DBHS Alumni Becomes Published Author

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DBHS Alumni Becomes Published Author

Courtesy of Ruben Reyes

Courtesy of Ruben Reyes

Courtesy of Ruben Reyes

Hannah Lee, Asst. News Editor

Most students find an outlet through a hobby or activity to get them through their high school years. For Ruben Reyes Jr., writing a novel was his form of release during tough times. After starting the book when he was only 16, the Diamond Bar High School alumni officially published his final version of the novel, titled “The Day After,” on July 6.

While fiction books are usually sparked by imagination, Reyes’ novel was triggered by his teenage angst. He faced the inevitable struggles and stress that come along with being in high school, but rather than venting in a diary or a journal, Reyes found that he preferred working on a fiction story.

“Initially, I wrote out of anger. I was in a terrible mind set that led to lots of curse words in my writing, so obviously it was more of a way to vent,” Reyes said.

The current Harvard student was always was fond of reading, but never thought about writing until he was 16. As soon as he discovered that it was a therapeutic way of expressing himself, he began his young adult novel. Although he did not intend for the story to be published from the start, he eventually wrote enough of the story to share it. Publishing was not a problem for Reyes, as he self published through Amazon. Reyes now considers writing his favorite hobby, despite the fact that it can get difficult.

The book follows the daily life of an indifferent teen, Frank Lietz, attempting to find himself in his high school journey. In spite of being a “normal” suburban teen, he hits an unexpected turning point in his life that leads him to discover purpose, friends, and disabilities, along with love.

“The book is pretty much a perfect chronicle of my high school years. Whenever I wrote, I was feeling some kind of strong emotion. Usually frustration, which explains why some of the things I wrote seem so angry and full of angst,” Reyes said via Facebook.

Although the negative aspects of high school are what strongly impacted his writing, he also found that other parts of his adolescence that influenced it as well. As a former member of the Best Buddies club, Reyes applied the knowledge he gained on both intellectual and developmental disabilities to one of his main characters, Frank Lietz.

Though he is currently attending Harvard, Reyes has plans for his writing career to continue. He has future plans for a book based on the El Salvadoran civil war, as he feels that this period has a significant gap in literature.

“There is so much potential because of all the stories from those tough years, so I hope to help keep track of them through my fiction.”

Having such a personal book with real experiences had both its advantages and disadvantages for Reyes. It also consists of sections that were written while he was 16, that he admits aren’t his best work. The book contains true and authentic emotions that readers can relate to, but that also made it difficult for him to share.

“Most of what I’ve written is what I have learned in the past couple of years. I decided to keep it in because it was raw and genuine.”