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.
Ever wonder why dystopian novels and movies are so popular? I think one reason might be because of our natural curiosity and concern about what the future might look like.
When I first started reading Christian books in this genre I admit to being a little skeptical, not understanding how Dystopian and Christian genres could meld together. Combining these together seemed odd to me but as I began reading I realized that if we ever did find ourselves living in an evil, deranged society, people of faith would band together and depend on their belief in God to get them through their ordeals. In the popular dystopian stories such as Divergent or Hunger Games, this element is of course missing, which is a huge flaw in those novels because Christians would delve deeper in their faith knowing that no matter what happens in this world we have the promise of eternal salvation.
Just one quick note – because of the subject matter all these books are recommended for the older or mature teen.
I Am Margaret by Corinna Turner
This is an amazing book, truly one of the best that I’ve recently read. This dystopian story is about a teen named Margaret (Margo) and her boyfriend/fiancé Bane. They live in a world that is full of evil and only the most productive members of society are wanted or needed, the others are basically recycled and used for parts to help the more worthy citizens. When Margo, who has always struggled with math, doesn’t pass her sorting exam, she is sent to a facility where she will ultimately be killed, but not if Bane has anything to say about the matter.
As much as I enjoyed this book, it might not be for everyone. There is some violence, as well as disturbing imagery and subject matter. However, it is so well written with intense action and incredible characters. Margo is strong, smart, fearless and her faith is unshakable. Bane, though a bit reckless is brave, selfless, devoted, and one of my favorite male characters ever. (I may or may not have a bit of a literary crush on him 😊) This couple as well as many of the other characters are fantastic. But the best part of this book is the strong Christian message. The way the author showcases the importance, power, and beauty of a strong faith is incredible.
Chasing Liberty by Theresa Linden
This is another Catholic dystopian YA novel by one of my favorite authors and is the first book in her Liberty series. This novel provides a fascinating look into a future world where religion has been eliminated. What I love about this book is the concept that God would still reach us and communicate with us even if we had never been told about Him.
The main character, Liberty, has grown up in a world void of families and faith. But she has been guided through her life by an inner voice she refers to as her “friend”. Until she is given an opportunity to live outside this controlled environment, she wonders if this inner voice is something she has made up.
Dystopian stories are always an interesting premise to think about. I love the Christian viewpoint that goodness, love, and faith will continue no matter what we might face. This is a wonderful read with plenty of discussion opportunities for older teens.
Pulse by L.R. Burkard
This book is technically not a dystopian novel but since it’s about a possible future scenario, I’m including it. Pulse is actually categorized as a post-apocalyptic book. What is the difference? My understanding is that a dystopian novel is about a damaged society due to corrupt governments. Post-apocalyptic novels are about a damaged society that is caused by a war or devastating natural disaster.
To be completely honest, I’ve had a little trouble reviewing this Christian YA novel. The reason for my hesitation is that there are some biblical and faith ideas/views that I question. However, for older teens these parts can actually add to the fabulous discussion opportunities this book provides. In fact, that is what is so great about this book – it really makes you think, making it a fantastic book to read with your teens or for a book club.
The premise of the story is that there has been a cataclysmic event, an EMP – electromagnetic pulse – that has destroyed all electrical circuits and grids. Basically, nothing works. There is no power, no computers, no phones, no running water, no flushing toilets, even cars won’t run.
The story follows three modern day friends and how each of them and their families deal with this disaster. One lives in the country, one in the city and one in a suburb. Some are more prepared than others. Seeing how they each react really makes you contemplate how dependent we are on technology and if something like this actually did happened what could we do? What would we do? How would others act when food and water became scarce? How would you protect and provide for your family? This is one of those books that keeps you pondering such issues long after the book is finished.
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!