Roland West, Loner
High school can be tough on any kid, but it's worse for a loner.
2nd place winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association Teen & YA Book Awards
Despised by his older twin brothers, new to River Run High, friendless, and the subject of cruel rumors ... Roland West has a plan. He wants to get his tutor back and avoid high school by proving himself on his father's upcoming assignment in Italy. Before the trip and while his father is away, he must avoid falling victim to his brothers' schemes. To get free from his brothers' first trap, he ends up accepting the help of Peter Brandt, a kid from school who lives nearby. Not sure if he can trust Peter, he finds himself drawn to Peter’s inheritance, an old, mysterious, locked box. The secret of the inheritance may have the power to change the life of this loner.
"Roland West, Loner is a stellar teen novel!"
~Carolyn Astfalk, author of Stay With Me
"If I was allowed to choose only one novel this year that was not only sheer delight to read, but also had the most profound impact on my spiritual life, it would be - without a shadow of a doubt - Roland West, Loner. I wish I could give this book to every Catholic teen I know (and their parents too!)."
~Susan Peek, author of Saint Magnus, The Last Viking
"Have you ever been surprised by a book that people say, "You gotta read this" and then, you find that it doesn't measure up to your expectations? Well...this is NOT that kind of book. I started reading this book and within 2 pages, I knew I had so many question that needed to be answered. That's a sign of a good writer. It was captivating. Unfortunately, my teenage son took the book from me and devoured the book (not literally!).
So, I had to wait a few days before I could get it back (since, technically it was his book anyway) This book was also well written in that it flowed without too much useless information that weighs the reader down before you get to the meat of the book. It was meat after meat, with just enough side dishes to make it a delicious read.
It had a good amount of tension to make you want to come back for more. It was respectful with zero swearing and inappropriate behavior which authors so often feel they need to add in order to sell their book. In Theresa's case, the content sells the book.
In faith based books, I often find things too predictable....you do xyz and God responds with the appropriate response. Kind of like a cotton candy fluffy "nothing bad ever happens to those who believe" kind of story telling. To me, that is offensive. Faith isn't like that at all. God's not a puppet that we play or use for our own selfish motivations. The way that Theresa handles faith in this book is much more realistic to life and does not leave you with any unrealistic expectations about your faith. She's not preachy, so it's reachable to those who have no faith, but she treats matters of faith in a respectful way so that you are left with a good taste in your mouth and a shot in the arm for your own faith. It also gently invites you to come back to God if you are away."
~Katie Baker, founder of Mary's Remedies