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T.M. GAOUETTE titles awarded SEAL OF APPROVAL by Catholic Writers Guild
Click on image below to learn more about T.M. Gaouette’s faith journey and why she writes Catholic fiction for teens and young adults in the Sept./Oct. Issue of Parable
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)
Review: “Guarding Aaron” is the third book (and in my opinion, the best) in T.M. Gaouette’s series for teens. The stories in all three novels revolve mostly around Gabriel, a devout Catholic boy who is a master at martial arts, and Tanner Rose, a Hollywood starlet who, although having found the faith, still has a long road to travel on her journey to God. The rest of the cast is made up of their various friends and while each book has several plots running through the story, they focus on a particular character alongside Gabriel. In “Guarding Aaron”, that character is . . . you guessed it . . . a boy named Aaron. Aaron is new to the series, and definitely someone many teens can relate to, for he is a victim of school bullying. Although Aaron’s part in this book runs side-by-side with other plots, his was the story that I found the most engaging. His character arc is fantastic, and I found myself deeply identifying with his struggles and cheered for him all the way through. If you have ever been bullied, or know someone who is, you need to read this story. I hope Aaron has a place of honor in any future novels that Gaouette may write!
But if bullying isn’t something you can relate to, perhaps envy is. Another plot in “Guarding Aaron” is Faith’s problem. If you’ve read the other books in the series, you will already know Faith. Faith and her brother have been friends with Gabriel for a long time, but Faith is no longer content being “like a sister” to him. She has a giant, all-consuming crush on the handsome Kung Fu master. (Surely every teen girl out there can relate to a crush, right?) But how can Faith compete with gorgeous movie-star Tanner Rose? It just isn’t possible. So as Faith allows envy to eat at her heart, a dark side of her emerges which eventually leads to major trouble for all her friends. Her lesson is learned in grief and at great cost.
A third thread of the story is Gabriel’s own inner struggles trying to discern God’s will for his future. There are some wonderful scenes set at a peaceful monastery, which were enjoyable and edifying to read.
Like I said, this is my favorite of Gaouette’s books. Even if you are unfamiliar with the others, this can certainly be read as a stand-alone novel. The author handles the three topics of bullying, envy, and discernment in a way all teens can relate to. I was really impressed.
(Amazon customer review)