The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

Reviewed for this blog by Andrea, Windsor Library

This one was published early and was a possibility for a Morris because of the love and its debut status. Alas, it was not to be, so let’s look at it for the Printz.

Aidan is a shy, conflicted, sometimes angry teen. He has trouble showing his true self to others his age and butts heads with his parents. In other words, he’s pretty normal. What makes him abnormal are both his extreme wealth and his disturbing relationship with his priest.

You guessed it: the theme revolves around one teen’s personal experience with the Catholic church’s sexual abuse. It is, in short, heartbreaking to read. Kiely does an incredible job of giving Aidan an honest, confusing, angry, and scared voice. Other characters have the same effect especially the two priests in the story. This is really the element that stand out the most when considering this title.

Could it be enough? This is the first time I’m on the fence about a book. Other elements don’t stand out as much as much as voice. And neither do they stand out when comparing this to other titles; I think of the incredible setting and the tone it evoked in This One Summer  and how Gospel‘s setting doesn’t stand up to that. This award is a tough call; I’m glad I don’t have to make it.

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