Young Citizen: Ilford author Adreen, 14, writes about loneliness and love

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 December 2018

Adreen Fernando, 14, has published her very first book which deals in the tops of mental health. Photo: Adreen Fernando

Adreen Fernando, 14, has published her very first book which deals in the tops of mental health. Photo: Adreen Fernando


An Ilford 14-year-old who overcame loneliness by writing a 700-page epic tale dealing with the subject of mental health is this week’s Young Citizen nominee.

Adreen Fernando, who goes to Ursuline Academy, in Morland Road, published her debut novel “The Heartbreaker’s Dare” in September this year.

“It is a whole new plot twist in my life,” she said, on how it feels to be a published author.

“It feels really different but in a good way.”

The novel traces the story of childhood best friends Derek and April, whose friendship falls apart aged 10 when a traumatic event causes Derek personality to change completely.

But their relationship is rekindled after Derek’s friend Theo dares him to try and win her heart and then turn her down.

He carries out step one of the plan but, unexpectedly, falls in love with April and decides against dumping her.

The book deals in themes of suicide, depression, self-harm and religion as the couple share their darkest secrets with one another.

Asked what inspired her, she said: “Today there are so many people suffering from mental illnesses.

“And during secondary school I felt a bit down too.”

“Writing was a real release.”

She spent two years writing the book, squirrelling away spare moments when she was not studying or revising for exams.

She initially published her story on website Wattpad where it gained more than 4m views, she said, after which publishers became interested in her work.

Adreen hopes to break into the world of journalism after she finishes school.

Her mum Majalla Rochelle Gomez nominated her for the Young Citizen Award.

“I am so proud of her that through her book she is helping other teenagers,” she said.

The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award is about celebrating the amazing young people in our borough.

It is run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club, and sponsored by The Exchange shopping centre, Ilford, which provides each monthly winner with a £30 gift card. The Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned at the Mayor’s Community Awards.

You can nominate any person from Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing

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