Mia Scaletta’s love of reading led her to try her hand at the writing craft, and now that hard work has paid off.

The 15-year-old’s first book, “Into the Darkness,” has made it into print.

“It is very validating to have a book published,” the Greater Johnstown freshman said.

“Into the Darkness” is about a group of friends facing a tragedy when one character’s younger sibling goes missing.

While searching for the child, the friends begin to learn hidden, supernatural information about their town and themselves.

Scaletta said there are “many twists and turns” in the story.

She began the process of publishing her book through Dorrance Publishing Co. in 2019 when she was an eighth-grader.

Scaletta said some points of the journey were long and difficult, but overall, the experience was enjoyable.

Aside from getting her book published, the student said she enjoys every aspect of writing.

Her favorite genre to work in is young adult literature.

Scaletta recently held a book signing at the high school, organized by the faculty, including her journalism teacher, Emily Lebron.

“I’ve only worked with Mia for a short time this year, but she has shown that she is a very smart and dedicated student,” Lebron said. “She cares about her academics and extracurricular activities, but she also has the determination to work hard outside of school for what she wants to do, like writing and publishing a novel, and it’s an inspiring thing to see.”

Michael Dadey, high school principal, is the one who suggested the book signing, and Lebron and teacher Eric Wentz set it up.

Prior to the event, the two educators came up with a digital form of “Into the Darkness” and had more than 50 staff members purchase copies.

During the signing, Scaletta provided a reading from her book, and physical editions were raffled off.

“I think it’s an amazing accomplishment to have a book published, especially at such a young age,” Lebron said.

“Our goal as teachers is to try to cultivate writing skills that progress beyond classroom assignments, and Mia took that initiative head-on when she started working on this on her own time ...

“Writing is something that should also be celebrated and recognized because, despite what some might think, it is not an easy skill to master. It takes hard work, constant practice, and dedication, and Mia demonstrated all of those skills.”

Scaletta’s book can be purchased from www.dorrancepublishing.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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