Roland West, Loner by Theresa Linden
2nd-Place Winner - Catholic Press Association 2016
2016 Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval
High school can be tough on any kid, but it's worse for a loner.
Roland West, Loner is a contemporary Christian story about a fourteen-year-old boy who finds himself friendless at a new school and the subject of cruel rumors.
Roland lives with his father and older twin brothers in a secluded house that resembles a castle—complete with battlements, turrets, and a secret passageway. Finding it hard to make friends at school, Roland is excited to learn about his father’s upcoming trip to Italy. He hopes to go, but one of his brothers stands in his way and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. When Roland ends up locked in the cellar, a neighboring kid and his autistic brother stumble upon the secret passageway and rescue him. Struggling to trust his new friends, secrets, rumors, and an unusual inheritance put Roland on a journey that just might have the power to change the life of this loner.
Roland West, Loner is a Catholic YA novel centered around the relationships between brothers and friends. This book is especially great for Middle School and High School boys. Linden knows boys well and writes from this perspective perfectly.
I absolutely loved the development of the friendship between Roland and his neighbor Peter. Even though it’s titled Roland West, Peter had his own very interesting storyline and issues to overcome. The author fused the two boys’ storylines together brilliantly through an adventure they embark on together.
There is a deeply religious part of the story, about saints and relics that was brought up in a very intriguing way. This is a subject I’ve never seen addressed before in YA fiction and I think the readers will find it as interesting as I did. Linden does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into Roland’s life. At times I wanted to scream in frustration with how he was treated by his manipulative brothers.
The best news is that this is the first in a series of books for teens about Roland and his brothers.
Theresa Linden’s website
A Note from the Reviewer:
As a writer and a mother, I’m always searching for wonderful Catholic books for teens of all ages. I truly believe one way we can encourage teens in their faith is through fiction with positive messages, embedded in great stories. There are many fantastic Catholic teen novels out today, but they can be hard to find. I’m excited to share some of these books with you. www.LesleaWahl.com