In the winter of 2001, the tragedy of 9/11 is still fresh, especially for 16-year-old Aidan Donovan. There’s something to fear everywhere, and with this fear comes isolation. Only charismatic and vibrant Father Greg offers certainty, and maybe even love, in a world that seems to be falling apart. As Aidan turns to drugs, alcohol and a new set of friends, he begins to question his relationship with Father Greg. Faced with the possibility of a girlfriend for the first time and a classmate who may share Father Greg’s dirty secrets, Aidan has more to ponder, including his own sexuality and his belief system.
This hard-hitting literary story propels Aidan’s problems even more when the widespread priest sexual abuse scandal hits the news. Author Brendan Kiely raises common questions of abuse victims as the teen wonders if everyone will read his face and know what happened, whether Father Greg’s attention was really love or abuse, and who is to blame. The Gospel of Winter speaks soundly to the current generation of YA readers, who will understand Aidan’s distrust, trepidation and desire for honest relationships.