In case you are new to my blog… every month I post about 3 YA books that I’ve read, each month in a new genre. So, if you’re not interested in other teen books you can skip past this Book Review Post. I’ll still be sending out quarterly posts marked UPDATES regarding news about my own work.
But for those of you who have kids, or grand-kids, or you yourself like teen books (like me!), each month I’ll introduce some of my favorite Christian and Catholic YA books.
I’ve decided to provide more reviews because there are a few things I’ve learned since I had my first book published:
1 – So many of the teen books published by the big publishing companies contain messages that don’t match the values of many families.
2 – There are a lot of fantastic, clean, faith-based books out there. Books that are entertaining yet wholesome and reflect Christian values.
3 – These types of books can be really hard to find. So, I’d like to introduce you to a few new adventures.
December seems like a great time to review a few books about saints. During Advent, as we contemplate and celebrate the birth of Christ, we can also learn some incredible lessons from His most faithful servants.
Treachery and Truth by Katy Huth Jones
Are you familiar with the well-known Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas? Have you ever wondered about the inspiration for this classic song? If you’re like me, the answer is probably, no, you never gave a thought to the words you were singing. Well, lucky for us, Katy Huth Jones was curious about this character.
Treachery and Truth is the fascinating true story of Good King Wenceslas. This is an exciting and wonderfully written story about this beloved Czech duke, who was a faithful Christian during a time filled with pagan gods, betrayal, and war.
The book is cleverly written through the eyes of the Duke’s faithful servant. This was an intriguing way to tell this story. Though this novel is a work of fiction, the story is based on the facts known about this historical figure and draws the reader into his fascinating life. It was inspiring to see how this young hero’s faith and goodness affected so many around him.
Treachery and Truth would make a wonderful addition to your December reading.
The King’s Prey: St. Dymphna of Ireland by Susan Peek
Susan Peek has a series of books about saints titled God’s Forgotten Friends – Stories of Little Known Saints. One of the taglines she uses is – the saints weren’t boring why should their stories be? And that sums up her novels perfectly. She uses the historical facts and incorporates them into exciting adventures about some saints you might not have heard of.
I have loved all of Susan Peek’s novels, but I think The King’s Prey is her best book yet! She has taken this story about a little-known saint and created a heart-pounding adventure. For those who don’t know, Saint Dymphna was an Irish Princess in 628 who had to escape from her deranged father. There are not a lot of facts about St. Dymphna, but it is known that she fled across Ireland from her father with the help of several people from her father’s court and a local priest.
While this book is about a Princess, don’t let that fool you – it’s a great book for boys as well. Since not much information is available about those who helped Dymphna, the author has used her incredible story-telling skills to create an unforgettable tale about two estranged brothers with a heart-breaking past to add even more excitement to this fascinating story. The combination of perfectly timed humor, riveting chase scenes, and swashbuckling fights make for a must-read book.
One note – St. Dymphna is the patron saint of those afflicted with mental and emotional disorders. Her story makes for great discussions but also might not be appropriate for younger children.
What an incredible look into the life of an incredible man. Pier Giorgio Frassati is a somewhat newer saint, having lived in the early part of the 20th Century. Because of this, there is a lot known and documented about this saint. I thought the writer did a good job of keeping to the facts but making it feel more like a story than a dry biography. The reader is able to get a wonderful sense of Pier Giorgio through this book, which at times almost felt like a collection of inspiring short stories.
Frassati was an Italian man, born into a wealthy family. He was well educated and is now the Patron Saint of Catholic teens. This young man loved his faith and spent his short life caring for others. I had known just a little about Frassati through my son and his youth group. But there were so many things I learned and was touched by:
His incredible faith and devotion to the poor. Even at an early age, Pier Giorgio went out of his way to assist others and make them feel special.
His family’s indifference to these things. I was amazed at the constant struggle he had in focusing on his faith without his family’s support.
His strong friendships, especially with this sister. This was a young man who had many friends and loved their comradery. And the special relationship he had with his sister was touching.
He touched so many people in very powerful yet simple ways. This is the big lesson from this book. We all have this ability to help those in need, pray for others, and be kind to everyone we meet. Often saints seem to be people who did really incredible things, but this book is a great example of how everyone can really make a difference.
All these books can be found on Amazon. I’ve set links – just click on the highlighted titles. For those who don’t use Amazon you can also check Barnes and Noble online or www.indiebound.org where you can search for books and the local bookstores that might carry them or order them directly from the website. You can also ask your local bookstore or library to order the books for you.
Next month I’ll be reviewing three more Christian/Catholic teen novels. But if you’d like more reviews before then you can always check out my recommendation section on my website: YA Recommendations.
If you’ve come across this post on Facebook and would like to get my monthly reviews sent directly to your inbox, you can sign up on my website – www.LesleaWahl.com.
Until next month – Happy Reading!