Monday, January 10, 2011
Young adult Catholic fiction...
I know I've posted about these books before, the John Paul 2 High series, published by Sophia Institute Press. But I recently read Book 2, Trespasses Against Us, and they're just so good I thought I'd give them another mention. :)
Contemporary Catholic fiction is fairly hard to come by(at least as compared to general Christian fiction, which has a vibrantly large representation), and these books are a breath of fresh air. They are indeed written for a young adult audience, but nowadays, the young adult market is very hot, and it's not all young adults reading those books. This is an interesting genre, even if you're much older than 16. Sophia Institute Press has 2 imprints for Catholic fiction: Imagio, and Chisel and Cross. You can look at selections from both here.
But back to this series in particular. Book 1 is called Catholic, Reluctantly, and in this we are introduced to a small group of students attending a start-up conservative Catholic high school called John Paul 2 High. I like the diversity of characters that we meet: Celia, the principal's daughter, is the oldest in a big family and takes her faith very seriously. She tries hard to live a good Catholic life, and is sometimes labeled as "too perfect" by her siblings and others. Liz is the daughter of a teacher, but has a rebellious streak. Her sneaking around to meet up with a guy from the nearby public high school is putting her in some moral predicaments. Allie is the new girl, a transfer from the public school after a shooting took place there. She's technically Catholic, though her family has never practiced actively, and feels like an outside amongst the other Catholic students and their "weird" prayer practices. George is the strong male character, trying to live out a Catholic life while dealing with the temptations all teenage boys encounter. Brian is formerly homeschooled, for the first time attending a traditional school, and finds the adjustment difficult at times. J.P is the school prankster, and James, another new student, is so far to the ultra-traditionalist extreme (with a bit of a dark personality), that he gets under the skin of even the most pious of his classmates.
There's a bit of a thriller plot that run through both books, which continues into the third and as yet unpublished installment. But just the peek into the everyday lives of Catholic teenagers makes these books compelling for me. As you know, I like personal stories, books that demonstrate, rather than explain, our faith. They are very well written and engaging. Book 3 is about Allie's encounter with a non-Catholic summer camp and the precarious position her budding faith is put into as a result. It's done and in post-production, so should be released later this year. I buy these books the instant they appear on Amazon, and this will be no exception. These are great reads for you to enjoy and pass on to teenagers that you know.