Teenagers Devin Gifford of North Yarmouth, at left, and Nina Powers of Bath recently completed novels through The Telling Room’s Young Emerging Authors program.

NORTH YARMOUTH — Nina Powers of Bath and Devin Gifford of North Yarmouth, two of four participants in The Telling Room’s Young Emerging Authors program this past school year, have brought their creativity to life within the pages of newly completed novels.

Powers, a Morse High School senior, has penned “Boy in Bloom,” a coming-of-age tale of romance between two young men. Greely High School sophomore Gifford’s third novel, “The Unraveling,” depicts a dystopian world in the grip of fear as a strange fog spreads across the world.

“The Unraveling” by Devin Gifford

The Telling Room, a nonprofit organization that empowers youths aged 6-18 to share their voices, planned to launch the books virtually on Thursday, Aug. 27. Both teens started the year-long program attending in-person classes, but were forced by the coronavirus pandemic to complete their projects at home via online sessions.

Both books will be available digitally and in print. Contact The Telling Room at 774-6064 or [email protected] for more information.

Young adult science fiction can be “very overdone sometimes,” Gifford said. “I really wanted mine to be different, and stand out.”

In “The Unraveling,” mass numbers of people have disappeared mysteriously in the months since the thick fog first appeared. Among those are Willow Clarke’s mother, and with her brother having died protecting a certain poem, her life – as is society as a whole – is coming apart. Danger dogs the clue-seeking girl as a power-hungry organization tries to block her from learning its secrets.


Finishing her novel in the wake of a pandemic “was really kind of crazy,” particularly in its early lockdown days in March and April, because “I really felt like we were kind of living in what my story would look like in the first couple of months,” Gifford said. For one thing, she depicts the fog overcoming the world in a March.

“I wrote that before any of this happened,” she said. “It’s a crazy coincidence.”

Gifford hopes readers will feel “refreshed” after finishing her book. She wrote it to “emulate some of the things that I love most about reading, and I love a story that keeps you guessing, and that has a lot of twists and turns to it, and you feel like you’re along for the ride the whole time.”

There’s “really nothing else” quite like writing, Gifford said: “you can just create things out of thin air pretty much with a paper and pen, and it’s really special to me.”

“Boy in Bloom” by Nina Powers

In “Boy in Bloom,” Powers tells the story of Ollie Cunningham, who struggles in the face of his father’s lofty expectations, pressure to decide things for himself and adulthood fast approaching. His roommate at the boarding school his father runs, Ryan Calloway, is Ollie’s apparent opposite in terms of being relaxed, extrovertive and hard to predict. Their friendship evolves into romance as they both realize how unprepared they are for the future and are forced to question what comes next.

Seeing a lack of young adult books written by that age group, who know best what struggles today’s youths encounter, Powers said she was inspired to pen one of her own. She identifies as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual), and hopes readers will be able to relate to the characters in her book.

Powers said she identifies much with Ollie, and that they “have a lot of the same struggles (as portrayed) in the book. So I projected onto him a little bit. … We both have a lot of nervousness surrounding school, and feel a lot of pressure that way, to keep striving to be better, and I think that’s something a lot of other people can relate to.”

Writing her book served as an escape from that pressure, Powers said, and completing it is “pretty exciting, because it’s something that I’ve wanted for a really long time, but I didn’t think would happen this early.”

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