Shy Roland West, who fears speaking up, attends high school with gossips and troublemakers. After panicking in speech class and becoming the subject of gossip, his best friend, Peter Brant, pushes him to uncover the vandals of an outcast's house before they strike again. With the Catholic youth group, he helps repair the damage to the outcast's house and questions fellow students, but he draws more negative attention to himself. In his search, Roland finds himself ridiculed and challenged about his beliefs, becoming more of a target. As he draws closer to uncovering the perpetrator, his friend Caitlyn is threatened. Once Roland discovers the sinister reason behind the vandalism, he must overcome his fear of speaking out to confront and expose the perpetrators.
Sexuality: While there is no explicit content, a female teen character struggles with same-sex attraction. A teen boy is shown with effeminate behavior but his “sexual orientation” is not mentioned.
A character sees a girl show a boy her phone with a picture of herself posed seductively in swimsuit.
A character tells another character that “some things belong in marriage. Only.” And he says that marriage is between a guy and a girl for life.Violence & Gore: Mild
Two teen girls fight until two teen boys break it up. A boy reads/thinks about stories of several martyrs, including the manner in which they died.
A character remembers an incident where he was bullied at school, pinned down and given a spray tan.Profanity: None
There is no explicit language. It is indicated that bad names are spray painted on a garage door, but the words are not given.
Bad language is indicated in one scene in this way: “What the—” She glared…and then cursed.Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking: None
One character thinks another might smoke, and decides he’d try to help her break the habit, if it’s true.
While searching for clues, a character discovers beer cans in a garbage can and hears a rumor that a neighbor wanders around the neighborhood drunk.
"Theresa Linden has done it again with Roland West, Outcast. We meet the characters we've come to know and love, Roland, Peter, Caitlyn and others. When a new girl in town--and school--is the target of a hateful act, the Fire Starters are quick to help clean up the mess. Peter and Roland also try to find out who did it, but a shy Roland and a smitten Peter have to confront their fears along the way. In this story, Linden touches upon issues that are prevalent in our society, and she captures them with God's truth and compassion. Struggling as Christians in a world that is so focused on selfish desires, Outcast reminds us that we should always stand up for what's right, regardless of what the mass tries to push us to believe. Outcast is a fun, emotional roller-coaster, with realistic characters and a lot of suspense." T. M. Gaouette, author of the Faith & Kung Fu series
"Roland West, Outcast is both entertaining and timely! Theresa Linden is at her best in capturing Roland's shy reluctance and Peter's awkward infatuation. A well-written book for Catholic teens that addresses the social pressure to kowtow to shifting notions of right and wrong (particularly in regard to same-sex attraction) is long overdue. If you're ever been silent when you should've spoken up, if your beliefs have ever been mischaracterized or misunderstood, if you want to get along without compromising your conscience, then Roland West, Outcast is for you." Carolyn Astfalk, author of coming-of-age romance Rightfully Ours
"A courageous, compassionate (and, believe it or not, fun!) story about a topic many of us would prefer to ignore: Same-Sex Attraction and our duty as Catholics to stand up for God's immutable laws, even when to do so is painful. If you're a teen facing this situation, or know someone who is, you need to read this newest novel in Theresa Linden's award-winning West Brothers Series. This story is difficult to put down and brilliant handling of a tough subject!" Susan Peek, author of bestseller Saint Magnus the Last Viking
"This book runs parallel to many events in the book Standing Strong. But we see different aspects of those events. Roland is stuck in a hard place. He is reserved but is pushed to join a new group trying to counter intolerance. But soon he feels like any view but his is acceptable. Linden handles these elements in a masterful way. And they are questions and attitudes that could be taken from the headlines of almost any paper today. An excellent read for teens, and for us older folks that just love a great read!" Steven R. McEvoy, Book Reviews & More
I've said it before and I will say it again: Theresa Linden never fails to impress. Although I didn't like the subject matter/plot of the book as much of the others, there was a stark reality to it (perhaps more than the rest of the series) that peered through as the characters dealt with life, loneliness, and emotions and issues that teenagers can't escape these days. Above all, Roland West, Outcast keenly illustrates the importance of standing up for what you believe in and standing up for the Faith, no matter how much you want to slip into the shadows, no matter how much it makes you an outcast. "Better to live ready to die for the truth than to live dead to the truth and to who you really are. Or who you're called to be."
A must-read for Catholic teenagers, especially those struggling with contemporary issues.
Theresa Linden's West Brothers Series is a gift for all teens. This recent release is another exciting story that includes many uncomfortable, worldly issues that teens deal with daily, and wraps it in an exciting plot with a mysterious twist. It takes courage to be a Christian in this world. Roland West shows us how, and so does Peter. You'll have to read this book to find out what I mean. I recommend this book....actually, the whole series...for all teens. It would make a fantastic gift.
Speaking up can be hard for adults, let alone for young people, especially in an environment where your beliefs are misunderstood or not welcome, to put it mildly.
Outcast is both timely and timeless. Timely because the issue of same-sex attraction has been brought to the forefront in our culture, our schools, and in our families, and timeless because there is always a tension in saying what you believe when you're not sure how it will be received. Something that's especially difficult for those of us who dislike conflict or are shy.
But lest you think Outcast is a preachy diatribe - it's not. Theresa Linden has developed her characters so well that they jump off the page. They're fun to read and know and there's a little mystery to solve as well.