Book Review – The Gate

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Book Review – The Gate by Nancy Carabio Belanger

First-place winner, Best Catholic Novel–Catholic Press Association 2014 Book Awards

For smart-aleck Josh, being a Christian in the eighth grade is completely irrelevant, especially with the temptations that middle school can bring. For him, life is all about playing video games, getting money, and causing trouble. He doesn’t need anybody and he makes his own rules. When his teacher assigns a pen-pal project, Josh meets Pie, a spunky senior citizen with a love of his Catholic faith, Saint John Bosco, and the New York Yankees. But much to Josh’s surprise, Pie creates his own project for Josh, and Josh realizes that God has a plan — even for him. In this inspiring novel that radiates the dignity of the priesthood and the discovery of God’s calling for each of us, Josh is shocked to find himself fighting spiritual battles, but often for the wrong side. As the friendship with his new mentor deepens, Josh learns that God has more in store for him than he could have ever imagined.


The Gate is a fantastic book for early teens or a great one to read as a family. This novel is written from the perspective of the grown-up Joshua, as he looks back and remembers a life-changing time in his past. The way the story is written I assumed several key aspects of the story, but I just couldn’t wait to see how it played out. I was so moved by the story of Josh and the elderly gentleman he reluctantly befriends, Pie.

The relationship between these two unlikely friends was incredibly touching. My heart went out to both of these characters – the snarky teen and the curmudgeony old man. The voice of the lead character, Josh, is fantastic. The smart aleck language – absolutely brilliant. I could just feel this young boy’s angst and anger as he continued his struggle over the death of his father.

This is such a powerful book about healing and how God’s love works within us and through those we meet. What an inspiring, thought-provoking novel.

A Note From the Reviewer:

As a writer and a mother, I’m always searching for wonderful Christian books for teens of all ages. I truly believe one way we can encourage teens in their faith is through fiction with positive messages, embedded in great stories. There are many fantastic Christian and Catholic teen novels out today but they can be hard to find. I’m excited to share some of these books with you.

Leslea Wahl

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