Our Reading Lives

How I Fell for Fantasy

Rioter in Residence


The Rioter in Residence is an author with a new or forthcoming work who joins the Book Riot team for a one-month stay.

This month we’re welcoming Rioters in Residence from our 2013 charitable partner organization Girls Write Now.

This is a guest post by Girls Write Now student Samantha Young Chan. Samantha can always be found either with her nose buried in a book or her pen on a piece of paper, pouring her ideas out onto the blank canvas before her. When she’s not found doing either of those activities, she is usually at the piano playing classical pieces or behind the microphone doing amateur voiceover work. She is a passionate writer and won a Silver Key in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for a fantasy story this year, as well as Honorable Mentions for both a science fiction dramatic script and another short story.This is her third and final year at Girls Write Now. 


My love for fantasy started when I was young.

From the start, I was always the imaginative type. My mother would read to me the typical fairytales that all children knew, but in my mind, I would weave them into my own complicated tales of valor and excitement. I would always reenact scenes from them: one minute, I would be a princess running from dragons, the next, I’d be exploring the deepest parts of a forest, trying to find the treasure at the center. Each fascinating story fueled my imagination more.

When I started going to school, the stories I was required to read weren’t what I expected. They were bland, plot-less, and of simple daily activities that didn’t hold my attention. I was disappointed. Where were the action-filled, adventurous stories I longed for? What happened to the castles, mysterious tunnels, and magical realms? Most of my fellow classmates seemed content reading them, but I was dissatisfied. I needed more to feed my starving imagination. As I continued to grow older, I constantly sought out these kinds of books. Although I enjoyed reading in general, I realized after reading book after book that only fantasy stories could match the dreams that were formed in my head. They held all the magic I had been searching for. Each world that the author formed through their writing reflected their thinking pattern left so much up to the imagination. They held a universe full of possibilities. They even defied logic, setting their own rules in their tales. I always found it so fascinating to be sucked into a novel that is crafted so realistically and beautifully, yet also has a dream-like feel to it.

To this day, I still enjoy fantasy novels. They are my mode of escaping reality and exploring the dreams of others. Every tale opens my eyes up to a world of new beginnings, new chances, and a new, refreshing adventure.