It has been an insane year, but we couldn't be more grateful for every single one of you who submitted your writing and art pieces to our inbox.
Since January of 2021, we have received countless submissions across 7 series (not including the latest), publishing nearly 30 pieces in our themed series: 13 art and 15 written.
It was incredibly exciting to see familiar names appear in our inbox. A special shoutout to Brendon Wang for being the most published author: an impressive 5 pieces out of 7 series! You can find his most recent essay, one of our personal favorites, here.
Additionally, we also published longer stories spanning multiple chapters. Thank you to Teresa Jiang and Lindsey Mo for always being so on top of their schedules, sending us chapter after chapter so we could publish them. Check out their story, The Mysterious Island, starting with Chapter 1. The final chapter will release very soon, perfect for the closing of the year.
The Youth Review also hit our 1-year milestone in April. Check out that post here.
Finally, here is a review of the 8 calls for submissions:
We truly mean it when we say that it has been such a joy to edit and publish the submissions we receive, and to interact with all the young contributors that make up our growing literary review and blog. We hope to see new and familiar faces pop up time and time again, and we cannot wait for everything the next year has planned for us.
Thank you again for making what we do possible, and cheers to an amazing 2022!
The Editors of the Emerald Youth Review
To wrap up the eventful year of 2021, our 15th Call for Submissions honors the perhaps cheesy, perhaps stressful, but certainly exciting idea of a "New Year, New Me"--the idea that the end of one year is merely an opportunity to shape the next. What do you hope to accomplish in 2022? Who will you look to in guidance? No matter what your plans are, the Youth Review would love to know.
If you're stuck, try the following:
- Reflect on the previous year. Is there anything you had hoped to finish but didn't?
- Start small. The most meaningful changes often take place bit by bit; don't feel pressured by a need for something revolutionary.
- Think outside the box. Challenge yourself in crafting a completely fictional story, or in illustrating a metaphorical depiction.
Make sure to include your name, grade, school, and title of the piece when emailing your submission to YouthReview@EmeraldParents.org. Headshots are optional, but encouraged! All writing and art will be due by Monday, January 17th.
In Which Adventure Starts
Luna was climbing aboard the plane with her sister to the secret island. She was so excited that she couldn’t stay still.
Luna got a glimpse of the people in first class while she was going to the bathroom. When she got back to her seat with her sister, all she did was look at the front seats, dreaming as if she sat there.
“Oh my,” said Ada. “Luna, you can stop dreaming now.”
Before Luna knew it, time flew by and they were already departing off the plane and onto the island.
To Luna's astonishment, the island was even more beautiful than she had expected. The trees were tall and green. The water was clear blue with fish swimming in it. It was hard for Luna to believe any dangers would happen here. She thought the island was too safe for that.
“We should quickly find a hotel,” said Ada. “I know this island looks perfect, but I just have this nagging feeling that being out for too long isn’t safe.”
Luna wanted to tell her sister this place was perfectly safe. But something told her that perhaps Ada was correct, so she just nodded in agreement.
“Okay, I’ll go check into the hotel we are staying at for the night while you stay here. Don’t do anything!” Ada stated.
“Can I at least go outside and walk for a bit?” Luna begged.
Ada thought for a moment, then nodded. “Alright,” she said.
Right after Ada said that, Luna was already out of her sight. Ada sighed. “Be careful!” She called to Luna, but wasn’t sure where she was.
“I swear that Luna will get lost later on.” Ada sighed.
“Would it be fine if you could give a map of the hotel?” Ada asked, quickly. “My sister and I might get lost.”
The front desk woman agreed, and handed over the map. Ada snatched the map and stuffed it into her backpack. Then, she looked at her watch.
Gosh, I can’t believe that it’s getting close to dinner time . . . I don’t even know where Luna went! What if she got kidnapped? Trapped? Killed? . . . I really must stop thinking about this！
In Which Ada Looks For Luna
Ada looked around, and went the way Luna ran. Yes, she was gone right before Ada’s eyes. She kept herself from running back to the hotel. Ada walked toward a tall forest. Fear creeped into Ada’s throat. She really hoped Luna didn’t go into the forest, which was pitch-black and buzzing with the sounds of unseen creatures. But Ada had to make sure Luna wasn’t in there, since she was a caring sister. At last, she made a brave decision and marched to the forest. Ada peered around some thick twigs: they were spiky and they didn’t look like normal breakable wood. Ada suddenly got an idea. She ripped off some twigs of the tree and tucked them to her belt.
This could be made into a good weapon! thought Ada, pushing the twigs deeper into her belt so they wouldn’t poke her.
“Luna!’ Ada called out. “Where are you? It’s getting dark!”
There was no answer, only a strong cold wind that blew Ada’s hair. Ada shivered. She was starting to dislike the island, but she still slowly edged forward. Then… CRACK! Ada screamed, jumping back. Thankfully, she realized it was only a twig that had broken under the pressure of her foot.
“I don’t know what species of plant you are, but you’re not helping me find my sister!” Ada muttered. She pulled out a thick spiky branch from her belt, and tried her best to cut through the twigs. She was glad to find that it cut easily. She walked out of the forest and found Luna on a cliff, looking at the sunset.
“Luna-a-a-a! We’re going to have great danger going home! Come on!” Ada bellowed.
“Wait, just wait a second. Let’s go in a minute.”
Ada stood there, wondering why Luna wanted to stay longer in this creepy, old forest.
“Luna, gosh. Come on, we gotta go. The way back will be very dangerous.”
“What will?” Luna’s voice called back. “Okay, okay, I’m coming.”
And so Luna and Ada scurried off. As soon as they arrived, Ada fished out the key to their room and opened the door. A women stood inside.
“Who is there in our room?” Luna questioned. “Also, the hotel room is better than I thought. Nice!”
“Oh, hi, I’m Katie, the hotel manager’s daughter. Nice to meet you!” The lady, who was around Ada’s age, exclaimed as she turned to Luna. “If you would like something you can find me at the front office. I was waiting here in case you girls needed something right away! Right, I was going to ask, did you ever notice the Totos that hid in the forests before?”
“Uh... no. Unfortunately, we have never heard of them before, so what's that all about?” Ada looked confused, thinking this was peculiar.
“You’ve never heard of them before?” She asked, stunned. “Oh, you must be new here… Well, you should know about those creatures that roam the forest that is named Sula Jungle. The creatures are especially dangerous to humans, unless you make friends with them in a different way, but no one has ever known how to.” Katie shook her head, hopelessly.
Ada and Luna both sweated. They had heard of the Sula, and had went into the forest… that night. Somewhat disturbing yet also relieving, however, was that nothing ever attacked them. And it was true, they didn’t get hurt. But the sisters decided to keep it a secret. It was better than leaving Katie worried. That would be a disaster!
“Well, goodbye, I guess!” Katie said, quickly leaving with a suspicious look on her face. “Come to me if you need help!”
As soon as Katie left, Ada suggested that they should go back to the forest and investigate again.
Luna shook her head. “No. We shouldn’t. You were always right. I just never listened to you. This forest is too much of a danger. I know that we should go investigate, but I changed my mind. I have a bad feeling something will happen if we go back.”
Ada hugged Luna. “If you say so, Luna. Tomorrow shall be our last day. We can go enjoy the beach instead of always being in our serious moods all day.”
Luna nodded. They talked for a few minutes and went to bed.