Sunday, January 4, 2015

'The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson' by Randall Barnes


Meet Aaliyah Anderson, a beautiful, intelligent, ambitious thirteen-year-old young woman ready to take over the world. With her mom being a superstar broadcast journalist and her older brother Damon being an acclaimed writer and star sports player. Aaliyah lives a fantastic life. Aaliyah quickly learns that her good life, doesn't separate her from life's problems. She has to deal with tons of hardships and avoid many obstacles along her path to achieving her short term goal of finally making it to high school and what she feels will bring her closer to her dreams of being a CEO of a company.

Aaliyah has to deal with overwhelming family issues such as the divorce of her parents and the result of her "father's" unfaithfulness, infidelity, and a family secret that turns her world upside down. As if her family wasn't messed up enough, her eleven-year old brother turns to the streets and joins the Eastside Rydahz, one of the most notorious gangs in the city. Her eldest brother Jeffery, or high-ranked Rydah 808, hates everything about Aaliyah and she doesn't understand it. All Aaliyah wants is to have the ideal loving, united family and it hurts her that their situation is seemingly fractured beyond repair.

To make things even more pressing, she lives in the ruthless city of Willowsfield, statistically the #1 most dangerous city in America, where senseless community violence is the norm and life expectancy is low. With the pressure to succeed and make it out of the ditch that Aaliyah calls her hometown, she still has to deal with more problems that test her patience.

With its realistic characters, life-like setting and dynamic message, The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson is entertaining and a sure fire conversation starter on what we need to do as a generation.

Read an excerpt:

Miss Carter vs. Mrs. Connor
The Diary of
Aaliyah Anderson
A Novel by Randall Barnes
Clarkson’s new principal Miss Carter puts one of the school’s most infamous teachers in her place over Aaliyah. 
After the last bell rang, I got my things and quickly went back up to Miss Carter’s office. From there, we walked down to Mrs. Conner’s room on the 8-1 hall. I definitely had a good feeling about this since a few of the kids, including Allison, went to Miss Carter and told her what really happened. I’m glad at least a few people spoke up for me because Mrs. Conner really was tripping!
When we walked into Mrs. Conner’s room, she was sitting at her desk talking to Mrs. Jenkins, my science teacher. She’s about as old and mean as Mrs. Conner. I swear, 8-1 is like the old folks home. Three of my four teachers are over sixty and have horrible, stuck-up attitudes. My literature teacher, Miss Jones, is only about twenty-five and is way better that Mrs. Conner and the rest of the senior citizens that teach in this cluster. She actually makes her class fun instead of giving us non-stop work that nobody, even the teacher, can understand.
Anyways, they kept talking like we didn’t even walk in. How rude!
“Excuse me, Mrs. Jenkins, I need to talk with Mrs. Conner privately, please,” Miss Carter said in a calm, non-rude, professional tone.
Instead of moving quickly, Mrs. Jenkins took her time leaving the room and even had the nerve to mean mug Miss Carter as she walked out the door. I don’t care how old you are, that’s just disrespectful! Miss Carter just shrugged it off like she didn’t see it though. I swear, she has more self-control than I do! Actually, my quick attitude and lack of self-control is the reason why we were even in her room. Man, these negative thoughts don’t play!
Mrs. Conner started clicking at her computer, still acting as if we were invisible - well, at least until she saw me!
Mrs. Conner immediately hopped out of her seat and shouted, “What is your disrespectful tail doing back in my classroom? I already told you that your little grown behind isn’t allowed anywhere in my presence!”
Boy, I seriously had to hold back from saying something to her!
Miss Carter was still trying to keep things on a professional level.Mrs. Conner, I need you to calm down.”
“Calm down? I sent a referral to the office stating that I didn’t want this little girl anywhere near my classroom and I don’t care who you think you are, but we abide by my rules down here in my classroom.”
After Mrs. Conner said those stupid words, Miss Conner snapped. It was well-deserved too!
“Excuse me? Who I think I am? I think I’m the principal of this school you’re standing in. I’m not one of your students and you’re not gonna talk to me any kind of way! I don’t know who you think you are. Now, you better change that li’l attitude, because honey, I’m not the one. Believe that! You understand me?”
Mrs. Conner mumbled, “Yeah.”
Honestly, I had to hold back a smile. Somebody finally put this woman in her place! She couldn’t even say anything! She’ll think twice before trying Miss Carter on some b.s. again, for real!
Miss Carter then brought it back to business, still having a little aggression in her voice. “Now, I want the complete truth on what happened earlier in the day between you and Miss Aaliyah right here. Why would an honor roll student with no past of any behavior trouble all of a sudden want to act unruly in your class? From what was entered in the grade book earlier this week, she had the highest grade in this cluster on her History pre-test with a ninety-two. Something isn’t adding up, Mrs. Conner.”
I sighed after she said that, relieved and surprised I had passed that extremely hard pre-test!
After Mrs. Conner got told about herself by Miss Carter, she immediately took the victim’s role. She said I’ve been a disturbance in her class since day one, I always have an attitude, and she even had the nerve to say that I overreacted over the pencil situation. I didn’t overreact! She was flexing on me hard!
It was obvious that Miss Carter wasn’t hearing it though as she sarcastically said, “Really? That’s all that happened with the exact exchange that you wrote her up for? She overreacted? Explain to me why a select few of your students, who will remain nameless, had a different story to tell. These nameless students say that you provoked Aaliyah by insulting her intelligence and that you overreacted. By the way, those students that came to tell me about you really are ‘stupid’ and a ‘disgrace to their families’, aren’t they?”
Mrs. Conner was backed into a major corner. Miss Carter was hitting her with facts, showing that she was definitely on my side. And boy, Mrs. Conner hated that too! As she stammered, stuttered, and struggled to create another lie, I couldn’t help but smile. She loves making people look stupid. It was about time karma hit her back hard! I got written up for asking for a pencil. That’s the truth!
Miss Carter cut her off in mid-sentence. “I’ve heard enough! Your write up of Aaliyah has officially been voided. I would lift the ban too, since I’m really the one that runs things down here, but let’s keep it going. I don’t want you mistreating Aaliyah in any way. I will send someone to get the assignments for her until we can work something out with this ‘class problem’. Until then, Aaliyah will not report to you for homeroom or 3rd period. That’s all, Mrs. Conner, you have a great day.”
As she walked me back to her office, I was still in awe over what happened. All I could say was, “Thank you for sticking up for me like you did. That really meant a lot to me.”
She smiled and said, “Don’t mention it. You know something, Aaliyah, you really remind me of how I was back in high school. You’re smart, beautiful, ambitious, and most definitely won’t take disrespect from anybody. I swear, you really can go somewhere with your life. Don’t let anyone like Mrs. Conner tell you different.”
I smiled and took in her words.
“I would put you into another homeroom and history class, but all of them are past full. That’s a major problem. But here’s what I’m going to do: I want you to come to the office every day during homeroom and 3rd period. You’re gonna be my official student secretary.”
“What’s a student secretary?” I asked.
“Pretty much, you help me stay organized and do whatever task I need you to do around the school. With your work ethic and your fantastic grades, I’m sure you can do the job. So, are you up to it?”
I nodded again. She smiled and said, “Great! You can start tomorrow. I’m telling you, Aaliyah, I see something special inside of you.”

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About the author:

Randall Barnes is an eighteen year old author, internet radio personality, public speaker and mentor who currently resides in Macon, GA. Randall is already renowned for his positive, realistic, moral driven writings. His first novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson has garnered over 46,000 reads on and universal acclaim. He writes for the popular news website Urban Intellectuals, the relationship blog Courting Her and literary blog Straight, No Chaser. Randall is also the author of the eShort Riverview High: Circumstances, which hit number #2 on the Amazon charts in the week of its debut.

Randall is currently a senior at William S. Hutchings College & Career Academy. Along with being a talented writer, Randall also has the gift of public speaking. He won first place in the FBLA Region 5 Public Speaking Competition in January of 2013. Randall also was also the first student in history to represent Hutchings in the Rotary Club Speech Contest. The best has yet to come for this young man. Look out!

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