Tuesday, February 23, 2010

John Paul II High: Engaging Catholic Fiction

Continuing on my Lenten Catholic book club, I thought that today I'd mention a series that I'm really enjoying. The John Paull II High series by Christine Frank are published via Sophia Institute Press, and are a welcome addition to a paltry Catholic fiction market. They are targeted to a young adult audience, but as the Amazon reviews also cite, many adults also enjoy these stories. I bought book 1, Catholic, Reluctantly, last year and devoured it quickly. It is set around a budding Catholic high school, and chronicles the lives of a handful of students. The characters are interesting. One is the daughter of the principal, and worries about how the other students view her; one comes from a home-schooling background and isn't used to this type of school environment; one is a non-Catholic whose parents sent her to John Paul II high after a violent incident at the nearby public school; one is a wrestler who resents not being permitted to attend a different, larger school with an established wrestling program. All of them struggle with balancing their Catholic faith, and their very small (and devout) private school with the larger secular culture. The book is very, very good, and I couldn't wait to keep reading to find out what happened to all of the characters.

Book 2 came out recently, Trespasses Against Us, and I snapped it right up. It's sitting happily on my to-be-read pile.

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