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When We Were Saints
by Han Nolan
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0152053220, Paperback)Han Nolan spins a tale of religious fervor and adolescent searching in When We Were Saints, a compelling novel that allows readers to draw their own conclusions. The story centers on Archie Caswell, a 14-year-old southern boy whose best friend has recently moved away and whose grandfather has just died. Archie is awash in guilt over the circumstances of his granddaddy’s passing, but he’s equally troubled by the old man’s deathbed prophecy.
Enter Clare Simmons, a mysterious girl who fully believes she and Archie are modern-day saints. Abandoned by his former confidant and desperate for answers, Archie gets swept up in Clare’s appealing certainty--eventually following her all the way to New York City on a risky pilgrimage to see a crying statue of the Virgin Mary.
Nolan writes convincingly about personal struggles with faith--Archie is at times a blissful believer, at others plagued with doubt. In either state, Nolan helps us understand exactly why the young man feels the way he does. In the end, we join Archie in wondering if Clare is mentally ill, or if she does in fact have a direct line to a higher power. A captivating read, especially for teens trying to find their own way in the domain of religion and spirituality. (Ages 13 and older) --Brangien Davis
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:22 -0400)
Summary: Inspired by his grandfather's last words and guided by a girl who believes they are saints, fourteen-year-old Archie sets out on a spiritual quest that takes him from southern Appalachia to the Cloisters Museum in New York City.
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