will be Storyheart, the author of the new release across the pond. In this novel of young romance, teenage Fred Squire is sent by his parents to spend time with family friends in America. During the flight from England, he holds nothing for resentment towards his parents as they enjoy their own vacation in Australia. But, these feelings change when he meets Brittany and finds love in the very home he will be staying. Storyheart takes the readers through a story that is filled with the very real emotions of first love, amusing discoveries of cultural differences, and a fight for a girl's honor.
Storyheart is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations, where his wit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee. across the pond is his first publication aimed at a younger audience.
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Title of Document: Book Review
Book Title: across the pond
ISBN Number: 978-1-4363-7176-6
Publisher: Xlibris Press
Genre and Target Market: young adult; romance; fiction
Publication Date: 2008
Book Length in Pages: 114
There have been a number of books that have been published over the past decade that are primarily geared towards teenagers but have come to enjoy great appeal with their parents as well. Both the Harry Potter and Twilight series of novels come to mind when I consider works that would fit into such a category. Mothers can claim they waited in long lines at the bookstore for the sake of their young daughters, but I know the truth is they could not wait to get their own hands on the next installment of these popular young adult novels. I think it is wonderful when reading a common book can create conversation and a shared interest between generations. Author Storyheart, who is already an accomplished writer of online romance stories and a previous book for adults, has just published a novel about teenagers that I believe will become one of those special books that can bridge age gaps in a home. Across the pond is an innocent love story that I thoroughly enjoyed even as a mother in her thirties. It reminded me of the young adult romances I used to swoon over when I was in junior high. A charming boy from a foreign land protects you from bullies, is adored by your friends but completely loyal to you, and meets complete parental approval after proving himself to be an upstanding young man? What could be better?
Storyheart is a native of England who left his country almost a decade ago to be with the woman who would become his wife. He uses his own upbringing to bring to life Fred Squire, the main character in across the pond. Fred is sent by his parents, who do not have room for him in their travel plans to Australia, to vacation with family friends in the United States. He is initially unhappy with being cast away to spend a couple of weeks with strangers, but his attitude quickly changes when he is introduced to the teenage daughter of the house, Brittany. The author of across the pond perfectly captures the overwhelming series of emotions that only occur during that first blush of young love. Every brush that a hand makes against your crush’s leg, the sideways glances that are given to see what your new boyfriend is doing, and the endless self-doubt over every word spoken are fundamentals of any young romance, and this book has them all. The two adolescents quickly become confidants and what then transpires is a touching, modern … and refreshingly age-appropriate … love story.
The author has a lot of fun throughout the novel playing up the unique cultural features on each side of the Atlantic. Most notable is his inclusion of Fred’s school project, in which the British student must keep a journal of how the Americans and the English use different words for the same object (nappy vs. diapers, trolley vs. cart, etc.). These shorts lists are posted throughout across the pond and should make for a fun point of discussion among readers. The author also creates an entire secondary plot around the sacred American pastime of baseball. After Fred catches the ball which marked the 500th run of a star player, the media and fan chaos that ensues proves utterly confusing for a young man who just minutes before had been discussing the rules of cricket. These storyline components, along with subtle comments made about the large portions of food that Americans eat and the mega malls with every store imaginable, provide interesting insight into how visitors to our country may view their surroundings. Across the pond takes the common tactic of introducing a charming stranger with a romantic accent and goes a step further by creating a smart integration of cultural awareness.
Across the pond is a new novel for young adults that celebrates the innocence and very real nature of first loves. The author Storyheart shows his obvious background as a writer of romance stories and does a masterful job of adapting the genre to a juvenile audience. However, despite the target age group, I believe that readers of all ages will be drawn to the characters in this book and the strength that they show through a wide range of emotional situations. This is the first effort by Storyheart to join the already crowded offering of teen romance novels that can be found at your neighborhood and online bookstores. The compelling story created by the author will quickly separate across the pond from the pack. If Storyheart chooses to publish more novels that bring back sweet memories from my youth, he can know that I will be reading them.