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A Test of Loyalty: Mechanicsville book 1
by Laurie Stewart

I highly recommend you have your teens read A Test of Loyalty by Laurie Stewart." Gale S. Isolation... you can feel alone in the most crowded places. Change... it's the only thing you can count on. Loyalty.... who deserves yours? Told in first person, this is the story of three teenagers growing up in Mechanicsville, a bad neighbourhood in Canada's capital. Surrounded by drugs, sexual assault, poverty, and peer pressure. Separated by race, religion, and distrust, they must learn to trust each other. When the unthinkable happens, what changes can they survive?

Part 1
Samantha

Beginnings

Samantha
We moved on a Saturday in late August. I hated the place from the moment the U-Haul pulled up. I couldn’t believe how filthy it was; there was graffiti everywhere, even on the steps. At the bottom, they sunk into the ground lea...





Part 2
Ashleigh

Ashleigh
I was eager to see who’d be moving into Snake’s old apartment. Of course, I couldn’t let the others see; I’d look stupid, as eager as a little kid looking for someone new to play with. But the truth was, I was sick of my friends...





Part 3
Faraj, and Samantha

Faraj
I couldn’t believe those stupid girls. Standing around the porch stairs like they were the only ones who needed to use them. It was bad enough to see them smoking and drinking in public, like common whores, but then to force me to talk to them, by s...





Part 4
Ashleigh and Samantha

I snuck in the house as quietly as possible. Mom was on late shift, she’d left by four. That meant Jeff and I were alone.
I turned the key silently; I kept it rubbed with Vaseline just for this. My room was just past the living room, maybe twenty feet ...





Part 5
Samantha

Samantha
For the last eleven years, school started in September, the day after Labour Day. Starting in August seemed like such a cruel thing to do. Yet here I was, knowing that I had to get up at seven for the first time in two months. I should have been sleep...





Part 6
Ashleigh and Samantha

Ashleigh
Seven o’clock in the freaking morning. Whose idea was it to have a seven in the morning, anyway? Some sadistic government clerk probably.
My eyes felt like sandpaper, and my hair was plastered to my neck with sweat. Mom and Jeff had argued ha...





Part 7
Faraj

Faraj
“A decent man understands the difference between being friendly to his neighbours, and acting like a whore.”
She seemed angered by my comment, and here I was trying to help her see what she was doing wrong. Since she’d only just star...





Part 8
Samantha

I couldn’t believe it. He’d stolen all my papers. How was I supposed to finish registration if he took off with all my…. Oh no, I realized that I could be losing marks big time if I couldn’t get those papers replaced.
I had pretty much ...





Part 9
Ashleigh and Faraj

Ashleigh
“Stupid white bitch.” She just walked away, like she couldn’t see something was wrong. Little princess probably couldn’t see past her own blond perfect nose. Do I look okay? Do I look like there’s nothing wrong? No! Bu...





Part 10
Samantha and Ashleigh

Samantha
I couldn’t believe my mother! How dare she just brush me off like a five year old? Neither she nor Faraj’s grandmother wanted to hear anything I was saying about Ash. They’d rather keep talking about whatever stupid thing they were o...





Part 11
Ashleigh and Faraj

Ashleigh
I jiggled up and down on my toes; my grandfather would’ve said I had ants in my pants. I grimaced, the thought of anything in my pants right now made me feel sick.
What was taking white girl so long; she said she knew where the money was. I wo...





Part 12
Samantha and Ashleigh

Samantha

I was definitely not comfortable here.
Carrie Whitehorse wasn’t one of Ash’s two native friends that I’d met at the school. She was older, hard, cold. I instinctively disliked her, and didn’t trust her as far as I could t...





Part 13
Faraj

Faraj
Fadi certainly looked relaxed. Sitting in the library carrel with his feet up on the chair beside him, reading the paper. He had a pile of books on the table in front of him, but wasn’t paying them any attention.
I had a couple of history books u...





Part 14
Samantha and Ashleigh

Samantha
I looked at my watch again. What was taking so long? Were they growing the pot from seed? I started to feel certain that they had snuck out the back way, leaving me here.
I didn’t even know where we were. We’d followed the bike path fo...





Part 15
Faraj and Samantha

Faraj
“We’re alone, I checked.”
“Did you check under the stalls?”
There was a shuffling noise. I imagined them staring at my stall as if they could sense me here. My throat got dry, I had to cough. My nose itched. My head w...





Part 16
Ashleigh and Samantha

Samantha
Somehow we made it back to the bike path. I had no idea where we were going; I had never been so lost in my life. How could we be fifteen minutes from home, and be so totally lost? I just prayed that Ash knew where we were. No way was I calling my d...





Part 17
Samantha and Ashleigh

Samantha
Ash pushed, then tugged on the piece of metal mesh fence that ran across the opening to the old mine. I felt sure this was a dumb idea, but it was easier to just go along with it. Besides, I wanted her off the public path, she looked really stoned. I ...










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