“I just wanted to let people know that just because you’re young, you can still do something good in the world,” said high school senior Vanessa Rupertus, who published her first novel ‘Elemental Reactions' this past October.

Rupertus began the story her freshman year at Appoquinimink High as more of a fan fiction book, drawing from the web series Red vs. Blue. However, as time went on, Rupertus began to develop the idea even further, giving the story an entirely new twist.

“I basically took the characters of Red vs. Blue and put them in an alternate universe,” Rupertus said. “Now the story has nothing to do with the Red vs Blue plot, but it uses another version of their characters."

Rupertus said the story revolves somewhat around Aristotle’s four major elements, only, her story includes just three, with them being Earth, Ocean, and Fire, with the main character Rai Solane as an “Element Fire.”

Different elements control different parts of the world. For example, fire elements can control where the sun shines and where fires occur.

“Rai Solane lives in the empire of the Fire Elements,” Rupertus said. “She meets two other elements that are Ocean and Earth and they become good friends.

“Throughout the book she also is learning a lot about herself, about what her element means, while also being hunted.”

“She doesn’t realize her full potential,” added Vanessa’s mother, Marian Rupertus, about the character. “There are people within the empire who do realize her potential and view her as a threat.”

Rupertus has received an abundance of support from educators within her school, and outside of it, who have taken the time to read the novel. She was also featured in the Appoquinimink High School newsletter where she was recognized for her achievement.

“I applaud Vanessa’s tenacity to complete her debut novel as a high school student,” wrote Keisha Brinkley, principal at Appoquinimink High. “Challenges (in the book) are symbolic to what teenagers face in their day to day lives. Vanessa’s dialogue captures the spirit of her characters and the minds of young adults.”

Mallory Lacy, a 12-year-old attending Redding Middle School, also expressed pleasure after reading Elemental Reactions.

“This book was a fun, interesting story. Looking at the cover I probably would not have grabbed the book from the bookshelf as it did not appear as a story I would like,” Lacy said. “However, the character Rai is so strong at times that I really began to like her and at times was sad for her. Friendship is important to her and she is a strong, caring friend. I recommend this book to all my friends and hope that Vanessa writes more about Rai, I want to know what happens next.”

The admissions counselor at Washington College, where Rupertus will be attending college, also had commentary on the book, praising her courage and stamina.

“Writing a cohesive story that spans nearly 200 pages is an amazing feat,” admission counselor Kendall Davis said. “Pair that with a clear vision, a distinct voice, and fascinating characters, and you have what is sure to be the start of an extensive career in the literary arts.”

For more information about Vanessa Rupertus and her book ‘Elemental Reactions’ visit vanessaleighrupertus.com.