In Harris's vividly realized novel, Dallas teenager and frustrated insomniac Emily's life is a mess, but a fantasy world in which she is the heroine offers courage and answers to navigating life in the real world. Harris's prose is carefully crafted, and she paints fantastical imagery of the elves (both good and bad) and other characters, symbols, and scenery populating Emily's universe. She also delves deeply into her heroine's somewhat battered psyche. Ultimately, the novel promotes a message of empowerment and obtaining emotional truth -- both for Emily and the young readers this impressive novel is aiming to educate and entertain.
Date Submitted: August 13, 2016
While Riven tackles difficult, gut-wrenching topics, it pulls you in with beautiful writing, engaging characters, and surprising humor. The anthem throughout is strength and courage over adversity. As an adult, I found the story difficult, but necessary. And while the story is painful as it unfolds, the beautiful world that emma builds as a cocoon for herself wraps the reader into its embrace and refuses to let go. Plan to block your day and read this book in one sitting and then patiently wait for the next book in the series.
RIVEN is an emotionally gripping novel, because it is so real, and deals with issues without sugar coating things. Its overarching message of believing and loving oneself is presented in a way that sticks with the reader long after finishing the novel.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first got a copy, but before I knew it, I was sucked into the incredible roller coaster that the book is. I haven't read a book I've enjoyed this much in many years, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an amazing book.
I really loved this book. It had a depth that I didn't expect. As a teacher I would recommend this book to any fan of Tolkien, King or Gaiman. I really loved the details and the world the author created. I can't wait to see what happens...This would probably make a great HBO mini series...
Reality is harsh. Life is woefully unforgiving... And reading My Myth-RIVEN led me down a rabbit hole of old feelings and injuries. However, that only lasted a heartbeat. The same words that remind me that the world can be a harsh and hurtful place are also laced with hope and happy endings. I found myself lost in Jane Alvey Harris' fantasy, and actually found myself crying for the characters because they became real to me. This book taught me that it's okay for shit to happen, because at the end of the day our will, our energy, and our fantasy will become reality if we have the strength to make it happen. Thank you to Jane Alvey Harris, for the energy you invested in My Myth-RIVEN, and for the excitement, joy, pain, and release that I have no doubt will be embodied in your next work. Enjoy reading everybody! I know I did...and will again and again. -Michael Thomas My Myth-RIVEN is a great read! Jane Harris has a unique and beautiful style of writing that has never been seen before. Her words are as lyrical and as enchanting as the fantasy world in her modern day tale. The plot itself is a quick read, once you start reading you’ll want to finish it as fast as possible. There are just so many intriguing mysteries within the plot that you just have to get answers for. My Myth-RIVEN is more than just a novel; it’s a symbolic story, which represents present day struggles of mental illness and how society copes with it. It’s intellectually thrilling and the weight of its subject is a breakthrough in literature., All young adults should read it, for it is also a story of empowerment and finding your way in a world where others might try to decide things for you. I can’t wait to read the next one! - Kara Hallam, StudentMy MYTH - RIVEN is excellent! Jane Alvey Harris took a very dark subject matter and added an element of fantasy that leaves you feeling both unsettled and excited at the same time. It's unlike anything I have ever read and I honestly couldn't put it down. The main character Emily is someone you can relate to. We have all been through some kind of drama and are left with scars that never really fade. Emily is beautifully flawed and broken yet possesses profound strength and will undoubtedly be an inspiration to readers of all ages who are going through, or have been through, difficult experiences. Jane Alvey Harris so eloquently paints a picture of every scene, you feel as if you're actually there watching as the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am anxiously awaiting the rest of the series. -Falina Lloyd.
Jane Alvey Harris’s Riven traces a critical juncture in a teen’s mental health. When an elaborate fantasy threatens to take over her life, she learns to transform her fear into courage and self-acceptance. A deftly constructed, hyper-real world reveals the effects of extreme pressure on a family torn by abuse.
Seventeen-year-old Emily is the novel’s vulnerable, distraught protagonist. Held back to repeat her junior year, she depends on prescription drugs. She’s left responsible for her younger siblings while her mother struggles with depression, and is troubled by her imprisoned father’s upcoming release.
Emily soon gives in to stress and retreats into a childhood world. The First Realm, which is populated by maidens and elves, begins as a story she invented to help her survive past trauma, and gains importance when she can’t explain why she dreads her father’s return. As the line between fiction and reality dissolves, Emily summons her strength in a fight against psychosis.
The novel features topics for mature teens, including self-injury, an overdose, and recovered memories. Together they create a firestorm in Emily’s life without glamorizing despair and addiction. Emily’s unreliable account—fueled by Valium and Ambien—is heightened in tone. It fits her character, even as it results in a highly filtered perception that views adults in stark, black-and-white terms.
Emily’s mother is portrayed as a delicate, revered force. Her father is an untrustworthy, treacherous figure. Her relatives, who step in to care for the Alvey children, are well-meaning people who remain at a distance. Two crushes become idealized figures. Emily’s siblings, however, are well-drawn allies whose enchantment with her stories reveals a closeness that buoys her through tough circumstances.
Each of the main characters has a counterpart in the First Realm, allowing a detailed battle to unfold in Emily’s imagination. That alternate world functions as an understandably escapist means for confronting some of her pain. Through fantasy, Emily gains the power she didn’t possess when she was victimized. She also works through her fear of judgment and exposure. In one of the book’s psychologically intriguing arcs, the integration of multiple voices leads to the start of Emily’s healing.
Riven is unsparing in its depiction of emotional withdrawal. The story of a mind in crisis takes shape through frenetic transitions between the First Realm and Emily’s daily life. The confusion of adolescence is captured in hi-fi, and the seams of identity are exposed in all of their ragged beauty.
If you sometimes secretly find yourself a reluctant member of the human race, Jane Alvey Harris' astonishing story-telling in her first novel MY MYTH: RIVEN may be just the antidote. The read will unite you with lost parts of your humanity and make you sure that our best dreams of this world are worth believing in, fighting for, opening to, and loving our way through. It will inspire you to truth-telling and move you to braveness by carrying you off to places you maybe wouldn't sign up to go to but now never want to leave. You will glimpse deep soul, dark soul, bright-as-the-sun soul and I promise you won't be the same human being because once you have stepped into the visual feast of Jane's Guillermo del Toro-like world, your imagination will be on steroids, and while you may not be quite sure of what is real anymore, you will be sure there's no place else you want to be.
Some truths are best explained in nonfiction books, but other truths are best expressed in works of fiction, through story, like parables. Stories are how we learn to understand and relate to one another, and sometimes, the stories we tell are how we learn to understand ourselves, too. The stories we shape in our heads help us adapt to the stories we live, because they teach us something that is vitally important: that the power and ability to resolve conflict and rise above suffering and crisis comes from WITHIN.That's the primary lesson of RIVEN: a parable of imaginary stories and true tales that will change the way you think about fantasy, reality, and the power to hope our way through despair to a life of meaning and purpose.
James A. Owen
Author of Drawing out the Dragons: A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power of Choice.
Wow. Seriously. WOW!!!! It's not often you get a book that's an exciting, well-paced read but also full of powerful emotions and deeper meaning than you see on the page. RIVEN is such a book. I completely fell in love with Emily...she became so real to me...my heart ached for her. I was swept away by the darkness and magic of her story. There are so many layers to uncover in RIVEN. I highly recommend this book to all readers.
Author of The Maze Runner series, The Mortality Doctrine series, and The 13th Reality series
I'm a parent to a 13 year old girl. The (female) protagonist in this book is a mix of strength, vulnerability, and most importantly....change. Many people in her life try to characterize who she is. No spoiler, but I like where the author took her and think that my daughter would appreciate the journey of discovery as well.
Great imagery in this work, and I found the suspension of disbelief easier than I often find with young adult fiction.
I hate reading books. When Ms. Harris subbed for my history class and told us about her book I was like, "Yeah right. Not reading." But after she helped me with my homework I decided I'd give it a shot. I never put the book down after the third chapter. It was really good. But the novel is more than just a great read. You can relate to every character and there are some surprisingly humorous parts for a story that covers so many serious topics.
My Myth-RIVEN is a great read! Jane Harris has a unique and beautiful style of writing that has never been seen before. Her words are as lyrical and as enchanting as the fantasy world in her modern day tale. The plot itself is a quick read, once you start reading you’ll want to finish it as fast as possible. There are just so many intriguing mysteries within the plot that you just have to get answers for. My Myth-RIVEN is more than just a novel; it’s a symbolic story, which represents present day struggles of mental illness and how society copes with it. It’s intellectually thrilling and the weight of its subject is a breakthrough in literature., All young adults should read it, for it is also a story of empowerment and finding your way in a world where others might try to decide things for you. I can’t wait to read the next one!
Riven is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve read the last page. It’s not just written well, it’s written with intelligence and creativity. Crafting a story that takes place in two different worlds is difficult enough, but to weave multiple stories takes a new level of skill. The characters are compelling, the plot is engaging, the action is riveting, and it’s a coming of age young adult book that will delight readers of all ages across all genres.
Wow oh wow does Jane have a grasp on descriptive writing! The imagery was so vivid that it was like a movie unfolding in my mind as I read this book.
Jane has such a mastery over the English language- the plot was well constructed and characters rich and evolved; and surprising...The twists and turns of the story takes lead the reader on a journey of suspense and intrigue as you try to wrap your head around the alternative reality that surrounds Emily (Emma) Alvey. It's fantasy, but has such a cool true to life element that it's realistic- Harry Potter-esque in that its fantasy yet feels very plausable.
The protagonist's story of a young girl trying to get through life, dealing with tragedy, loss, forgiveness, insecurity and self discovery is compelling, rich and thought provoking. Was she ever amazing. "I am one giant nerve ending (page 152)". I was like, uh,YEA! That's such a cool way to describe it!
Loved it! You will read it for pure enjoyment and find yourself thinking about it over and over ... I can't WAIT for the sequel!!!
In this debut fantasy thriller, a teen’s real life begins to overlap with a colorful world she thinks she’s invented.
In Dallas, 17-year-old Emily Alvey watches Claire, her 10-year-old sister, have fun at a pool party. Yet Emily herself is preoccupied with the deep scratches on her arm, which she doesn't remember receiving. When she shoos a dragonfly away from her ankle, she accidentally kicks Gabe, a cute lifeguard, in the nose. They chat, but she neglects to describe her disastrous life: she must repeat the 11th grade; her father sits in jail; and her mother remains addicted to prescription meds. Later, after leaving a grocery store, Emily runs into Gabe again, only this time she suffers what seems like a panic attack. But the voices in Emily’s mind (a critical woman and a fanciful little girl) tell her that she’s awakening to a Magic that she hasn’t known since she was 7 years old. As a child, she began weaving a story about the First Realm, populated by the Fae—elves and maidens, both at war with the hideous crimbals. Gabe helps her realize that her father’s imminent release from prison coincides with the marks on her arm, which are actually ancient runes that not only spell her last name, but also translate it into “elf warrior.” In this emotionally charged novel, Harris uses traditional fantasy elements to tell a vibrant self-acceptance narrative. Though ostensibly for older teens, Emily’s adventures with her three siblings (Claire, 14-year-old Aidan, and 15-year-old Jacob) begin with rich imagery, and only become more kaleidoscopic when the heroine “can’t decipher between what is fantasy and what is real.” At its best, the prose conjures all the lushness promised by the genre, as when Emily sees “the sparkling honeysuckle air, the serene entanglement of polished stone and creeping wild strawberry.” At other times, however, the worldbuilding feels claustrophobic, and readers may wish for more clearly marked plot points to follow. In the end, after a sad, shocking revelation, Harris firms up her message that it’s vital to “experience your emotions and memories without judging them or reacting to them.”
A whirlwind narrative about an imaginative heroine that uses fantasy to offer salvation from abuse.
The world-building in this book is INTENSE! The constructed fantasies/realities in Riven are so alive and complex. I can't wait to explore them even further in the next books. I kinda want an expansion book just on the First Realm and perhaps how realms work because I'm a nerd like that, just in case the trilogy isn't enough to elaborate on the worlds as much as I want them to. The characterization is also fascinating. Watching (reading about?*) Emma grow from and cope with her drastically changing circumstances in the most vivid way was so cool. And the different personalities and people, how they all react to the situation, and their levels of understanding of what's happening create beautiful characters...it was just a really GOOD read. Would 100% recommend to any person who has an imagination, aka everyone (I hope). It's a very immersive read, too; I'd recommend you to read it in as little number of sittings possible. Also, it's a really good title. Just putting that out there.
*idk I feel too strongly about this book and its characters to merely consume it in a passive tense.
You may start off reading Jane Alvey Harris's book purely for entertainment, and trust me when I say you won't be let down in that regard. But as you delve deeper into her book you soon realize it's much more than mere entertainment. It addresses many issues you may have experienced yourself or even some that you've often wondered about.
As I was reading this book I was personally experiencing the breakup of a marriage I was in for 25 years, so you can imagine the emotional state I was in during this time of my life. This book addressed many of the same or similar feelings I was experiencing. I won't spoil any of the things I learned and picked up on while reading, but you'll soon find there's more to Jane's ability to write than just writing a cool story. She takes you on a journey of self-discovery while entertaining you at the same time! And you may even find this story helpful to your own challenges and situation like I did.
I'm excited to tell you all about Emily and the adventures she and her friends and family find themselves in, but I'm a bit of a big mouth and may end up ruining the fun for someone! Find out for yourself how fun and enlightening a writer Jane is, you won't be disappointed in reading MY MYTH: RIVEN. I know the target audience for her book is younger than me, but if you love to read, you'll enjoy this book no matter what age you are! I'm excited for her next installment! Hurry, Jane! Some of us can't wait!!!
Reality is harsh. Life is woefully unforgiving... And reading My Myth-RIVEN led me down a rabbit hole of old feelings and injuries. However, that only lasted a heartbeat. The same words that remind me that the world can be a harsh and hurtful place are also laced with hope and happy endings. I found myself lost in Jane Alvey Harris' fantasy, and actually found myself crying for the characters because they became real to me. This book taught me that it's okay for shit to happen, because at the end of the day our will, our energy, and our fantasy will become reality if we have the strength to make it happen.
Thank you to Jane Alvey Harris, for the energy you invested in My Myth-RIVEN, and for the excitement, joy, pain, and release that I have no doubt will be embodied in your next work. Enjoy reading everybody! I know I did...and will again and again.
It was spring break and we were into the first hour of our 12 hour drive from Texas to Colorado. Steve loves driving so he was at the wheel. I had just begun reading the first draft of Jane's book, RIVEN, and I was excited about what I was reading so much that I wanted to read it aloud for Steve. (About 95% of what I read is fiction, Steve reads 99.9999% nonfiction.) But, he loves being read to when he is driving regardless of the material. I had read half way through prologue when he pulled the car over on the shoulder, unbuckled his seat belt and said "You drive, I want to read this!" That was the beginning of his enthusiasm for Jane's story. It became his child. He read the entire book to me on that trip and we continue to be excited by her writing style and her stories. Her allegorical stories are inspiring and magical. They wake up something buried deep inside and normalize parts of me that I think are not normal. If you haven't read her book, you are in for a treat. Steve and I are looking forward to her next book to see where she takes us.
Nancy Innis, M.Ed., CH, NCC, LPC
Child lost tenderness in his childhood subjected to psychological problems, paving the way for entry into the underworld, a child who is in trouble, despite her age she continued to fight in order to get rid of the ordeal of two lives: her dark past made by her parents, and the imaginary intimate who lived in... And enthusiasm is still continuing with her childhood abuser and her little brother and sister.
Interesting & impressive novel that combines a painful reality for many children, and imagination that has become a reality in the life of human being tormented in this world full of contradictions and mysteries! I hope read your book and learn from your experiences. And I wish you huge success may be we gonna see your novel as a great movie.
Reading My Myth-RIVEN was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. The book was great, it blurred lines and shed a new light on abuse and its effects. The characters all have such depth and colors, and the twists and turns make it a true experience, rather than just a good read. It's been a real gift being able to read this book and discuss it with the author, and I think we may have even made it better in the end! It's been a great experience all around and I wouldn't trade it for the world... Maybe for the second book, though!
I immediately got pulled into the world of Emily, Jacob, Aidan, and Claire as I read the beginning pages of RIVEN. What was happening to these characters? What was real - what was coping? As the story unfolded into lush poetic imagery and the real emotions hit me, I wanted to enter the pages of the book and protect these children; help them access the powers they needed to save themselves. Luckily Ms. Harris was there to do that for us the readers. As the story unfolded, the world revealed its ugly truths - yet - there was kindness, sacrifice, good, and bravery. The plot was quick and fascinating, yet complex. The images were true and reveal the artistic and deeply personal side of the writer. I started looking around a little for my own clues - toads, dragonflies - a fairy. As I sadly realized I was approaching the end, I desperately wanted resolution. Please Jane, hurry and write the next book. I am here waiting....
Paula Campbell (avid reader)
“Riven,” by author Jane Alvey Harris, is pleasantly distinct from the mainstream flow of utopian/dystopian young adult novels. Harris has created a book that tackles abuse, fantasy, and psychological thrill.
Emily, the seventeen-year-old protagonist, has gone through many hardships. Her dad is in jail for security fraud, and her mother is no help taking care of the family, as she is bed-ridden on pain medication. Emily loves her younger siblings Claire, Aidan, and Jacob, and stays strong for them, hiding her pain as well as the mysterious symbols cut into her arm. Her dad is due to come home soon, setting Emily on edge. More events are added to the mix when Gabe, the hot and intrigued lifeguard, discovers the brands on Emily's arm. Also, two opposite voices start to battle in her head, a young girl who wants Emily to escape into a fantasy world, and a stern woman who wants to keep Emily’s secrets hidden. Amid the chaos, Emily struggles to find her own voice and loses herself to sleeping pills and the dreaded nightmares from her childhood. The line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred among the faerie of her imagination, as Emily realizes she is very powerful, causing her to be hunted by a dangerous man, greedy for her power. Emily must realize and conquer her demons in both her fantasy and reality worlds before it’s too late.
This was the first psychological thriller I have ever read, and I was a little overwhelmed and confused while I was in Emily’s mind during the scene changes. However, being able to see her alter egos and vivid dreams, made me really understand the impact abuse has on a person. I was aware of abuse beforehand, but when I read “Riven,” it felt as though I was discovering the issue for the first time. I felt connected to Emily, repulsed and upset about her abuse. Emily was unique compared to the other heroines I have read about, and I saw the side of her people usually keep to themselves, in other words, her raw feelings and emotions. “If I hold my breath I can even hear the surface of the pool swirling in every direction, absorbing and being absorbed by the calm depth of the blue-green pond.”(Page 144). As much as I loved the main characters, I think some of the secondary characters could have been more developed, as I had questions about them after completing the book.
I would recommend this book for people ages 14 and older because it contains mature topics and complex ideas. Personally, I have always been curious about people who have split personalities and human psychology, so I was excited and surprised to find a book that features the different voices of a character. “Riven” by Jane Alvey Harris is truly unlike any book you will ever read, combining so many components into one book!
My Myth-RIVEN is a fascinating book. The story line was dark & twisting with witty characters. I got so caught up in caring for the characters I couldn't wait to see what happened next. What a wonderful read!! This was a book I could not put down. I am looking forward to reading the next book!!
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Riven (My Myth, Book One)
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