Ariel Zhang ’12 has recently become a published author, with her young adult fiction book titled “Leila”; a story about a fantasy journey into the place between life and death.
The main character, Leila, is a teenager on the brink of committing suicide. She is swept away by benevolent forces to examine her life, herself, and her choices. This work is written from the perspective of the main character, and the reader travels with her through different spheres of existence in the company of her guide, Axel.
Zhang left her homeland of China to attend Farragut barely speaking English, and became a confident young lady who not only accomplished good grades but became the Co-Captain of the softball team. Zhang credits Farragut for embracing diversity and pushing her out of her comfort zone to become the accomplished person she is today. Zhang graduated from the University of Miami with a Marketing Degree, and is a Simultaneous Interpreter for several big names, including motivational speaker Tony Robbins, actor Sylvester Stalone, and pop singer Pitbull, just to name a few.
“The process of writing this novel was scary and had me constantly doubting and questioning myself,” said Zhang. “Who am I to write a novel in my second language of English? Who am I to believe people will care about this subject? I know the only reason why Leila is here is because it is the right thing to do.”
Zhang has been hosting Youth Empowerment programs for teens for over a decade, specializing in personal coaching and goal setting. Zhang has realized how fragile, yet beautiful their world can be.
“We all want to feel good enough, loved, and accepted. We all want to get up and see the world a bit brighter, and go to sleep knowing it is a day worth living. I hope this book will bring just that, and maybe a good laugh too,” Zhang stated.