If Kevin Russell had his way, he would stay clear of his rough-around-the edges classmate Billy Blankenship, who is widely known for his pranks. Then a Church teacher senses a hint of goodness in Billy’s heart and asks Kevin to secretly befriend the troublemaker.
Unfortunately, Billy’s creative shenanigans soon land Kevin in hot water with his parents and other ward members. He persists with his assignment, and genuine changes take place in Billy’s life. It appears a lost sheep will return to the fold. But as their friendship progresses through the years, Kevin discovers Billy holds the key to what is most precious.
Author Jeff Call has once again crafted a novel that will lead you down a surprising yet satisfying path. This is a true page-turner that readers of all ages will enjoy!
“I love Jeff Call’s novels. I'm amazed at the fertile goodness of his mind and heart. I always feel that he is talking about me and my family and the people in my neighborhood and ward. Prepare for an emotional ride as you read this spiritual adventure. You and your children will rejoice at the message of this needed addition to your gospel library. This book is his best yet.”
George Durrant, author and speaker
"The Lost Sheep (My Unlikely Odyssey with Billy Blankenship) is written by Jeff Call, and though it does have a few sports references, it is not a sports novel such as Call has previously written. It's a direct play on the parable of the lost sheep and possibly his best book to date. The cover and the simple language of the story might lead readers to assume this is a book for children. Older children might enjoy it, but the message is for all ages. I'd even recommend it for families to read together.
Kevin Russell is the eleven-year-old son of the ward Primary president and is frequently told he should be an example. That's fine with Kevin, but his last-year-of-Primary class is composed of all boys, all of whom are preparing to receive the priesthood except for Billy Blankenship.
Billy hasn't even been baptized and he's trouble wherever he goes. He turns Primary into a circus and is the source of an almost revolving door for class teachers who seldom last more than a couple of weeks. Some run after just one attempt to teach Billy.
At last a new, single sister moves into the ward and she's called to teach the class. This teacher is different and doesn't seem bothered by Billy's behavior though she takes a drastic step that changes Kevin's life. She takes him aside, explains the story of the lost sheep, and assigns Kevin to befriend Billy.
The good example child does his best, which lands him in the principal's office at school on a regular basis; he gets in trouble with his parents, and even gets picked up by the police. Out of it all, comes a lasting friendship that continues through their growing up years, missions, college, and into adulthood. If it sounds a little too pat, let me assure you it isn't. There are numerous twists and turns and an ending that is far from the expected.
There are some really funny lines in this story. There are also some deep truths approached from unusual angles. Call's style is warm and personal and the story is well-paced. This one is a keeper."
"I have never responded to an author before but I just put down your book after reading it and wanted to let you know how powerful it was for me! While reading it I thought it was probably fictioncould there really be a person like Billy?? Actually there was in my grade school and his name was Billy! What's worse is he had a twin named Bobby who was just as bad! When I got toward the end it was hard to hold back the tears. I will have to say this has to be one of, if not, the best books I have ever read. I am giving it to my husband to read and I plan on sending one to my 20 year old son in Logan Ut who is currently a "lost sheep". I hope he will read it and and that it will make an impact on him. I pray for miracles each day and after reading your book, I am reminded miracles do happen.
Thank you for writing this story!"