Theresa Linden does it again with her second book in the West Brothers series, Life-Changing Love. Teenagers dealing with first crushes, courtship, dating, and going way overboard make for an entertaining read. But when you add in struggles with modesty, brotherhood, faith, and the ultimate struggle of temptation and its consequences, this is a book that every teenager should read.
It is no mean feat to make a reader care about so many characters during the course of a story. Linden does this brilliantly. The West brothers, Keefe, Jarret, and Roland all have very different personalities. But this book is mostly about Jarret, and the choices he makes. He is a sixteen-year-old with passion and anger. He is reckless and thoughtless, and of course, this gets him in trouble with everyone. When he gets his girlfriend Zoe pregnant, they both must face the hard decisions that come with their premature intimacy. What I love is that Linden writes both Jarret and Zoe really well, along with the rest of their siblings and friends. It never feels like just a book for girls, or for boys. No, it takes two people to make a baby, and it takes these two young people a while to own up to it. Zoe turns to her friend Caitlyn’s family to shield her from her father, who is pushing for an abortion. Jarret tries to deal with everything on his own, which is a disaster that only Roland can help him with, but will Roland succeed? Only time will tell.
Life-Changing Love is a refreshing look at the inner lives of teens with faith, and without. The light and dark battle for control over each person, and my favorite theme of this story is how much teens can care about each other, and do the right thing even when it is hard.