When naivety plays tricks with a young soul 

Source: When naivety plays tricks with a young soul –Newsday Zimbabwe

The novel, presented in action style, is Mukwembi’s debut effort. It opens with an innocent girl, Nicole Leap excited to start a new life after the tragic loss of her father.

THE novel Pressure for Approval by rising novelist Kudzai Nicole Mukwembi is an interesting narration of events written in a manner that pushes the reader to the next chapter.

The novel, presented in action style, is Mukwembi’s debut effort. It opens with an innocent girl, Nicole Leap excited to start a new life after the tragic loss of her father.

Things take a sudden twist.

Apart from the sad intonation and uncertainty in the first chapter, the novelist presents the prospect of finding hope in places one could never imagine.

In this regard, Leap found love at school.

Mukwembi in Chapter 1 shows Leap struggling to adapt to a new environment and attraction for Adrian, a boy she had just met at the new school. The author conveys how Leap was hesitant and anxious as to why Adrian had taken a special interest in her.

From the tone of the conversation, it appears Leap was yearning for Adrian who had a reputation of being too cold a character.

As she battled between her feelings for Adrian and how the other girls felt about her, Leap experienced mixed emotions which depict someone desperate to be accepted in a new environment and to find love and comfort in the arms of a man after losing her father.

The author’s use of visual imagery in most chapters highlights the various tides of emotions Leap was going through, especially when she realised that Adrian was from a rich family.

While Leap knew that Adrian was from an elite family, she, however, had no idea how rich his family was. This is shown when Leap said she could not believe her eyes because she had noticed a big mansion with a lot of luxurious cars parked outside.

The author’s use of words like “dragged me” and “kissed” during Leap and Adrian’s conversation soon after being introduced to the boy’s aunt suggests a strong attraction between the two, even though their friendship was still fresh with no romance intonations.

The friendship between the two,  however, escalated and Adrian made a dramatic announcement during a family event that he would soon marry Leap.

After the announcement, Leap could hear people mumbling and the drama began to unfold.

Leap was taken aback, wondering whether Adrian was in love for real or there was a hidden agenda. She glared at Adrian and asked what he had said.

Adrian’s response in Leap’s ear was that he needed help to convince his family that he would get married soon. He claimed it was for family reasons.

Leap promised to think about it and get back to him. Days passed and the two started getting along.

Then came a sudden turn of events; Leap’s ex-boyfriend, Derrick enters. He is a police officer and the situation could not be weirder.

The novelist painted a vivid picture of shock and conflict engulfing an already emotionally struggling Leap.

The novel captures the realities of the 21st generation caught in between love triangles mired in secrecy.

In modern-day street lingo, this is what they term mjolo.

Leap’s fairy tale was short-lived after Adrian’s true colours began to show. He cheated on poor Leap and she was broken.

Adrian was making out with a girl who had just transferred to their school, but no one knew a lot about her  because she was aloof.

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