Guard Your Heart

Sue Divin (Macmillan)

Guard Your Heart

Review by Max
Page-turner. A breathtaking book on the troubles faced in the North of Ireland, regarding the issues of hate-crime and silence, as well as the developing story of a victim and a witness. Wrong place at the wrong time turning into the right person at the right time is a beautiful sentiment of this story. A boy wanting to get out of his home town, and a girl with large educational ambitions come together as a force never seen before. 10/10

Review by Iona 
I really enjoyed reading this book as it is my kind of genre and I got to learn a lot about the Catholic and Protestant divide between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The character I found the most interesting was Iona because I love her capability to accept the other religion and to understand their side of the story and not just stick to her own. I also admired her honesty and the way she managed the situation compared to how many other would in her faith.

I learnt about such big divide that happened in Ireland and I learnt about how strong the views were between them. Before this book I had not really been aware of the religious divide between these two places, and I did not realise the severity of it. The plot was extremely exciting as it showed us the true side of the time without any filter and showed us what happened in this period in Ireland. This book has inspired me to look deeper into the rich heritage of countries near me that faced such divide.

I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 starts and would totally recommend if you like history, action, and a little bit of romance. 

Review by Millie
I wouldn’t say I particularly enjoyed this book; the writing style was uninteresting and on a basic level for a year 10+ book. The themes were more mature than the dialogue, which in turn was a bit dry. One of the main characters, Iona was very underdeveloped, in fact so were the majority of the side characters. I would like to have seen her as more of her own person without her character traits basing around the other main character Aidan. It was a typical setting of the 21st century. The concept was more interesting but wasn’t executed as well as it could be; the concept based on Irish and British religion conflict which is still very relevant. As a positive, it looks into slang and more real terminology. If you like a typical romance, you might enjoy this more than someone who reads thrillers and classics (myself). 

Review by Jiya
The character I found most interesting was Iona. Like me, she appeared to have her whole life planned out, but she had something new and unexpected thrust in front of her. She had to adapt, and she didn’t – as I’ve seen in other books – automatically know what to do (and if I’m anything to go off, that would've been hard enough).

A lot of people my age associate things like “The Troubles” to have been such a long time ago but, in reality, it’s really not. When I first opened the book, I had to do a double take that 18 years from the Good Friday agreement was 2016. It was interesting to see how present sectarianism was now, it seemed a lot closer. The book showed how deep it had flowed that 18 years on, it was still so prevalent and still rooted in people who wouldn’t actually remember them.

Something I enjoyed learning (perhaps a bit more than I should’ve) was the few phrases of Irish. I sat with Google Translate open on my phone while I read, frantically typing the phrases in. I’m not even sure why I enjoyed it so much, maybe just because I enjoy languages. 

The plot was serious and light-hearted. There was an element of seriousness in the fear of Aidan and Iona at being caught, seriousness straight away when Aidan gets assaulted, seriousness and serious moments spread through the plot. But when Iona and Aidan went to visit the university, when they were just… being them, it was easy to just sit and be happy for them.

I would definitely recommend the book to other pupils. Maybe I'm just a bit of a sucker for romance and any form of a Shakespeare retelling but I really, truly enjoyed it. I found myself picking it up at 9pm saying “1 chapter” and ending up working my way through 6 or 7 before I knew it.

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