Roland West, Loner
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Book 1 of the West Brothers Series2nd-Place Winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association Book Awards in the Teen & YA Fiction Category!Roland West, Loner is a contemporary Christian story of a fourteen-year-old boy who finds himself friendless at a new school and the subject of cruel rumors. Despised by older twin brothers, he feels utterly alone but not without hope. If he can avoid his brothers while his father is away, he might have a solution to his problem.When his brothers lock him away, having a plan of their own, he gets rescued by an unlikely pair: a neighboring autistic boy and his brother. Struggling to trust his new friends, secrets, rumors, lies, and an unusual inheritance put him on a journey that just might have the power to change the life of this loner.
Sibling bullying. Twin brothers gang up on their younger brother, one twin rips the younger brother’s shirt, and the twins lock him in the basement and later in a turret (they have a castle-like house). Another character makes fun of a teen who uses a wheelchair.Profanity: None Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking: Mild
A character plants cigarettes in another character’s room to get him in trouble. The same character is seen smoking, though other characters show disgust at the behavior.
Very well done story. Excellent characters especially Caitlyn!
I wish I could give this book to every Catholic teen I know (and their parents too!). At first glance, the story is on a purely natural level: a teenage boy, alone and friendless in a new school, trying to cope with his cruel older brothers. But the plot swiftly moves into a new and unexpected realm - that of the supernatural - sweeping the reader way beyond the halls of River Run High and plunging straight into the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. The way Linden accomplishes this will take your breath away.
When we first meet Roland, our 14-year-old hero, he is on the verge of a trip to Italy with his father. This is Roland's chance to escape his brother Jarrett and the nightmare of school. But Jarrett wants the trip for himself, and will stop at nothing to get it. While their father is away, he locks Roland in the cellar and puts his scheme into action.
But, unknown to Roland, he does in fact have a friend: someone special in Heaven, who likewise has a scheme and is putting it into action. Roland's life, and the life of all the characters, is about to be changed forever.
When Roland is rescued from his prison by a boy from school named Peter, a friendship springs up between them. The two are drawn together especially by a mysterious locked box that Peter has been given as an inheritance. What it contains is literally out of this world -- a gift directly from Heaven. But someone else wants the treasure too. The race is on to keep the box and its precious contents safe.
Peter's secret inheritance is the very heart of this suspenseful and heartwarming story. Once you've read this magnificent novel, you will never again think of the Saints as being far away!
I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. A rare work by an extremely talented author, that will stay with you long after the last page has been closed.
Roland West, Loner is the first book in Theresa Linden's West Brother's Series. I have to confess that I've already read Battle for His Soul and Roland West, Outcast, but doing so didn't ruin this first story. Linden does an amazing job presenting her characters and developing a solid story that keeps you guessing. I'm that annoying reader who tries to figure out the ending in the first paragraph, and I usually get it right. But not with Linden's story. Her twists and turns had me anxious to find out how it would all end, and with colorful characters and a finger-biting mystery to boot. A story about bullying, friendship, trust, gossip, and so many other themes, this story shows how to be strong in the faith while stuck in the world.
Roland West, Loner by Theresa Linden 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. Don’t get me wrong – Roland West, Loner is an entirely engaging and well-written book that anyone would enjoy but I don’t come across very many YA novels completely from a boy’s perspective, which makes this unique and special. Linden knows boys well and writes from this perspective perfectly.
I absolutely loved the development of the friendship between Roland and his neighbor Peter. I also enjoyed the character of Caitlyn and the sweet relationships she had with both boys. 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 there are several more books by Linden with these characters.
Roland West, Loner is a stellar teen novel! Entering the local public high school forces shy Roland to confront his fears and explore friendship and trust all while dealing with his mean and manipulative older brothers bent on ruining his life.
Dependent on the help of his new friend Peter, Roland’s vulnerability inclines him to share little bits of himself he ordinarily holds close to the vest.
Friendship with Peter also introduces him to sweet Caitlyn with her fiery hair and emerald eyes, gossipy Dominic, and even the guests at Peter’s family’s Bed & Breakfast.
They’ll be drawn into a mystery starting with a locked box and culminating in a life-changing experience for each of them, one that will bring Roland back to the faith of his childhood.
Theresa Linden’s superb writing will draw you in and her real-to-life characters will keep you reading to discover what Roland’s friend Peter has inherited, who’s after it, and whom Roland can trust.
With mystery, suspense, a hint of budding romance and an encounter with the Divine, Roland’s story has something for everyone.