is a very, very creative writer,” Holland said. “She is always very curious about things that are happening in the world and things that are happening in the news and media. She really looks to express herself in the views of what’s going on through her own writing.”

The plot of Worth’s novel starts in a future society and is written in the view of three characters.

“The novel takes place in the future, in a place called The City, where there are only the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor.” Worth said. “The three main characters are two best friends from The Ruins, where the impoverished majority live, and a boy from the upper class whose father rules The City. However, his father’s rule is corrupt and, being next in line to rule, he goes undercover down into the city to find out what he can do to make it better once he comes into power. He befriends the other two, and after spending time in The Ruins he realizes that their society is beyond repair and instead tries to find a way out.”

Worth wants to write a novel for teens that is different than other books.

“I think that my book will be unique in a few aspects,” Worth said. “One is that it’s a book written by a teen for teens. I always look at the complaints and compliments readers have about novels and I’m trying to keep them all in mind as I write. Another aspect that is unique is kind of a branch off of that; one major complaint that I always see is lack of diversity, whether that refers to race, sexual orientation or gender, so I’m trying to include diversity in the book. I always thought that it was strange that books for teens didn’t have diversity, because teens are the people who will run the world next, and we obviously live in a very diverse world that needs to be accurately represented in our literature.”