Roland West, a fourteen-year-old boy, finds himself friendless at a new school and the subject of cruel rumors. Despised by older twin brothers, he feels utterly alone but not without hope. If he can avoid his brothers while his father is away, he might have a solution to his problem. When his brothers lock him away, having a plan of their own, he gets rescued by an unlikely pair: a neighboring autistic boy and his brother. Struggling to trust his new friends, secrets, rumors, lies, and an unusual inheritance put him on a journey that just might have the power to change the life of this loner.
“If I was allowed to choose only one novel this year that was not only sheer delight to read, but also had the most profound impact on my spiritual life, it would be – without a shadow of a doubt – Roland West, Loner.”
“A great novel for pre-teen and teen boys and girls because it demonstrates the power of prayer and of forgiveness to heal rifts in families and between friends.”
Author note: Peter’s younger brother Toby has autism and his unusual behaviors shake things up in this story. While I did a bit of research into the behavior of autistic children, I largely modeled this character after my own son with autism. The family of an autistic child face a unique set of joys and challenges that I really wanted to convey through this character.
While many young people seem to have it all together, there are others who, like Roland, feel utterly alone in the world. I hope this story will encourage people to be a friend to the friendless, but also to let the loner know they are really not alone. We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ and “surrounded by a vast cloud of witnesses” who care about us and can help us.