A brilliant desi teen novelist, Ayesha Faruki’s Whisper is creating some notable ripples! The first in The Cities of the Lost book series, Whisper was published last year in August. The plot centers around six friends at camp who chance upon a fascinating, secret, hidden world. The protagonist is eleven-year-old Zarina, who lives a fairly average, and “normal” life. Zarina and her brave, intrepid middle school friends are now tasked with a new reality that further complicates their already complex teen existence. They need to survive successfully between two polarizing worlds. One where the “Gifteds” and “Nons” are vanishing to, thanks to dark forces, and the other is where the “Averages” are left behind to solve the mystery, fight the dark forces, and bring them back.
Whisper is dark, ominous, mysterious, dramatic, filled with twists, and turns. Whisper has it all! The novel has something riveting for every avid fantasy reader. It has a Harry Potter element to it, a smack of The Olympians, and a side that’s reminiscent of The Game of Thrones. And yet this concoction has its own flavor, making it a rather light read, and an original in its own right.
Not to mention the implicit sub-plot of what happens when societies are polarized. A reminder that “the common folk” can then work wonders. And labels are just labels at the end of the day. They can’t and shouldn’t define anyone’s existence. The theme is somewhat consistent with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, among others. The latter was yet another teen publisher, and unsurprisingly, remains an inspiration to Faruki for obvious reasons.
Whisper is vivid, which isn’t a coincidence. The story plot is inspired by Faruki’s personal experience while at camp as a sixth-grader. Shortly after which she started penning down Whisper. The pandemic’s fluidity afforded the author ample time to immerse herself completely into her manuscript, not only writing it but also editing and illustrating it herself. Faruki not only “found” her idea while at camp, but also wove in snatches of some dreams she had while there. Making the novel a page-turning recount of something that’s fantastic, yet so convincingly narrated as a plausible reality.
While the publishing of Whisper is undoubtedly a huge feat for Faruki, this high-achieving, prolific young writer doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. She’s currently working on the second of the five-book The Cities of the Lost series, called Passage. The thirteen-year-old author plans to roll them all out by the time she’s done with high school. During the pandemic, Farouki also managed to crank out The Legends of Atruviia, which is independent of The Cities of the Lost series. She hopes to publish it relatively soon as well.
A whisper is something so quiet
that you can barely hear it,
and you can sometimes miss it.
But you have to hear it,
for it usually carries an important message…
Last year, Faruki secured 3rd place in the Ohio Power of the Pen writing league competition at the state level and plans to participate this year too as an 8th grader. When not writing, Faruki is an avid coder, illustrator, and loves to geek out over math problems. Stay vigilant and “listen out” for the unstoppable Ayesha Faruki closely, as she whips up new secrets waiting to be revealed, and dark mysteries to be unraveled. Wishing Ayesha the very best in her endeavors!
Nidhi Kirpal Jayadevan‘s pre-kids’ life was dedicated to the complex field of Communication Sciences. After choosing to be a full-time mother, reading and playing with her high-energy boys has been a fascinating journey. It has (re)kindled in her a sense of wonder in all things small. She constantly sees the world through little eyes, applying simple learning to deepen life’s meaning for herself and her family.