Christian teen fiction. Caitlyn Summer, soon to be fifteen, must practice old-fashioned courtship with high parental involvement, but she has a terrible crush on shy Roland West and she has competition from a girl with no restrictions. As Caitlyn struggles to remain faithful to God, her parents, and herself, her best friend gets pregnant and might get an abortion. When CaiChristian teen fiction. Caitlyn Summer, soon to be fifteen, must practice old-fashioned courtship with high parental involvement, but she has a terrible crush on shy Roland West and she has competition from a girl with no restrictions. As Caitlyn struggles to remain faithful to God, her parents, and herself, her best friend gets pregnant and might get an abortion. When Caitlyn discovers her mother's past mistakes, she begins to resent all the guidelines her parents expect her to follow. The characters in Life-Changing Love face the questions: Who am I? Where am I headed? How am I going to get there?...
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Life-Changing Love Reviews
While teenage promiscuity, unwanted pregnancies and abortions are widely explored in non-Christian fiction, there are few Catholic authors daring enough to address such heart-wrenching issues, especially in a novel for teens. Yet as the world we live in strays farther and farther from God, these things are becoming commonplace tragic realities which cannot afford to be ignored. In "Life Changing Love," the outstanding new novel by the incredibly talented Theresa Linden, readers are compassionately and deftly brought face to face with the shattering and far-reaching consequences of teenage relationships which reject God's boundaries and blatantly violate His laws. The story centers around fifteen year old Caitlyn Summer (whom readers already met in Linden's wonderful novel "Roland West, Loner") and Caitlyn's best friend Zoe. Both find themselves attracted to different brothers of the West family. Caitlyn has a crush on shy, mysterious Roland (the unforgettable hero of the prequel), while Zoe is besotted with his arrogant and unscrupulous older brother Jarret. As Caitlyn struggles to accept her parents' strict guidelines for virtuous old-fashioned courtship, she discovers to her dismay that the most gorgeous girl in their school, Mya, also has an eye on Roland. Caitlyn simply can't compete with her. To make matters worse, Zoe ends up pregnant and pressured towards having an abortion.While all this drama is going on, the third West brother, Keefe, is having soul-searching experiences of his own in faraway Italy, where God is gently drawing him to higher things through His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I especially loved this sub-plot of the book, which went straight to the heart of Catholicism and had me so absorbed that once or twice I almost prayed for Keefe, forgetting that he was only an imaginary character! The way Linden weaves all the various intricate plots together is at once delightful, edifying, heartwarming, and, believe it or not . . . even hilarious at times. Linden is to be lauded for the way she handles such delicate and controversial subjects and brings them to a level where they can do so much good for hurt and confused teens struggling with these same issues.Despite the fact that this book follows "Roland West, Loner" it could be read as a stand-alone novel. Yet the prequel was so good that, really, you don't want to miss it! ("Roland West, Loner" was my personal favorite novel of 2015, so grab that one too.)The author and myself are both members of the Catholic Writers' Guild and I received a complimentary advance copy of this beautiful book in exchange for my honest opinion. I truly can't wait to read the upcoming third and final book of this fantastic series, "Battle for his Soul" which is scheduled for release in October. I highly recommend all of Theresa Linden's novels.
Not only is Life-Changing love an entertaining read, but it's a great tool for launching conversations between teens and parents about their expectations for dating and relationships.Caitlyn Summers is in love with being in love. She yearns for her first boyfriend and her first kiss. And she knows just the boy to make those dreams come true: Roland West. Only Roland, despite the mixed signals he sends, is not interested in having a girlfriend.By contrast, Caitlyn's gorgeous best friend Zoe has gone from zero to well beyond the speed limit in mere days with Roland's dangerous older brother Jarret.When Jarret's twin Keefe returns from a trip to Italy with his father, he's changed -unwilling to allow Jarret to manipulate him, introspective, pious, and intrigued by Caitlyn.The lives of the West brothers and Caitlyn and Zoe turn topsy-turvy as they struggle to navigate obedience to their parents, the longings of their hearts, and the predicament Jarret and Zoe have created for themselves.Theresa Linden does an outstanding job of capturing the tension of the teenage years. The result is a moving story that shows the consequences of premature sexual relationships and the value of pursuing friendships that honor God and respect the dignity of each person. The author is a fellow member of the Catholic Writers Guild. I received an advance copy for my honest review.
A standalone sequel to Roland West, Loner, this novel tells the story of Roland’s classmate Caitlyn, who at 15 is not allowed to date but who dearly wishes for a romantic relationship, competing for Roland’s attention with a girl who has no restrictions and seemingly few inhibitions. The characters' Catholic faith is sensitively integrated into the narrative.This is a compelling novel that will appeal to readers in grade 7 and up.My review is based on an advance copy of the novel. I received no compensation for this review.
Life-Changing Love is a poignant tale about the beauty of life and the importance of being yourself. It was well-written and compelling, inspiring me to finish it within a few days.Caitlyn Summers is a character after my own heart. This teenage girl reminds me much of how I myself was as a teen with her shy and modest nature. I love how she realizes early on that she does not have to dress like the other girls, but, instead, has the perfect right to just dress according to her own personal style. She also discovers an important truth that many teenage girls today need to know: that you should never try to be someone else in order to appeal to a guy. This strength found in taking a stand is paralleled in Roland, the guy she likes, as he must find the courage to speak up when a wrong is being committed. The personalities of both characters are well-captured through both inner thoughts and how they present themselves to others.The writing was filled with lovely imagery that allowed me to not only visualize the scene, but go beyond it. That is to say, it had this poetic quality that moved beyond the 'common' world in which we live to a description of a more transcendent nature. As a result, it could be argued that it connected to one of the main themes of the novel: Life is beautiful.Like the writing, the atmosphere of the story had a transcendent quality. Keefe, one of the West twins, like Caitlyn, is on a journey towards finding himself. This inner journey is paralleled by an outer journey: a trek through Italy. Italy becomes almost like another "character" in the book---a real, living, breathing place that nudges Keefe along as he discovers who he really is apart from his more troublesome twin. I loved how he realized that part of finding himself was finding God and growing closer to Him. His spiritual growth after witnessing a Eucharistic miracle was nothing short of beautiful. One of the most profound and noteworthy elements of the story was its pro-life message. While the main topic was abortion, Ms. Linden showed the beauty of life in all stages, aptly defying the criticism that is often given to the pro-life cause. (view spoiler)[Caitlyn gently cradles her baby brother, the two gazing at each other with pure love, while somewhere her pregnant best friend, struggling with a difficult situation, realizes that she cannot harm the younger baby in her womb. Jarrett sits on a rock boulder with his twin brother, the two changed and now more true and "solid" like the foundation upon which they sit. He is a sixteen-year-old boy who used to care only for himself, but finds himself drawn to a child who will ultimately cause him to make a selfless choice. Once, long ago, he saved a life for selfish reasons. Now that foreshadowing has come full circle as he realizes the true meaning behind saving a life and the value of each and every human being. Somewhere, at a family-owned bed and breakfast, a young autistic boy, exuberant and filled with life, excitedly asks the guests questions. He is beautiful and loved regardless of his disability. And, finally, in one of my favorite moments, Caitlyn and her best friend Zoe return to the swings in a moment of innocent joy and healing. (hide spoiler)] All these threads are tied together seamlessly, as they form a love letter to life that God has given us. All of them provide a sense of hope, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties and the fear that no one will understand the predicaments in which we find ourselves.Theresa Linden is both a gifted storyteller and an excellent writer. The development of her story, from well-crafted connections and a poetic atmosphere to the journeys of the characters within, defined the book as both literary and lyrical. I enjoyed her characters---from relatable main characters such as Caitlyn to supporting roles such as the difficult, but ultimately loving, Peter---and look forward to seeing where the story takes them next. I hope that Ms. Linden is writing a sequel to this book because I would love to read it!I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Overall, it was a nice read. I liked getting into Caitlyn's head since that was interesting. However, in Roland West, Loner, the antagonist doesn't come back and no one mentions him or his predicament. It has a strong pro-life message, which was nice to read. Some of Caitlyn's parents' rules were super strict. I mean, I understand rules, but Caitlyn can't even watch a movie for two hours with her boyfriend in the afternoon? Perhaps this is because she's fourteen/fifteen. That makes more sense. Maybe I'm only finding this hard to believe because I'm imagining the no-movie-at-2PM rule about a seventeen-year-old girl instead of Caitlyn. Oh well. Zoe shouldn't have lied and run off with her boyfriend, either. Slow relationships are better than fast ones. It was super annoying that she kept doing that, even after she got pregnant (since Zoe getting pregnant is in the summary, I don't think that needs a spoiler warning).Jarret was a jerk as well. I can't believe he would get back with his brothers by (SPOILER) threatening to mess with Caitlyn, because she's dating Keefe, but Roland also has a crush on her. She doesn't have to be involved, yet he wants to drag her into his messed-up plot. (SPOILER OVER).I did like that (SPOILER) Roland was Caitlyn's first kiss. Since she never liked Keefe as much as Roland, I'm glad they kissed instead of Keefe and her. (SPOILER OVER)
It was so easy to relate to the characters in this novel, the second in a series by author Theresa Linden. If you're like me, you'll remember how hard it is to have a crush on a wonderful person of the opposite sex when you're shy or reserved but someone else interested in him or her is not! This is good Christian/Catholic reading with a wonderful story that demonstrates love and faith as life-changing motivators. I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Full of emotion and ridden with reality, Life-Changing Love was an amazing young Catholic read.
Second book in the series - a little tougher subject but handled in such a way that a young reader would not be scandalized. I am looking forward to the third book in the series.
Theresa Linden does a nice job of weaving Theology of the Body into her story. This book has a strong pro-life message and would be a great way to talk about difficult dating and sex topics with your teenager. Theresa keeps the story engaging and realistic (this is not a saccharine love story nor are the characters all goody-two shoes).Plus, there are some scenes in Italy, and if you know me, you know I love a good trip to Italy, virtual or real!I received an advance copy of this book but did not receive any compensation for this review.