Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

Posted by Caitie F on February 19, 2014


Title: The Gospel of Winter18048982
Author: Brendan Kiely
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: Jan 21, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.

When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s.

The Gospel of Winter maps the ways love can be used as a weapon against the innocent—but can also, in the right hands, restore hope and even faith.


There are a lot of books that are hard to read for different reasons. File this book in the hard to read list. Aidan broke my heart. His innocence and longing for love. His fear. That he felt like he had to protect those that hurt him because of who they were.

I don’t think there have been any young adult books about priests molesting boys, if they are others, I haven’t read them. As someone who was raised Catholic and was a kid growing up, reading this book meant a lot. I don’t think anything happened at any of the churches I went to, but watching the church move these monsters around changed what I thought about them.

But they didn’t show the victims, which is good because they didn’t need that attention after all they had been through. Yet it made it easier to not think of them. This novel shows one victim right before the story broke and slowly tells how it happened and shows not just his story, but the story of several young people hurt by the church.

This is incredibly written. Aidan is such a strong character who is struggling to find himself through all of this and struggling to speak up when so many are telling him not to, even adults who are not priests or nuns! Slowly, he is able to start talking, but not with the help of others, like his friends who were great characters.

This isn’t about one event or one time, it is about a deep level of hurt and distrust in many different forms. It is about adults who abuse their power and adults who look the other way because they are dealing with their own things. But really, it is about young people finding their voices and speaking out.

It is a very hard book to read, but it is worth every page.

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