Publication Date: December 4, 2018
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Books 3 of Faith & Kungfu Series
The world continues to press in on Gabriel Livingstone’s quiet life when fifteen-year-old Aaron Buckley enters Yeung’s Martial Arts Studio looking to learn kung-fu. Gabriel knows there’s a desperate secret behind the boy’s bruises, and secretly vows to be his guard, with the help of his friend Christian. But when Tanner Rose pressures him for strength and direction, and Faith’s continued rebellion send him and his friends to the hospital, jeopardizing Tanner’s career, Gabriel is forced to reexamine his decisions. Is he called to the priesthood or is life behind the monastery walls merely an escape? “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 RSVCE)
Guarding Aaron is the third book in TM Gaouette’s Kung Fu series. The series centers around Gabriel, a handsome teen who is dedicated to his faith, his mother, and his martial arts. In the first book of the series he meets Tanner Rose, a Hollywood starlet and the daughter of his mother’s friend.
Guarding Aaron continues the story of Gabriel, Tanner, and their friends. Gaouette does a wonderful job of creating relatable characters that you start to care about. Through the series I have enjoyed the growth of Tanner and Christian, wanted to scream at Faith, and now wish I could hug Aaron.
Aaron is new to the series. His story, which runs parallel to what is happening with Tanner and Gabriel, is incredibly touching. Aaron is being bullied at school and, tired of being the victim, has decided to take Kung fu classes. This is where he meets older teens Gabriel and Christian who are his instructors. The two storylines are woven together perfectly to make for a thoroughly engaging novel. There are even a few shocking twists that will keep you turning the pages. (One in particular, had me gasping out loud.)
You don’t need to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this book but I’m sure you will want to so you can spend more time with these characters.
Author TM Gaouette is really onto something with her Faith & Kung Fu series! A master in the martial arts must be disciplined, possessing inner strength along with physical ability. And isn’t this what we Christians need too? This story shows the need for not only knowing right and wrong but also for the self-control and discipline to pursue it, without acting on impulse.
Gabriel, with his steady faith, always has a Scripture verse at the ready and sound advice for others, but inside he’s not sure what God is calling him to. He meets a new kid, Aaron, whose bruises make Gabriel concerned. When Gabriel discovers that the boy is bullied at school, he secretly becomes the kid’s guardian and guides him not only in kung fu but in important life lessons that will strengthen him spiritually and morally. This thread in the story has a strong message about looking out for others who might be the victim of bullying, getting involved, being a friend, and the right way of standing up to bullies.
Meanwhile, another main character, Faith, finds her affections for Gabriel growing and allows her jealousy of actress and friend Tanner Rose to spiral out of control. She justifies treating Tanner cruelly because Tanner had once treated her badly. And when Faith’s best friend doesn’t share her negative attitude toward Tanner, she pushes her best friend away too. This thread shows well how jealousy has a way of bringing out the worst in us.
This story has some lovely scenes, like one with Gabriel and Tanner praying before the Blessed Sacrament. And it has some tense scenes, too. With kung fu action, high emotions, and themes that we can all relate to, Guarding Aaron is a powerful story that teens are sure to enjoy. I highly recommend it!
Guarding Aaron continues the saga of Gabriel, Tanner Rose, Faith, and friends as they learn to follow where God leads.
Gabriel is struggling to discern his vocation, always keeping Tanner Rose at a cold distance; Tanner Rose must make her own way in Hollywood and with her new friends following her conversion; and Faith, well, Faith is back to being a mean girl and creating a wide swath of destruction.
Expect the return of characters from previous books, Kung Fu, a visit to a Benedictine monastery, and a bully who needs put in his place.
Great for prompting discussions about how actions affect others, selfishness, discipline, bullying, detachment, and surrendering to God's will.