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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Divided Loyalties by Vikk Simmons

Divided Loyalties by Vikk Simmons
Publisher: Awestruck Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Before John Higheagle came into her life, sixteen year old Trisha Braedon thought she had it all under control: school, her college scholarship, and her parents divorce. But the gentle, charming newcomer, with his environmental causes and crusading spirit, isn't like anyone Trisha had ever known.

Gossipy and amusing, Divided Loyalties, drops us right into the deep end with young Trish Lee. She’s a good student with plans for college, a good friend, and an interest in the one guy should probably stay away from.

Jon Higheagle, eco-nut extraordinaire, does not know when to quit. Trish knows from the first her family will detest him, that Nita is already interested in him… and that his goals, chiefly for the environment, are admirable. His approach--whether arguing with the lunch lady or taking to the picket line-–worries her some.

Funnily enough, the two are similar in some ways, neither completely recognizing that the other is equally driven. Trish is a very responsible person with a serious goal of a college scholarship. Jon is driven by environmental concerns and a desire to pull the community into more environmental awareness. The background for this story--the high school and the events around the ‘green’ movement--are offered in a wonderful, fresh way. You won’t stop wondering what will happen next.

Friendships are vital and Trish and Nita’s bantering is incredibly real and believable. The more intense Trish is, the more devoted to work, school and grades, the more Nita tells her to ‘lighten up some.’

Occasional explanations of our main characters' thoughts/reflections threaten to slow the pace at certain points. Trish’s relationship with her mother is never effectively shown, nor do we understand their various ‘misunderstandings’, although these are described on several occasions. However, the always engaging dialogue really carries the story. A slow moment here or there is not too much of a distraction, as so much about this tale is unpredictable and unexpected.

Simmons' conversational style brings all that was familiar about high school back into sharp focus. Somehow, its all a lot more entertaining through the eyes of Trish and her friends, than I remember it actually being! You don’t have to be a young reader to enjoy Divided Loyalties.

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