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3 September 2019
The last book that really excited us
13 September 2019

Turning tropes on their head

“What does the Teen Writing Group do?” is a questions we’re asked often in the Children’s and Teens’ Services Department.

Each meeting does involve some writing, and sharing stories (for those who want to share and receive feedback), and we always have snacks. Beyond that, each meeting changes depending on who’s in charge (or who is leading the group for that day). Our first meeting of each year is led by Children’s and Teens’ Services Manager Celeste Rhoads, and after that, teens sign up to lead a session. At the end of last year, George De Menibus decided that we should all take tropes and play with them. George brought in a collection of tropes (tropes are common, overly used theme (think: cliches), and made each writer take two, then write a story in 20 minutes.


One story that made us all laugh out loud was this piece from Shelley Bakayoko, who was tasked with re-writting the “irritating Mary-Jane trope” as well as that of the “supernatural good-looking guy.”


“Badly-Made Assumptions” by Shelley Bakayoko

A new life, a new school. That’s what my dad had said when he sent me to live with my “fun” aunt in gloomy, boring Plates. That’s the name of the town by the way. What had I done to deserve this? My entire life was ruined. Parents suck.

As I was getting ready to go to Plates High, the only high school in this tiny town, I couldn’t help but think this was going to be the most boring day of my life. I was running down the stairs (because I was late as always, oopsie!) when my aunt popped her head out from the kitchen. The smell of freshly made pancakes wafted to my nose.

“Hi honey! Ready for your big day?” I rolled my eyes. “Whatever,” I muttered, making my way to the door.

“Have a nice day!” she yelled after me, even though I was already outside and getting into her car I was borrowing.

Plates High was about as great as its name; by that I mean the lamest ever. Cliques of teenagers walked to class, laughing, yelling, or last-minute studying for a test they probably forgot they had. I took out my timetable. Math, then science, then math again. Great. I sighed and checked my watch. It read “8:10.” I was late for first period! Gosh darn it. I hadn’t even noticed all the students around me were gone. I rushed to class.

You’d think we were in elementary school by the way the teacher presented me to the other students.

“Please welcome your new classmate; I expect you will all be very kind and welcoming!” She motioned for me to sit in the only available seat in the back next to a shady looking guy dressed all in black with multiple chains around his neck. He seemed to be wearing heavy eyeliner around his eyes.

As the class went by, I noticed he kept fiddling with his pencil as if he was trying to prevent himself from doing something. Hiding my face in my hair, I slowly turned my head to get a better look at him. He was pretty attractive, in a pale, red eyed, “emo” kind of way. Wait a second, red eyed? Surely enough, he did have red eyes. I guess they could have been contacts, but they looked pretty realistic to me.

I knew what this meant. Red eyes? Furtive, blood thirsty looking glances? Pale, immortal looking skin and irresistible looks? He was a vampire!

Just then, the bell rang and I stood up, startled, letting out a strangled scream. The entire class looked up at me, and I quickly gathered my things and sped out to the hallway without looking back.

The whole day, I followed the guy around, and found out his name was Edmund. Who names their kid Edmund? People-with-a-vampire-son is who. At the end of the day, I watched him get into the BMW he probably bought with all his saved up money over the centuries, and drive off. I ran to my aunt’s car and sped after him, keeping a large enough distance between us so he wouldn’t see me.

Ten minutes later, he pulled up in front of a huge mansion. I parked a few blocks away, and ran up to him as he was making his way up the driveway.

“Hey!” I yelled, and he turned around.

“Uh… hey?” he said, looking uncomfortable.

“I know what you are!”

“Uh… okay.”

I marched up to him. “I’ve been following you. I know your secret.”

He slowly backed away. “Yeah, I noticed you’ve been following me, it’s kinda’ creepy actually. Don’t you have any friends?”

I rolled my eyes. “Stop changing the subject!” I screamed. “I know you’re a vampire!”

Now he was taking his phone out of his pocket. “I’m calling the police, you’re crazy…”

“I’m not crazy!” I screamed at him again. He turned around suddenly and ran to the front door as I chased him, and slammed it in my face.

“I’m not crazy! I know what you are!” I slid to the ground, sobbing. “I’m not crazy…”.


The Teen Writing Group has become one of our most popular teen activities at the Library, since it was founded with the help of writer and editor Anne Heltzel in 2013. The club is full for the 2019-2020 season, but writing activities for teens. Check out the full calendar of events here.

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