Guarding Aaron

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)

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“Wow, this author just keeps cranking out stuff that I firmly believe every Christian teen MUST READ. In this third installment of the Faith and Kung Fu series, Tanner is back in town. She and her friend Faith both have feelings for series hero Gabriel (who serves as a sort of “guardian angel” to a kid named Aaron in this story). But rumor has it Gabriel wants to become a priest. Faith’s overwhelming jealousy causes her to make a few very poor decisions that lead to a series of violent and life-altering events for the group.

I love how there are so many descriptions and scenes illustrating the kids’ faith and its influence on their daily lives. In particular, Gabriel’s deep trust and reliance on God’s plan for him is inspirational to readers of all ages. But Gaouette masterfully manages to mix in plenty of action-packed scenes for these characters that the Faith and King Fu series’ fans have grown to love (like Tanner Rose, Faith, Gabe, Christian, etc.)! And cleverly woven into the parties and the punches are just so many important issues. Characters experience and explore everything from bullying and believing in yourself to chastity and true charity. Guarding Aaron’s a winner, full of action, emotion, and didn’t-see-THAT-coming moments for both girls and guys. Moms and dads would enjoy these books, too.” (Read more of this review by Jeanie Egolf, author of the Molly McBride Series)

“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!” (Theresa Linden, author of The West Brothers Series)

“As of the writing of this review I have read all T.M. Gaouette’s published novels. I have appreciated her story telling immensely since first reading The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, about a foster family. But Guarding Aaron is the third novel in a series of four, and I find that with each book in the series the series gets better. I must say I was completely surprised by this novel. The twists that are tossed in this book, some subtle, and some not really make the reader think.

Many of the characters in this book are familiar to us from the first two volumes. And reading about this is like a visit with old friends. It is a chance to catch up and see where they are at in life, and in their spiritual journey. For some there is marked changes, and improvements. For others we see a turning from what they once believed and held dear. There are three main plot lines in this story that all wrap together well. First, we have Aaron being bullied at school, and who discovers the Dojo where Gabriel assists with teaching. We have Gabriel and Tanner who have feelings for each other but are both trying to find God’s plan and purpose for their life. And finally, we have Faith Perry, a young woman who is losing her way. All three plot lines flow in and around having faith, trusting God, and seeking god.

The characters are one of the greatest strengths of this book and the series. The genre of these stories is ‘realistic fiction’. And in fact, reading these books could be like encountering friends and family that you know in real life. In fact, there is a young woman at the Dojo where my children and I train who just achieved her black belt who reminds me of a female counterpart to Gabe. The characters are so well written that readers might be disappointed to find out there is only one remaining book planned in the series.

The second great strength of the story is the story itself. The plot and how Gaouette handles the elements is masterful. In this story we have bullying, teen drinking, discernment of God’s will, and overcoming adversity. The story is an intense and engaging read on many levels. I could not put the book down, and to be honest am desperate for the final installment in the series.

The more I read by T.M. Gaouette the more I want to read. I thoroughly enjoy her works and appreciate that they are good clean Christian fiction. This is an excellent Catholic Young Adult book but can be read and enjoyed by anyone who loves a good story! A truly great read in a wonderful series for readers of all ages.” (Review by Steven McEvoy Book Reviews and More)

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