If you’re up to date with our posts, you’d know that my boyfriend bought me a subscription to Mr B’s Emporium for my birthday this year. That’s a book a month tailored to my tastes and hand picked by a member of staff. I’ve been so excited about this gift, and at the beginning of the month i got my first book in the post, Guard Your Heart by Sue Divin!
Honestly, i’d not heard of this before it arrived on my doorstep. It’s a new YA release by MacMillan Kids, and at first glace seemed right up my street. Two characters, Aidan and Iona meet under unfortunate circumstances in Ireland. Both are Irish, one Catholic and one Protestant. With very different beliefs, and very different family lives, everything is against them being friends. But they really want to make that happen.
Without a doubt, this book is something i’d like from a first look. YA sort of romance, sort of drama, sort of educational. Something i’m very in to. I really ended up enjoying the story of this and i definitely learnt a lot about the history of Ireland than i ever thought i would. It’s very detailed and indepth in the places you want it to be. Everything is explained, and given reason, which is perfectly done and not overwhelming. The education wasn’t shoehorned in, it fit perfectly and i really enjoyed the amount that i took away from this book.
I also loved the characters. Aidan and his family especially felt incredibly real and were well written and executed. Everyone had different personalities, and the writing lent itself to showing off those personalities well. I really enjoyed learning more about Aidan’s brother, and his relationship with his Aunt was really lovely to see develop.
For me, the main aspects of the story wasn’t the romance. Yes it’s there, as you can imagine with a YA novel. But it doesn’t feel like the main focus and definitely isn’t the thing that i’ll take away from reading Guard Your Heart. One thing i really enjoyed about the romance was the fact that both of the teens were slightly older. They were both moving off to University, which meant more so than other YA, they had their lives together a little bit more. This sense of maturity really worked well with the storyline and how that played out. I think if these characters were a little younger it wouldn’t have read as believeable. For me personally, the age of the characters has a massive impact on the situation they’re in and what’s happening in the story so i’m really glad this fit very nicely for me.
I ended up really loving this novel and i’m excited to see what else Sue comes out with in the future. It felt very unique and interesting for a YA novel, something i’d not read about before. I think for a first pick Mr B’s got it perfectly. It’s something i don’t know if i’d have picked up myself but i definitely enjoyed. I’m very excited to see what comes next month!