Guarding Aaron by T. M. Gaouette (Faith & Kung Fu ~ book 3)
When the struggles of the world and his devotion collide, he must choose between his own desires and the will of God.
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)
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!
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