Junior Anisya Nair confronts cliches in new novel, Coming of Page

The+cover+of+Coming+of+Page+was+illustrated+by+author+Anisya+Nairs+friend%2C+Zoya+Farooqui.+After+finding+inspiration+from+Pinterest+and+worked+over+many+Zoom+calls%2C+Farooqui+settled+with+the+final+silhouette+design+to+reflect+the+classy%2C+simplistic+vibe+of+the+book.+

provided by Anisya Nair

The cover of Coming of Page was illustrated by author Anisya Nair’s friend, Zoya Farooqui. After finding inspiration from Pinterest and worked over many Zoom calls, Farooqui settled with the final silhouette design to reflect the classy, simplistic vibe of the book.

By Abby Wang, Liberty High School - TX

Elitist schools.

Star-crossed lovers.

Spies.

Junior Anisya Nair explores these YA cliches in her debut published novel Coming of Page; an opportunity for Nair to give some overused concepts a new face.

Coming of Page is a novel that deals with two shorter novellas centered around cliche ideas with their own spin as they grow out of their former, naive identities,” Nair via email said. “The first story Malac revolves around six teenagers who were forced to join this undercover organization under the hoax that they would be at a prestigious college summer program. My second story Zenith is set in the future and dwells around this prestigious boarding school that the elite of the world attend.”

The process took about a year from the first draft to publishing Coming of Page through Amazon.  

Although Nair wrote Coming of Page independently, junior Aanvi Krishna and Nair have co-written novels together in the past; for Krishna, Nair’s passion has been prevalent throughout the entire process and she was able to see her mature as a person and an author. 

“A quality of Anisya’s writing that I think others will enjoy is definitely her ability to portray witty banter between her characters,” junior Aanvi Krishna said via messages. “She really makes the reader feel like they’re experiencing it firsthand, rather than reading words off of a page. She has a way of immersing you in a different world with her simple yet playful conversation, even in times of duress during the book.”

Nair’s literary journey began at an early age. Her grandfather, an author in India, encouraged her love for books and got her interested in writing. Nair said her writing career started with a “silly story about a mango princess” in first grade; now she can’t imagine ever quitting.

Junior Anisya Nair poses with her new young adult novel, Coming of Page. “Coming of Page is a novel that deals with two shorter novellas centered around cliche ideas with their own spin as they grow out of their former, naive identities,” Nair via email said. (provided by Anisya Nair)

“Anisya poured her heart into Coming of Page,” junior, and editor Hamsa Madhira said via messages. “She’s spent countless hours writing each of those pages, articulating her thoughts and giving life to each of the characters. She’s always been good at taking criticism and making her work only better however through Coming of Page she’s learned to embrace her work like never before. She writes fiction like it’s the truth– like it’s a part of something happening in our lives right now. And that leaves me in awe.”

In Nair’s book description, there is a trigger warning for topics such as anxiety and trauma. Instead of omitting these themes from her characters, Nair saw it important to address the reality of the issues. 

“I touch upon a few heavy topics in my book because mental health is an issue that I think needs to be talked about more,” Nair said via email. “As someone who’s seen wavering days and has to battle my own inner demons on the daily, I wanted readers to walk away from this knowing that anxiety, trauma, sexual assault, or any other mental illness does not take away from your worth. While these issues aren’t at the forefront of my novel, I wanted to include them to show the tenacity of my characters and the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. All we need to do is keep in mind that there’s still a bit of light in this world!”

Close friends with Nair, Zoya Farooqui became the official illustrator for Coming of Page. The two found inspiration from Pinterest and worked over many Zoom calls when trying to find the best way to design the cover. Farooqui settled with the final silhouette design to reflect the classy, simplistic vibe of the book.

“Although I was working with a friend, the process mirrored what it would be like to work in a professional setting,” Farooqui said via email. “From planning ideas to setting deadlines for myself, I learned quite a lot through the journey. So I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity. As the book is Anisya’s, I wanted to keep it very open to her for what she wanted and, likewise, Anisya wanted me to have a lot of flexibility with the illustrations. I enjoyed taking Anisya’s imagination and turning them into reality.” (provided by Anisya Nair)

“Although I was working with a friend, the process mirrored what it would be like to work in a professional setting,” Farooqui said via email. “From planning ideas to setting deadlines for myself, I learned quite a lot through the journey. So I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity. As the book is Anisya’s, I wanted to keep it very open to her for what she wanted and, likewise, Anisya wanted me to have a lot of flexibility with the illustrations. I enjoyed taking Anisya’s imagination and turning them into reality.”

Nair plans to donate all proceeds from her self-published work to COVID-19 relief organizations. Nair’s does not have a set list yet, but Heart to Heart is one of the organizations that she plans to donate to. 

“My novel is something that I’m extremely passionate about, but so is advocating for change,” Nair said. “The intent of this book was never to make money, writers barely do and I’m an amateur one! Instead, I wanted to make a difference in any way that I could. Seeing that the pandemic is not going away anytime soon, I decided to give all proceedings to a global cause so that we’re all making a positive change with this book!”

This story was originally published on Wingspan on March 16, 2021.