Gift Guide

The Guardian [NOOK Book]


Hunter has never had anyone to look out for him. His mother gave him away when he was young, he’s never known his father, and his foster mother leaves a lot to be desired in the mothering department. So when a mysterious, benevolent force suddenly starts coming to his aid, Hunter doesn’t know what to believe. Could he really have a guardian angel? Hunter so badly wants someone to care that he’s willing to take a leap of faith, and more. But when he finally learns the truth about his angel, he’ll have to decide ...
See more details below
The Guardian

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99 price


Hunter has never had anyone to look out for him. His mother gave him away when he was young, he’s never known his father, and his foster mother leaves a lot to be desired in the mothering department. So when a mysterious, benevolent force suddenly starts coming to his aid, Hunter doesn’t know what to believe. Could he really have a guardian angel? Hunter so badly wants someone to care that he’s willing to take a leap of faith, and more. But when he finally learns the truth about his angel, he’ll have to decide whether it’s the best thing that ever happened to him or the worst. This masterful pairing of suspenseful, fast-paced storytelling with genuine compassion and heart is Joyce Sweeney at her best.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hunter LaSalle, 13, might as well be named Hunted: his foster mother, two of his foster sisters and the school bully are all out to get him. His best friend was his foster dad, Mike, and the story opens at Mike's funeral. But when a motorcycle roars through the burial service, Hunter can't shake the feeling that the rider is connected to a vision of the angel Gabriel that he had at age four. On impulse, Hunter prays to Gabriel for help out of a few jams and immediately good, nearly magical things start happening. Hunter wonders if this really is divine intervention or if he is losing it ("We all go crazy in different ways, I guess. Being religious is better than getting a handgun and shooting up the family, right?"). Sweeney (Headlock) solves the mystery partway through, but replaces one source of tension with another to keep the pages turning. The plotting doesn't quite pass the plausibility test, but Hunter is a sympathetic hero, and his honest narration and the plentiful action will pull readers through to the end. Ages 14-up. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Jeff Mann
Thirteen-year-old Hunter has a tough life—his father is estranged, his mother is dead, and he is living in foster care with three nosy foster sisters and an abusive foster mother. Even his life at school is tough—he has no friends and teachers think he is trouble. When his foster father dies, Hunter believes he sees Saint Gabriel at the funeral and afterward at several other places. Hunter begins to believe that Gabriel is his guardian angel and his protector. When several of his prayers are literally answered, Hunter is sure this motorcycle riding man he continually sees from a distance is a real angel who has come to watch over him. When Gabriel storms into his house after his foster mother attacks him, he soon discovers that Gabriel is actually his real father, recently released from prison for killing his mother years ago. Hunter's father takes him away and the two begin to bond, but Hunter discovers that his biological father may not be a real savior after all. Hunter's story is told in sparse prose covering a brief period in his life. The abusive foster parent, annoying sisters, and rough school life is familiar ground, yet Sweeney breathes new life into it through mystery and keeps readers guessing as to whether Gabriel just might be a real angel. Readers will care about Hunter's exploits and will root for this realistic character. Middle school readers and early high school readers will have to suspend their disbelief in places, but ultimately they will find a solid story with unusual twists and an everyday teen character that they will hope finds a peaceful place in the world. Reviewer: Jeff Mann
Children's Literature - Paul Walter
"I feel myself sort of cracking up, like splitting into two parts. One part of me—no, it's all of me—slides out of bed and lands on my knees. I fold my hands on top of the sheet… Gabriel, please. Come back to me." After losing his foster father, Mike Hunter is once again left reeling. Given up for adoption at a young age, Hunter bounces around "the system" for quite some time before ending up at Mike and Stephanie's house. While Stephanie was content with the two foster girls and one adopted daughter they already had, Mike wanted a boy, and they got Hunter. Stephanie's resentment for Hunter though only grows after Mike's death, spilling over to frequent verbal and sometimes harshly physical abuse. Hunter also takes abuse from his nark of an older foster sister, from bullies at school, and from himself as he wonders if he is actually inviting the cruelty. At the height of his emotional torment, Hunter turns for help to St. Gabriel, the patron saint of lost children. Hunter believes, as a young child, he was visited by St. Gabriel who told Hunter he would always protect him. Immediately after "contacting" St. Gabriel, Hunter's luck seems to turn around. He starts to make money, gets a girl, and avoids beat-downs at school. Unfortunately, Stephanie, in a moment of despair, takes a beating further than ever before. When the supposed St. Gabriel violently intervenes, the book takes a drastic turn, forcing Hunter to examine his past and his identity. While Hunter may be sorting out identity issues, he is an easy character to root for. Because he is constantly stepped on, Hunter is wary but never jaded. He wants to succeed, to please, to love, and to be loved. The author, Sweeney,also adds to Hunter's charm, in a Good Will Hunting sort of way, by placing him in the gifted class rather than following the cliche of an at risk, struggling student. Even Hunter's language and the tone of the book artfully tiptoes the line between authenticity and appropriateness, safely placing the title on middle school shelves while retaining some street credentials for reluctant readers. The only major drawback is the book's identity issues. While it starts engagingly as realistic fiction, it dabbles for a time in religious fantasy before jutting off into an intense "guys on the lam" tale. While the reader will loyally follow Hunter on the ride, wanting to protect him the way his version of St. Gabriel never could, there may be a waiting case of whiplash. Reviewer: Paul Walter
School Library Journal

Gr 7-10

Hunter LaSalle, 13, is devastated by the death of his foster father, Mike. Now he and his three foster sisters are left with their avaricious foster mother, Stephanie, who is cheap with maternal affection (particularly toward Hunter, whom she physically abuses) and exploits the children. Hunter is also bullied in school and negatively singled out by a teacher. Soon after Mike's funeral, an unseen force starts answering Hunter's altruistic and vengeful prayers. Hunter suspects it might be the angel Gabriel, leaving the boy yo-yoing between renewed faith and the possibility that he's going insane. After a violent confrontation with Stephanie, Hunter's guardian angel is (fairly predictably) revealed as Gabriel Salvatore, Hunter's spying, ex-con father. Kidnapped by Gabriel, Hunter quickly learns he's traded one dysfunctional, dangerous situation for another, and must make a choice: stay or run. This problem novel isn't light fare but is still age appropriate. Hunter's narration reveals a likable, self-aware teen starved for affection. Sweeney's prose is insightful and realistic, with cleverly delivered descriptions. The peripheral characters are believable, and the religious undercurrent supports the plot. Well-paced, and with a satisfying conclusion, this book will appeal to reluctant readers and fans of contemporary realistic fiction.-Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ

Kirkus Reviews
This fast-paced family drama will appeal to fans of The Rules of Survival (2006) by Nancy Werlin and The Compound (2008) by S.A. Bodeen. Thirteen-year-old Hunter feels utterly alone in a foster home, where his three "sisters" undermine his efforts to stay out of trouble and his greedy, cruel foster mother Stephanie blames him for everything. When the arrival of a motorcycle-riding stranger coincides with an unusual run of good luck for Hunter, he is tempted to believe that the man is a supernatural guardian angel sent to save him from his unhappy circumstances. But the reality is that the man is his biological father, an ex-con who wants his son back by any means necessary. In a particularly harrowing climax, the man violently confronts Stephanie and kidnaps Hunter. Terrified of being returned to his old life but unsure of his new one, Hunter has to decide if he can live with the consequences of his father's morally ambiguous actions. Suspenseful and unexpectedly tender, this short, action-packed thriller will be an easy sell to reluctant readers. (Thriller. 13 & up)
From the Publisher

Praise for THE GUARDIAN:

“Sweeney has convincingly channeled Hunter’s teenage angst, and readers will want to see his story, with its many twists and turns, through to the end.”—The Horn Book

“Hunter is a sympathetic hero, and his honest narration and the plentiful action will pull readers through to the end.”—Publishers Weekly

“Suspenseful and unexpectedly tender, this short, action-packed thriller will be an easy sell to reluctant readers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Sweeney’s latest is, like many of her previous, a notable choice for reluctant readers.”—Booklist

“Well-paced, and with a satisfying conclusion, this book will appeal to reluctant readers and fans of contemporary realistic fiction.”—School Library Journal

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466874428
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 465,740
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • File size: 181 KB

Meet the Author

JOYCE SWEENEY is the author of more than a dozen novels for young adults, including the highly praised Headlock. She lives in Coral Springs, Florida,with her husband, Jay, and her cat, Phantom.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2009

    An Edgy, Beautiful Novel

    Joyce Sweeney's new novel centers on Hunter, a teenage boy who has been in foster care his whole life. Now that his faster dad has died, he and his foster sisters are under their unstable foster mother's guardianship.

    His only shred of hope is when he sees long-haired, motorcycle driving man that he is convinced is the same man that came to him when he was four and told him he was his guardian angel.

    When things start changing for the better and his prayers begin to be answered, Hunter is sure that finally someone cares about him.

    But is his guardian angel really what Hunter hopes he is?

    I thought this was a fantastic novel!!! Joyce Sweeney so perfectly weaves the story Hunter so that he is real to the reader. I cared immensely about everything happening to him. All of his foster sisters and even his foster mother were starkly contrasted and made to be three-dimensional - honest and raw in their portrayal. Hunter's voice was spot on, and Sweeney's writing style was poetic - yet managed to never be long-winded, but instead suspenseful and gripping. My thoughts and reactions mirrored Hunter's. I felt like I was alongside him at every triumph, every fall.

    I was hooked. From the moment I opened it, I could hardly put it down. She does the unexpected - she surprises you, yet satisfies you. She haunts and disturbs you, yet inspires you. I cannot rave enough.

    All I can say is make sure to buy it or check it out from your library - because it is worth every second of your time.

    (I love reading! To read more of my reviews, if you're interested go to my blog:

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    Interesting Idea That Didn't Drag On (Reviewed by TheBookworm)

    The Guardian
    By Joyce Sweeney
    Pub. Date: March 2009
    3 out of 5 stars
    PG-13 - Violence and Profanity

    Hunter knew he would be okay, physically and mentally, when Mike was around. But now Mike has passed away, leaving his short-fused wife sole caretaker of four children, 3 daughters and 1 foster son. Hunter's mere presence could throw her into a violent rage. As his number of bruises skyrocket, his life takes an unexpected turn for the better. A mysterious force has begun to act on every prayer of Hunter's. Is there really such a think as a Guardian Angel? Or has Hunter finally gone crazy?

    The Guardian's plot was built on an interesting idea that didn't drag on. Every event ran quickly to the next. The family was a mess of odd characters. Hunter had my sympathy from the first page. His foster mom appeared to hate him and threw him off when she showed even the slightest compassion. She was very hard to pin down. All of his sisters were realistic and the youngest one was adorable. The dialogue was straight and to the point. The Guardian is going to be most enjoyed by middle school boys. The Guardian is a book worth your time, even though it seems over edited.

    Date Reviewed: March 30th, 2009

    For more book reviews and book information check out my blog at

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Aww such a great and sad story!

    Hunter is a 13 year old living with his abusive foster mother and three sisters. Things were going pretty well for him until his foster father dies. His foster mother becomes INCREASINGLY more abusive towards him, the bully at school raises the weekly fee, and because he can't stand it anymore he prays to that guardian angel he saw when he was four. But did he really see him? Is he imagining things or is his guardian angel really solving his problems? But do guardian angels seriously email people and scare a girl half to death? Hmm...curiouser and curiouser don't you think?
    I really liked this book! I would say it's a quick, light read, but even thought it's 177 pgs long, there is nothing light about it. It can get intense, unpredictable, crazy, and even pull at your heart strings at times.
    Many of the things that happened I just could never have predicted! It was just so surprising and sad!!! I really, really REALLY wanted things to end differently for him, but oh well. You will feel so sad for Hunter and by the time you've read the first ten pages, you'll be cheering for him and wanting him to just be happy. Trust me, it may start out slow but it gets intense then you just don't want to stop reading until you're finished and you find out what will happen with Hunter.
    I highly recommend this book so go out and get it now!

    Enjoy. :)

    From inside the book:

    The distant growl of a motorcycle engine wakes me up and I wonder if I'm going crazy. That's something I actually worry about a lot. Dr. Phil did this whole show on what kind of kids are prone to turn out bad and it was my biography.

    ..but when she says this, it's as if she reached into my chest and grabbed my heart.

    -reading about foster kids
    -guardian angels
    -awesome covers (If you notice on the back there are tire tracks!)
    -unforgettable stories
    -unpredictable stories
    -evil people
    -page turners

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)