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 grandkids, 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.
This month’s books all are about characters who are dealing with some serious heart breaks within their families. All are contemporary stories, and all feature a female protagonist who is struggling with deep issues. But they are all very different types of stories so there should be one to fit your personal taste. I’m featuring one middle-grade story with bits of fantasy, one fun romance with a beautiful message, and one more serious southern drama.
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
Truth be told, I am a big fan of Christian author Jenny B. Jones. I love her writing style, her engaging characters, and their snappy dialogue. I also have always been a sucker for a great romantic comedy. But what I love the most about this author’s work is the way she includes faith and deeper subject matter within these fun romances.
When Finley Sinclair spends a semester abroad to follow her late brother’s travel journal, she discovers more than she was searching for as she grows close to her host family, the elderly woman she is assigned to visit for a school project, and the egotistical celebrity that is in town filming a movie.
This was such an enjoyable, fast read with a sweet romance and great characters that helped Finley grow throughout the story. (I especially enjoyed the spunky nun.)
While There You’ll Find Me has a lot of fun elements, this book also deals with the loss of a family member and eating disorders, both of which are horribly painful difficulties that some young people face. In addition, there was a very powerful storyline about forgiveness that will stick with the reader long after the book is finished.
The Locket’s Secret by K. Kelley Heyne
The Locket’s Secret is a sweet yet powerful story about dealing with tragedy. This wonderful book for middle grade students focuses on the importance of family. The story follows Carrie and her family during their move across the country to a new home. This homeschooled teen struggles to deal with leaving her home and friends, as well as the recent tragic loss of a younger sister. Carrie’s coping mechanism is to withdraw into an imaginary world to help manage the grief. The story alternates between Carrie’s real life and the adventurous fantasy that she imagines for herself.
I thought this was a beautiful story that shows how profoundly difficult it is to handle the loss of a loved one. Carrie struggles but eventually learns that family is her strength. This would be a great book to read as a family as it offers plenty of great discussion opportunities. I also liked that the family homeschools their children. I haven’t seen that included in many books.
Turning in Circles by Michelle Buckman
If you love a good family drama, Turning in Circles might be a great book for you. Michelle Buckman is a very talented writer. She fills this novel with beautiful, descriptive prose and a gripping story. At times the dialogue and characters seemed like something from another era, but that is part of the charm of this story.
This is the story of two, extremely close, sisters and the drama that tears them apart. Turning in Circles is powerful, heart-wrenching, and really makes you think about the small decisions we make that can have a lasting impact and can lead us down a path we never thought was possible. It made me want to wrap my arms around my children and not let them out of my sight. There were some unique characters throughout the book that triggered many different emotions. I was so frustrated with the parents in this story. They were both so wrapped up in their own worlds that they did not see what was happening under their own roof. Although, this is probably a very realistic depiction of life. This book would be great for an older teen book club.
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!