Friday, April 29, 2016

Young Adult Female Hero Stars in The Crossroad Guardian by Allice Rippley!

Living in a city half populated by gang bangers and criminals isn’t easy. Most young girls my age use the buddy system and are in their homes before dark. Some carry pepper spray or a taser in their purses. I guess each person has their own way of ensuring their safety. In Crossroads, Virginia, one of the most infamous gangs in the United States was created. The Crimson Shadow Gang is known for its brutality and lack of mercy. 
I’m known for the same thing.

I slide my purple hoody over my shoulders and place a half mask over my eyes. I pull my striped, cream colored scarf over my mouth and place my long bow across my body, the string secured between my breasts and handle between my shoulder blades. My backpack is placed over my bow, containing chalk, rope, and sharpened arrows. Finally, I put on my leather combat boots over my black leggings and place four sleek black throwing knives around the boots, two hidden on the inside, two latched on the outside.
I exit my house and skulk up and down the abandoned downtown streets. Nobody in this town is arrogant enough to roam the streets past dark, unless of course they are the predators. I listen down each alleyway for voices and finally come upon one full of them. I silently pull two knives from my boots and eavesdrop on the conversation. 
“You know the price,” one voice says angrily 
“Man, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” another voice says exasperatedly. 
“Then you’re obviously useless.” I hear a click and immediately pounce into the alleyway, side arming the knife in my left hand in the direction of the gun. It hits the barrel and the man drops it, looking in my direction. I wave with the knife in my right hand. The man who dropped the gun grins at me and I grimace at his rotting teeth. “Do you own a toothbrush?” I ask disgusted.
The man’s grin tightens into a scowl. “Actually, I might have one in here,” I pull my backpack from my back and set it in front of me. I make obvious eye contact with the victim and nod my head in the direction of the alleyway entrance. He nods in understanding, I pull the quiver from my bag and place it over my shoulders. I kick the bag toward the brick wall. 
“I ought to teach you some respect, girl,” the man grinds out.
I walk to him and stop two feet away. “Do you know who I am?” I ask. 
“Yeah. That’s why I brought them,” he says, pointing behind him. I look in the direction his thumb is pointing and see three figures heading in our direction from the end of the alleyway. 
“Go,” I say to the boy. He turns and runs from the fight. I smile and look the man dead in the eye. “More fun for me,” I say and throw a quick roundhouse kick to his chest. He falls backwards and collides with the brick wall. I pick up my knife and throw the gun in my belt. Let the real fun begin. Within ten minutes, I had each man on the ground and no bruises to show for it. Four grown men against one 5’2 teenage girl should have been a difficult fight, but in reality, it was a one sided battle. I tie each man's hands together individually, then knot each set of hands together. I pull the chalk from my bag and hold the glow in the dark blue in my left hand. Yes, I’m left handed. On the brick wall I write the letter “J” in chalk and call a tip into the cops. I check behind each mans ear and see the symbol behind each one; the gang symbol. A small line is tattooed behind each right ear.

The Crossroads Guardian

By Allice Rippley

When a gang takes over a community, everybody becomes frightened, staying inside...sometimes, even wishing for a hero... But that was not the reason that Dana had single-handedly started going against gang members... It was to avenge her brother...

At school, she always wore her hoodie and loose clothes, trying to never attract anybody's attention. So far, covering her face had kept her avenger activities a secret... That was until she had come across a teenage boy who had been bothered by a gang member and when she'd heard a click, she moved in, gained control and signaled for the boy to leave...

Until, later, when she was heading home, someone came up behind her, stating that he knew she was the one who had saved him... Dana was dazed, he was only "the most sought after bad-boy at East Crossroads High." Still, she thought he was safe until as she went on toward her house, saying, "Thank you Dana..."

I am indeed confident, 
though nobody at this school helps my 
confidence. People often call me ugly
 and worthless, but I know that I’m not ugly.
I know I am far from worthless. 
I just feel more comfortable smarting
 off to criminals rather than smarting off
 to teenagers with no apparent reason
 for being rude
She immediately stopped, went back to where he stood and threatened him...

Dana puts on a major front--and deserves to with the types of skills she has achieves, as taught by her brother. But no matter, what, she is totally alone, on her own, and not only handling her own needs, but has been working for two months to move against gang members in the act of some type of violence.

Interestingly, she performs no violence, merely gaining control via her speed, skill, and then expert rope tying... She leaves the men tied up and calls the police with the address where they can be found.

Now, however, things have changed. When a bully girl recently tried to get her to do her homework, Dana had it handled, but before it was over Eli had pulled the girl away, and pushed her away from Dana...It was kinda funny really...

“Oh, hi Eli,” she says to her assailant, twirling a strand of bleach blonde hair around her finger. I look up to Eli and scowl. I just had to save the bad-boy. 
“Sue, leave her alone,” he says seductively. I groan and turn away. Before I am able to get out of reach, Eli’s hand grasps my arm and holds me in place. With one quick maneuver I could break his arm, but I decide to wait instead.
 “Awe, but Eli. You know she’s nobody. It doesn’t matter.” Her harsh words cause me to physically wince. I’m the same nobody that saved her from losing everything to a creep...
Eli leans into her until he is directly in her face. “She matters more than you,” he whispers. He pulls my arm and leads me toward the schools front door, leaving Sue gawking and being primped by her friend. His thoughtful words echo in my mind, but I force a passive look on my face.

It must have been especially hard for Dana to accept the bullying at school, from, especially, those who she have saved during her skulking in dark places, to save those need her help from the gang...She did get a little snarky but, you know, when you're a community hero, those of us...readers...enjoy her defending herself and refused to give in to bullies, even though she looked like the perfect one in school to be picked on!

Eli, however, was not going to leave her side and slowly each of their feelings grew and Dana even agree to help train him--he had almost demanded that he go out with her to protect her, especially when he learned that her parents had been killed... Guys are funny, like that, don't you think, especially since Dana could easily put him down and tie him up like a calf...LOL

I enjoyed this quick read. The story was perfect for young girls who are looking to stand up on their own. It might not be as a vengeful hero, but, since I know how my niece did so well in martial arts, I am a supporter of teens getting into something like this to be able to physically handle potentially dangerous situations... 

And it's always nice to find a young man who respects your goals and ambitions as Eli did. Please check this out for your young adult readers. It is one that I am happy to recommend...

Before I can comprehend what’s happening,
 my back is pressed into the front door and his breath is dancing on my lips.
 “Have you ever just known when someone was made for you?” he asks huskily. 
I lean into the door for support and meet his perfect green orbs
 with my desperate brown ones. “I think so,” I whisper. 
His lips gently brush mine, leaving me craving so much more.

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