Barking Fabulousness

“(Insert name), what do you want to be when you grow up?”


These words have been said to every child since the age of time. And most, if not all, the answers range somewhere along the lines of princess, firefighter, or singer.


Unfortunately, as grumpy old reality sets in, those answers often morph into less fantastical (but still cool) careers, i.e. accountant, senior operations manager, and sales representative. Never fear, though, for you can rise above average and pursue your dream job.


Just ask Ryan Hill.


Who is this Ryan Hill, you might ask? Only the author of the recent paranormal YA thriller, Barking Madness! This 644 page book intertwines the story of Rosetta, the “mysterious” new girl in a small New England high school with Michael, the frustrated teen bored with the world.


The book’s feel is definitely along the lines of Shutter Island and The Shining, both classics in their own right. But in order to truly appreciate a book, one must also appreciate the writer and where he came from.


Ryan Hill grew up in the nearby town of West Newbury and attended PRHS Class of 2014; actually, the book’s setting is based largely on this area. From the start, it was evident that Ryan was interested in English. “I think he knew he wanted to be an English major; it was always his favorite,” says Ryan’s sister, sophomore Fiona Hill.


Ryan’s mother, paraprofessional Tina Hill, also mentioned how he used to write short stories and that he has been writing this novel since seventh grade, “putting bits and pieces in” along the way.


At school, teachers noticed Ryan’s skill with the English language. Ms. Ducolon, an English teacher who had him in British Literature, Honors English, and Film & Literature, said that he was a good student, especially in Film & Literature. “He had seen a lot of weird films and had lots of interesting ideas about it,” she remarked.


In addition, Ms. Ducolon commented on his modesty about his writing. “I’d [say] show me what you’re writing, and he’d be like um…he was so understated about it.” She went on to say that if not for his mother, she would never have known about Barking Madness.


Mr. Bart, a teacher of video production class and one of the two teachers Ryan dedicated his book to, enjoyed having Ryan in his class. “I think Ryan’s best gift was…the standard of quality he held himself to,” says Bart.


There was no doubt the field of entertainment and writing was one where Ryan wanted to be in. So, instead of giving up his dream of becoming a writer, Ryan signed with Pulse Publishing, and thus Barking Madness was made into a reality.


So what are the reviews? Multiple student and faculty members here at Pentucket have read Ryan’s novel and have many good things to say about it.


Sophomore Autumn West enjoys the unexpected plot twist and states, “The book is really thrilling.” She also warns that the worst will happen in the book, and you will read it with sweaty palms.


Pentucket’s librarian Ms. Costello also read the book and says she was excited about reading a former student’s published work. Her review? In spite of her lack of interest in the female character, she says “I actually think the male characters are well developed. I think the author has an authentic teen voice.”


Like food, there are different books for different people. However, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers, Beowulf, or anything by Stephen King, then definitely pick up an (electronic) copy of Barking Madness by Ryan Hill.