February—the month of hearts, love, and Valentine’s Day—is the perfect time to highlight some fabulous Romances. While teen romances can bring up some sensitive topics, I think it’s beneficial to have choices available that deal with these real issues from a Christian perspective. Amid the themes of dating, chastity, and love, these three stories add intrigue, mystery, and historical elements. So, if you know an older teen who enjoys a good romance, you might want to check out these faith-based books.
Before we begin…
In case you are new to my blog, besides writing YA novels, I love reviewing them as well. Every month I post about 3 YA books that I’ve read each month in a new genre. I also send 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 difficult to find. So, I’d like to introduce you to a few new adventures.
One Night with a Rock Star by Chana Keefer
I’d heard many good things about this book, so I was anxious to start reading it. Although, to be honest, I had some mixed feelings about this one. Strangely, I went from adoring it to being completely frustrated, from thinking a scene was totally unrealistic to rereading sections multiple times because I loved the way they made me feel. But, such strong feelings means it drew me in!
This story is about Esther, a college student who has a chance encounter with her favorite rock star. That one night changes her forever. As readers, we travel with Esther for the remaining two years of college as she struggles with her emotions and thoughts of the future, unable to get that evening out of her heart and mind.
The story begins with modern-day Esther, now an adult, retelling the story. While the bulk of the book is set in the late 1980s, it doesn’t feel dated and is very relevant to modern teens. The middle felt a little slow, and some parts seemed unnecessary, but because it has the feel of a memoir, those sections may be important for the character arc.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is filled with touching moments, romance, heartache, humor, and self-discovery. I especially liked the message that by living out our faith in an authentic way, we can truly affect and influence another person. Our actions and words can completely change someone, ultimately leading them to Christ.
The Truth About Romantic Comedies by Sean C. McMurray
Tim’s life is falling apart. His grandmother is sick, his single mom is overworked, and his girlfriend just broke his heart—over text. But when he meets the quirky Rachel, things begin to look up. Ready to find something to keep his mind off his problems, he’s happy to help Rachel on her mission to test romantic comedy cliches. But, just as things start to get interesting with this new relationship, Rachel reveals some bad news. Despite this new complication and her faith that he doesn’t quite understand, Tim remains determined to get to know this intriguing girl.
This book was a surprise. There were so many things that I enjoyed. The poignant moments amid the light-hearted story. The witty dialog. The faith aspects. And the interesting main characters—especially Tim, who was such a solid guy, despite some tough blows in his young life. The relationship between Tim and his grandmother was especially sweet.
The middle dragged just a bit, but the storyline kept me turning the pages. Overall, this book has a lot more depth than I first assumed. There were some really powerful messages about teen relationships, family bonds, and forgiveness. The truth about this romantic comedy is that it was very enjoyable.
Rightfully Ours by Carolyn Astfalk
Rightfully Ours is a novel for older teens about the importance and beauty of chastity. I’ve read a few books by Carolyn Astfalk and thoroughly enjoy her writing style. She is an accomplished Catholic romance writer and has brought her skills to the YA market with Rightfully Ours. This book is full of relatable characters, touching family traumas, and a beautiful love story.
This coming-of-age story about two teens, Paul and Rachel, is set around a family tragedy and an intriguing treasure hunt. Rachel’s parents are quite strict, especially when it comes to the boy she likes, Paul. The fact that Paul has come to live with Rachel’s family for the summer definitely complicates things. The story does a wonderful job of portraying a genuine relationship and all the accompanying feelings and emotions.
Through an engaging story, this book tackles an important topic that teens face in our society—purity and the handling of temptations. While the subject matter might not be right for everyone, I appreciate that the author isn’t afraid to discuss the issue in a very real way by showing modern, Christian teens struggling to make the right decisions.
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!