When the new doctor’s family moves in across the street, Glen is happy to show the son, Charlie, around the small town. With his good looks, charisma, athletic ability, and sports car, Charlie soon has the whole town in his corner.
Except Nicole, the prettiest girl in town (and the pastor’s daughter), who has no intention of dating Charlie. No matter how often he asks her. Or Luke, Glen’s best friend since kindergarten, who dislikes Charlie on sight and longs to wipe that smile off his face!
As Glen sidesteps the hostility between Luke and Charlie and assists Charlie in his quest to date Nicole, he faces major problems—some life-threatening, others life-changing.
He wanted to know about girls—were there any he hadn’t met yet? I really couldn’t think of any. Well, just a couple who I didn’t think he’d be interested in—one girl who never takes part in anything, and Zoey Burgess, who wears glasses and is kind of chubby and sort of plain. Girls seem to like her, but I’ve never noticed any guys that were at all interested.
And then I remembered her. Why I hadn’t before, I don’t know. She’s everything Charlie could want, and no doubt she’d like him, too. At least, she might. With her, you never can tell.
Charlie noticed that I’d stopped talking. “What are you thinking about? Remember somebody?”
I didn’t know whether to tell him or wait until he spotted her himself. I decided to wait. “Nothing special. If I’ve missed anyone, you’ll soon find out.”
About the Author
Whether I'm writing or speaking, the stories I tell have heart, soul, and satisfying endings.
In past lives, I've been a high school Teacher of the Year, a homeschooler, part of several church planting teams, a youth leader, a CE Director, a church planter, a small group leader, and founder and executive director of a national writers group.
I've been speaking to groups of all sizes since I was in my early twenties. A few of my favourite themes are hope, creativity, leadership, and making disciples.
I've also been teaching writers since 1992 and have a website dedicated to that.
Mostly, I love seeing people grow, do what they love, and live joy-filled, meaningful lives.
I'm a member of the Writers Union of Canada, Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and The Word Guild.
My hobbies include reading; listening to music (esp. country); watching baseball, basketball, curling, and ultimate frisbee; and doing jigsaw puzzles.
I live in the Greater Toronto (Canada) area.
I'm also the author of the Paul Manziuk and Jacquie Ryan Mysteries (as J. A. Menzies).
Read an Excerpt
There's a new guy in town... He wanted to know about girlswere there any that he hadn't met yet? I really couldn't think of any. Well, just a couple who I didn't think he'd be interested inone dumpy girl who never takes part in anything and Joyce Burgess, who wears glasses and is kind of chubby and sort of plain. Girls seem to like her, but I've never noticed any guys that were at all interested.
And then I remembered her. Why I hadn't before, I don't know. She's everything Charlie could want, and no doubt she'll like him, too. At least, she might. With her, you never can tell.
Charlie noticed that I'd stopped talking. "What are you thinking about? Remember somebody?" I didn't know whether to tell him or wait until he spotted her for himself. I decided to wait. "Nothing special. If I've missed anyone, you'll soon find out."
What People are Saying About This
The Circle of Friends series is a 2007 Read For Life pick.
“Circle of Friends is a fantastic series! I meet with a lot of teens and speak to a lot of youth groups. I see the things they go through in N.J.’s novels. The authenticity of Glen’s (main character) journey is impressive. I kept thinking how is she going to be able to top this book, but she did, each book got better and better.” Herbie Kuhn, In-house Voice of the Toronto Raptors
“These teen novels don’t sound like an adult writing about being a teenager; they sound like teens writing and living through the challenges of being teens today. N. J. Lindquist has an authentic voice, credible story lines and a gentle, non-preachy way of getting her point across. I recommend the Circle of Friends novels to every teen I meet.” Linda Hall, award-winning author and Christy nominee
“Capture the nature of friendship and what that means in this world of trials and temptations.” Neil Anderson, author of The Bondage Breaker, Stomping Out the Darkness, Discipleship Counseling
“N. J. Lindquist’s entertaining stories deal with a complex mix of teen relationships, moods, and motivations. Glen Sauten captured our sympathies as we rooted for him to stand up and discover himself. His problems challenge and develop his character, move the action along, and provide exciting moments. Lindquist has found the teen voice, but writes to the emotional needs of all ages.” Stephen and Janet Bly, authors of 100+ books
“Our Reading Review Member who read your book was absolutely thrilled! She commented, “This book has the clearest presentation of the salvation message I’ve ever read in a fiction book. (The story is good too!) We realize there are many good books available that do not appeal to young men, For this reason, we really appreciate this one because it appeals to teenage boys as well as girls. Stone Croft Book Center
"I have a 14-year-old son who never reads. I gave your book, Best of Friends, to my son and he absolutely loved it. I read the first couple of chapters to him to get him interested. He finished within a week. He thinks he is a lot like the main character. He can't wait for me to get the other books. This is music to my ears. Thank you for writing for boys of this age group." Alison Piercey, United Church Book Store, Newfoundland and Labrador Conference
“I bought this for my 15-year-old and ended up reading it myself. Loved it! A breath of fresh air in the young adult category!” Marilyn Yocum, author and speaker
“5 Stars is not enough for this Circle of Friends series! I bought the first book in this series for my 14 year old daughter. She read it and loved it so much she (politely) demanded that I get the other three books in the series. I did, and she loved them all. My daughter could not put them down. She was always at the good part, and whenever she was not reading the books she was talking about them! The books handle real-life teen issues in an insightful way - a way that offers hope to real-life teens. I only wish NJ Lindquist would write more of them!” Darilyn A. Sephto, writer and teacher
"It's a good series and speaks to kids where they are at." Susan Brandt, managing editor, Mennonite Brethren Herald
"N. J. Lindquist captures the voice of teenaged boys and offers a realistic look at the inner turmoil they face as they find their identity and make moral choices in the light of peer pressure. A master story-teller, Lindquist will hook you with the first couple of paragraphs and keep you reading." Deb Gyapong, author of The Defilers and former senior producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
“The students *really* enjoyed these books! They were 'fighting' with each other over who got the next one in the series which we have in the school! I have been recommending them to many parents with young people (especially boys)! N. J. is an astute and extremely engaging writer, first class…my opinion, for what it's worth. My son (age 13) read the whole series straight through…he could not put them down!...and he felt these were real people that he could relate to.” Zsiporah Moon, director of the KingsBridge School, Canada’s first Christian Arts School with a Classical Education focus
“N. J. Lindquist has a unique gift of using the written word to reach teens for Jesus. Readers quickly learn to care about the realistic characters. The emphasis on discipleship and cell groups shows how teens can be equipped to be leaders in the church. N. J. makes Christianity and Christ come alive.” Joel Comiskey, Joel Comiskey Group
“Teenagers lives revolve around their relationships and N. J. Lindquist knows it. In More Than Friends, readers live through the confusion, the fun, the betrayal, and the affirmation with Glen Sauten as he learns what it means to be a friend, a son, a boyfriend and a follower of Christ. The situations he finds himself in are not always pretty, but they are real, and teenagers will relate to his struggles as he transitions to adulthood. The importance of a small, genuine fellowship group in Glen’s life is a reminder to all of us of the importance of community.” Marg Buchanan, author of Famous Jerks of the Bible and Parenting With Purpose
"I teach a class of English 13 students. I call them my rug rats. They are 12 delightful grade 10 students ranging in age from 15 to 18. Two are from China (can barely speak English), four are from Korea (been in the country from between 2 months and 2 years and can barely speak English), six are Canadians (one boy tried to commit suicide last year and is currently suspended for drug use; one has just moved to live with his father here in Canada, from Florida, where he was living with his mother and siblings; one is ADHD and can barely read or spell but has great insights; one girl is very simple-minded and reminds me more of a grade 3 or 4 student by the comments she makes in class; another girl is ADD with overweight problems and low self-esteem).
Why am I telling you all this? I don't know, but I want you to know that I am reading them two things every day: a short passage of Mark from The Message, and Best of Friends. They listen to The Message, and they love your book. I wanted to thank you for writing your book. It catches kids who might not otherwise want to read or hear anything from a book." A high school teacher in western Canada
"Today I finished reading your book Best of Friends to my class of Hutterite students. No one was sick of it though. They laughed aloud, in delight, and were on the verge of cheers when Glen and Nicole finally figured out and declared their feelings for one another. In a unanimous vote, the students declared that the school needs to get the next book. So I guess I'll have to go to your web site and order it. I'd call my students' response a pretty high approval rating!" A teacher in a grade 4-6 setting
“Mrs. Lindquist is my favorite author because she wrote a book about me!” A 16-year-old boy who rarely reads books
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Best of Friends is the first book in The Circle of Friends series and it is wonderful young adult Christian fiction. Glen is a senior in high school and his friendship with his best friend Luke becomes strained when Glen befriends a new guy in town. Charlie is good looking and athletic and suddenly Luke's popularity is challenged. This causes an immediate conflict between them and Glen finds himself caught in the middle of their rivalry. He also finds that he may have developed feelings for Nicole, the young lady that Charlie has chosen as the girl that he wants to date. I found this book to be both refreshing and inspiring. So many young adult novels choose to show stress and conflict between teens and their parents so it is refreshing to see both Glen and Nicole enjoying family relationships filled with respect and love. It is also inspiring to see Glen grow in his faith as he becomes involved in youth group and church activities and ultimately makes the decision to give his life to God. Author N.J. Lindquist has been able to accurately capture the emotions, anxieties and drama that teenagers often encounter in their march to adulthood. I recommend The Best of Friends for both teens and their parents and I look forward to learning more about this circle of friends. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Book Club Network. My honest thoughts have been shared in this review.
N J Lindquist has a gift for getting into the mind of a 17-year-old boy. The Best of Friends is book 1 in her Circle of Friends series and it was the first book I've read by this author. I was impressed with how 'real' the characters became as I read the book. Glen Sauten's best friend since kindergarten, Luke, has started spending all of his time with his girlfriend, Jamie, leaving Glen at loose ends. When the new doctor's family moves in next door, their son, Charlie, latches onto Glen as someone who can help him navigate his new community. Charlie is as outgoing as Glen is reclusive and his personality draws Glen out, challenging him to examine true friendship. As Charlie quickly establishes himself as the most popular, athletic, all-around gifted guy in town, jealousy erupts between him and Glen's former best friend, Luke. Luke was used to being the 'big man on campus' and Charlie's arrival puts a crimp in his status. Charlie takes over as team quarterback - Luke's former position, he gets the lead in the school play - also something Luke usually got AND, worst of all, he's moving in on Luke's girl. When the two come to blows, which one will Glen support? Told in first person from the perspective of Glen Sauten, The Best of Friends is an examination of what it means to be a friend even when someone you consider a friend does something to damage the friendship. I loved the part of the story that dealt with Glen and Charlie attending church. Charlie drags Glen out of bed every Sunday morning to attend church - not because he's ultra-spiritual over even interested in the things of God, but because the pastor's daughter, Nicole is the most beautiful girl in the school and he's trying to get a date. Charlie pushes Glen into situation after situation, some even life-threatening, but none is more challenging to him than what he hears in church. This would be a great book for teens or to promote discussion of things like peer pressure, bullying, alcohol abuse, and what being a friend means. I enjoyed getting to know the ensemble cast of the book. I definitely recommend!
The Best of Friends by N. J. Lindquist is young adult Christian fiction at its best. First in the Circle of Friends series, readers meet Glen and his friends as they are entering their senior year in high school. New to town, Charlie, has moved in across the street from Glen and into Glen's circle of friends. With a Mustang, sports events, and, of course, the girls in the picture there is plenty of action to keep the pages turning. The author does a great job of portraying teenage emotions and actions and capturing the reader's heart for her characters. The main characters are well-developed and not static. Readers can see growth and maturity in their attitudes and choices as they face different situations. Strong family relationships are depicted well. I liked the openness and honesty in Glen and Nichole's interactions with their respective parents...a good role modeling for teens. I am looking forward to the next in the series and also to giving these books to my young teen grandchildren. I know they will enjoy them. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Book Club network. A favorable review was not required and opinions are my own.