When the path is not clear … When temptation is near … When God speaks in a whisper you can barely hear … Ever since that life-changing night in the canyon, Jarret has felt the presence of the Lord in his soul. Now that presence is fading. Is it his fault? How will he remain faithful without it when he still struggles against the same temptations?Questioning whether he has a true calling, Keefe reads everything he can about St. Francis and the Franciscans, but he’s afraid to talk to his father about the Franciscans’ upcoming discernment retreat because his father seems closed to faith. Is he ready to go all in?
Theresa Linden is an amazing talent in Catholic teen fiction. I’m a huge fan of her writing and her ability to completely draw the reader into the moment with her outstanding descriptions. Standing Strong is part of her West Brothers series.
There are a few things that make this series for older teens, very special. First, these powerful books are all written from slightly different perspectives, whether from one of the three West brothers – Roland, Jarret or Keefe, from a friend – as in Life-Changing Love, or, as in Battle for His Soul – the demons and angels that are constantly battling around us. Standing Strong focuses on Jarret and Keefe West, the twin brothers who are struggling with very different aspects of their faith.
The other element that makes this series unique is that it is one of the few books I’ve found in the Catholic genre that is written for teen boys. Books for middle-school-age boys are quite prevalent, but gripping, character-driven books for high-school boys are more difficult to find. Don’t misunderstand though, Linden does such an amazing job of writing from this perspective that any teenager would enjoy and be moved by these books.
Linden has perfectly captured the heart and soul of the tough Jarret West in this novel. During the first book of the series, Roland West, Loner, I couldn’t stand his older brother Jarret, but as the series has continued, Jarret really developed into a fascinating character. This character that I loathed has transformed into one that I found myself rooting for. He’s made lots of mistakes, did many horrible things, and treated people badly, but in the end, Jarret realized his mistakes and the importance of his faith. Standing Strong finds Jarret struggling to keep his newfound faith focused and strong, while his twin brother Keefe searches for answers to his own calling.
When authors write a series, they hope that all the books will be intriguing and connect with their readers. Linden has not only mastered this goal with her West Brothers Series but as she’s continued with this powerful family saga, each book has been better than the last.
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Copyright 2019 Leslea Wahl