Title: Guard Your Heart
Author: Sue Divin
Pages: 337 Pages
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Boy meets girl on the Northern Irish border in Guard Your Heart, by Sue Divin.
Derry. Summer 2016. Aidan and Iona, now eighteen, were both born on the day of the Northern Ireland peace deal.
Aidan is Catholic, Irish, and Republican. With his ex-political prisoner father gone and his mother dead, Aidan’s hope is pinned on exam results earning him a one-way ticket out of Derry. To anywhere.
Iona, Protestant and British, has a brother and father in the police. She’s got university ambitions, a strong faith and a fervent belief that boys without one track minds are a myth.
At a post-exam party, Aidan wanders alone across the Peace Bridge and becomes the victim of a brutal sectarian attack. Iona witnessed the attack; picked up Aidan’s phone and filmed what happened, and gets in touch with him to return the phone. When the two meet, alone and on neutral territory, the differences between them seem insurmountable.
Both their fathers held guns, but safer to keep that secret for now.
Despite their differences and the secrets they have to keep from each other, there is mutual intrigue, and their friendship grows. And so what? It’s not the Troubles. But for both Iona and Aidan it seems like everything is keeping them apart , when all they want is to be together . . .
Guard Your Heart is a modern day Romeo and Juliet story set in Ireland that shows the modern day impact of the troubles and how years of prejudice still runs rife in the country. In this story Aiden (a catholic) and Iona (a protestant) are thrown together when Aiden is attacked and Iona films it on her phone. She manages to stop the attack by threatening to go to the police with the evidence. Iona and Aiden’s love story starts with this one act of selflessness.
Among this story of forbidden love, prejudice, and religion is a story of class difference. How a persons station in life is determined by so many different factors and the hopelessness that you feel can be overwhelming.
Overall, I really liked Guard Your Heart. At times, I did feel the pacing of the story was a bit slow but the final third of the novel had me reading as fast as I could and making me lose my breath. The sign of great writing in my opinion.
Guard Your Heart by Sue Divin is available now.
For more information regarding Sue Divin (@absolutelywrite) please visit www.suedivin.com.
For more information regarding Macmillan Children’s Books (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.