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.
The three books I’m sharing about this month all deal with a specific issue. Fictional books have a unique and sometimes less intimidating way to help people understand problems in a different way than how non-fiction books delve into topics. Seeing characters deal with situations can provide insight in a relatable way and offer a great opening for discussing issues that can be tough to talk about. These three novels cover a wide range of age appropriateness – one is aimed at older elementary readers, one is perfect for the middle school age group, and one is for much older, mature teens. But they have a few things in common. All are beautifully written and each deals with real issues in a powerful, Christ-centered way.
Rosa, Sola by Carmela Martino
Rosa Sola is a beautiful story about an Italian immigrant family in the 1960’s. Rosa is in the fourth grade and wants nothing more than a baby brother. She decides to pray for a brother until God blesses her family. Amazingly, her prayers are answered! All seems perfect when she finds out her mother is expecting a baby. She will no longer be the odd girl at school with no siblings. But when tragedy strikes her family, she has many hard lessons to learn.
Carmela Martino always does an incredible job of pulling the reader into a different time period, surrounding them with memorable characters and historical details. This novel, for older elementary and middle school students, is a lovely story from a young girl’s perspective about the difficulties of life, understanding other people’s problems, and the importance of faith. Young Rosa struggles as she tries to understand the miscarriage that her mother has suffered from. This is a topic that we often don’t discuss openly but is a devastating situation for families. The end of a pregnancy and the grief associated are heart-wrenching realities. My heart ached for this young girl who was forced to grow up quickly and face many tough lessons by herself when her parents were unable to be there for her. But during this difficult time, young Rosa learned much about her family, her faith, as well as her own strength and determination.
The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch by T.M. Gaouette
The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch by T.M. Gaouette is a lovely, heartwarming story. I’ve never read a book that focused on foster families and was extremely moved by this touching novel. This is one of those stories that stays with you long after it’s over.
The author creates an array of interesting characters that are flawed yet understandable and memorable. What a great book for all kids to read, an engaging story showcasing the power of love and family – no matter what that family might look like. As a mother, it was heart-breaking to hear the stories of these fictional children and how they ended up in the foster system. These characters were fortunate though and were placed with a family that loved and encouraged them.
I thought the author did a wonderful job of showing the trust and abandonment issues these children carried with them. This middle-grade novel is full of heart-wrenching realities, faith-filled moments, and a powerful hopeful message. It would be a fantastic book to read as a family. This is a story that kids can learn a lot from and help them understand that there are many children out there that might not be as fortunate as they are.
Rightfully Ours by Carolyn Astfalk
Rightfully Ours is a novel for older teens about the importance and beauty of chastity. This is the first book I’ve read by Carolyn Astfalk and thoroughly enjoyed her writing style. She is an accomplished Catholic romance writer and has brought her skills to the YA market. This book is full of relatable characters, touching family traumas, teenage passions, and an intriguing mystery.
While an enjoyable story, this book deals with an important subject matter that teens face in our society- purity. Our teens are bombarded with societal messages that pre-marital relations are fine and normal. It is wonderful to have a book that discusses this issue openly in a faith-affirming way. Often, we shy away from discussing this topic but ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Letting teens know that their feelings are normal and showing them the beauty and importance of chastity is such an incredible message.
More information about all these books can be found at CatholicTeenBooks.com.
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!