Across the Pond is Storyheart’s first successful attempt at writing novels for the teens to seniors. This novel features the interplay of teenage romantic and friendly relationships and highlights the coming-of-age love story of a fifteen-year old adolescent from England.
The protagonist, Fred Squire, is leaving his country and will be on a vacation in the US for the first time. And he is definitely not delighted about it. Everything changed when he met Brit, the attractive American girl who helped him adapt to the US way of life and awakened his pangs of affection.
But will Fred and Brit’s budding romance stand through the test of time? Will their cultural differences become a test to their feelings? What happens when Fred goes back to England?
Witness the unexpected yet thrilling twists and turns as the story unfolds.
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ACROSS THE POND
Finding himself packed off to friends in the USA, fifteen-year-old English born Fred Squire is not happy.
Then he meets Brittany.
Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit’s flirtatious friend, Angel.
Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred's world is turned upside down.
Life continues to throw Fred a curve ball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family BBQ, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred's American adventure.
“Brit and her Brit”, know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England. But not before some final twists in the tale.
It is a book for the young and young at heart.
Read by many, enjoyed by even more.
Across The Pond
Burrrdonk! The wheels locked as the plane descended toward the airport.
Fred tried to look out the window, but the constraint of the seatbelt and the large woman taking up most of the seat next to him, blocked his view.
At least she’s stopped snoring.
He was not sure which had been worse—the noise when she’d slept, or when she was awake and continually asking questions. Where’s he going? Was he traveling alone? Had he flown before? She’d gone on and on until in the end he had put on his headphones and ignored her. Even those, however, had not drowned out her snoring.
The journey had not been without problems---the cramped space and strong smell of garlic, both of which were due to the passenger next to him. His dinner tray had nearly ended up in his lap when the man in front of him decided to recline his seat. Still, he’d watched a few good films, including one his parents wouldn’t have been happy about him seeing. He grinned. They were on their way to Australia, so they would never know.
They had won a contest. A "Dream Holiday for Two to Australia." Unfortunately, the package didn’t include additional accommodation and airfare for their fourteen, well, almost fifteen-year-old son. Fred had been pretty upset about not being able to go with them.
Instead, after a long and sometimes heated discussion, Fred had been given the choice of a trip to the U.S.A or being sent to his grandparents in Scotland.
Fred had reluctantly agreed to visit his parents' friend Phil and his family in America or "Across the Pond" as his father called it.
Phil had been the best man at his parents’ wedding, before moving to the U.S. twelve years ago. Fred’s father explained that with the dollar being so low against the pound, the cost of a return ticket to America was cheaper than getting a train ticket to his grandparents. Also, it would help Fred with a school project, another item to the dampeners on his trip. Still, if he did a good job on his work, his parents had promised him an X-box.
The plane hit an air pocket and dropped a little, making Fred’s stomach remember the last few cans of free cola he’d consumed.
A flight attendant came by, checking that everybody’s seat belts were fastened.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
Fred gave a nod and attempted a smile, afraid that if he tried to talk a belch would come out instead.
"Nearly there," she said. "I’ll make sure somebody looks after you once we land."
Before Fred knew it, a “bump" -- followed by the reverse-thrust of the jets-- announced the aircraft had landed.
Once the plane rolled to a stop, and the seatbelt signs went out, the rush started to get bags out of the overhead compartment. Fred ducked as a large bag nearly took his head off. Biting back a comment as the woman from the next seat pushed him in the back, Fred stepped into the aisle. At once he wished he hadn’t. Bags hit him on the legs and his feet were trodden on. He felt attacked from all sides.
Another flight attendant must have noticed his discomfort, because she pushed her way down the aisle towards him, a clipboard in her hand.
"Are you Frederick Squire?" she asked, glancing at her list.
"Yeah, I’m ‘FRED’ Squire," he replied. He hated being called Frederick.
“I’m Mandy,” she said. “They’re busy at the gate so I’ll take you through to the arrivals lounge. I can never understand why there’s such a rush to leave the plane.” She led Fred through the line of passengers waiting to disembark.
“There's still a wait for customs, and then for your luggage-- it really doesn’t matter if you’re the first or last off the plane."
Fred looked back to where the large lady still struggled to get her bag from the overhead locker, and now blocked the whole aisle. He grinned. “I totally agree.”
Mandy led Fred through the throng of passengers arriving from all over the world.
“Is this the first time you’ve flown?” she asked.
Not again… “Hmmm, no, I’ve traveled before with my parents on holiday in Europe, but I’ve never been to the U.S. before.” Though I’d rather be in Australia!
“Okay,” she said, stopping at the end of a long line of people. “So you have an idea about going through customs and passport control?”
Fred nodded, he’d expected some delay, but the length of the single-line queues took him by surprise.
After what seemed like hours of waiting, he got to the customs desk, and Fred handed over his passport and forms. Surprisingly, his fingerprints and photo were taken.
Mandy smiled "Been like this since 9/11. Anybody coming into the U.S. has to be registered. “
Based on the American shows and films Fred had seen on English TV, he thought he knew what to expect. However, to actually see police openly walking around with guns made him stare. They passed a few shops. Just like the stores at Heathrow Airport. The same books and sweets--though here the souvenirs were of the Statue of Liberty and New York yellow cabs, rather than Big Ben, double-decker buses, and the black cabs of London.
Finally, after what seemed an age, they collected his luggage, and Mandy escorted a tired and nervous Fred out into the noisy arrivals lounge.
Fred was unsure what to expect, or who to expect. He’d seen pictures of Phil and his wife Julie, so had some idea of what they looked like.
Should I call them Uncle and Auntie?
They had a daughter, Brittany, who must be about his age; as she’d been three when they’d moved to the U.S.
What will she be like? All the American teenage girls I’ve seen on TV are blond, tanned, and live in places like Beverly Hills. What about my clothes; will she laugh at them?
He really wasn’t into the ‘grunge’ look or anything like that. His normal jeans, trainers, sports tops, and sweatshirts were about all he’d packed. his Mother though, had insisted that he take one decent change of clothes. “In case you get taken out somewhere special.”
More nervous of meeting Brittany than Phil and Julie, his hands felt sweaty, and he could feel his shirt sticking to his back.
He spotted Phil holding a large sign with “Fred” on it. Along side he noticed a girl, whom he guessed, must be Brittany. To his relief she didn’t look any different from many of the girls he knew in England. She was about his height, slim with short fair hair, the jeans and sweatshirt she wore almost matching his own.
No worries about my clothes! Just hope she’s not like one of the Beverly Hills spoiled brats.
Mandy asked Phil to sign a form saying Fred had arrived safely, and with a “Have a nice day,” she left.
Shesssh, I’m in America now. “Have a nice day.” I wonder how many times I’ll hear that during this trip.
Fred felt like a FedEx Parcel, having to be signed for this way, but he supposed it was necessary for security purposes.
“Well, Fred,” Phil said picking up the cases. “How was your trip? Never mind. You can tell me in the car. I expect you’re tired after such a long journey. By the way, just call me Phil.”
Grabbing his hand luggage, Fred tried to keep up with Phil as he charged off through the crowds. He looked at Brittany who rolled her eyes in the direction of her father.
“Hi, I’m Brittany, but you can call me Brit. All my friends do. Please, no jokes about ‘Brit with a Brit’, that’s been worn out already. Don’t worry about Dad; he’s always like this, dashing around a mile a minute.”
“Thanks Brit, just call me Fred.”
Fred smiled. It seemed his previous worries about Brit were totally unfounded. She looks like she can be fun, and, she’s quite a hottie.
Soon they were out of the airport and in the car park, or “parking lot” as Phil called it. They stopped at a very large car, or at least large compared to the ones Fred was used to seeing.
“I’ll help you put the luggage into the boot.” Fred said.
Brit looked at Fred, her nose wrinkling in a quizzical manner, “The what?”
Phil laughed, “Fred means the ‘trunk’, it’s called the boot in England. Your Dad e-mailed me about some sort of school project you have to work on while you’re here Fred, about the differences in the languages, right?”
“Yeah,” Fred said with a grimace. “I don’t want to do it, but a new X-Box is the bait for me to get a good report.”
Brit rolled her eyes again, something Fred found quite attractive. That and the way she wrinkled her nose.
“A school project?”
“That’s what my teacher said, anyway,” Fred gasped as he struggled with his suitcase. “Gotta make a list of all the words I find that are different in this country.” He kicked an imaginary stone. “Of course my parents thought it a great idea… Some holiday!”
Fred got into the car and sat next to Brit, feeling a little self-conscious about being so close to her, hoping he didn’t smell too bad after his travels. He felt very tired as the jet lag of the journey started to wash over him. Yawning, he struggled to remove a notebook from his pocket.
“Here, sleepy head, let me,” said Brit taking the book from Fred, who was too tired to complain. “No time like the present to start your list. What have we got so far?”
Carefully she drew a line down the center of the page and wrote.
ENGLISH - BOOT AMERICAN -TRUNK
ENGLISH – CAR PARK AMERICAN – PARKING LOT
Phil never seemed to stop talking during to drive home. Soon the endless chatter and journey had Fred’s eyes almost closed. Suddenly Brit jabbed her elbow into Fred’s ribs, making him jolt awake.
“What the… Err… Pardon…” Fred said trying to come to.
Phil laughed, “Okay Fred, I guess you really must be tired after your long trip. And of course your body clock is still working on English time. I just asked if you found it funny driving on the right hand side of the road.”
“Nahh.” Fred said trying to wake up. “We’ve driven in Europe loads of times, and they all drive on the right.” Suddenly he grabbed the seat “Bloody Hell!”
Phil stopped the car and looked round.
“Are you all right?” Brit asked.
“Err, sorry” Fred replied sheepishly. “But, you just drove through a red light.”
Phil laughed and started the car up again. “It’s okay Fred, in the U.S. unless is says not to, you can turn right at a red stop light, or traffic light as you call them.”
“Sheeesh,” Fred said. “My parents have enough trouble with round-a-bouts in France; they’d have a conniption with people driving through red lights.
Brit sighed. “Okay Fred, what the heck has a round-a-bout to do with driving, I thought it was like a merry-go-round?”
Phil let out another of his “told you so” chuckles. “Brit, we call them rotary’s over here. That will be another couple of words for Fred to put in his book.”
The teenagers looked at each other and smiled.
At that moment they passed a group of boys standing at the side of the road. Brit’s smile faded from her face and she shrank down in her seat as if trying not to be seen.
It was a tired and slightly puzzled Fred who fell into bed a short time later.
A strange country, where people drive through red lights and half the language is different. A girl who can make me smile just by rolling her eyes. And what is it with Brit and that group of boys?
The book has now received 50 reviews at Amazon since October 2008. people of all ages are enjoying the book.