I started working on this list near the beginning of June because I've read several books that I thought would be exciting to teens. However, since I hadn’t been following the Christian scene for a while, at least in fiction, I thought I would ask some other people for their opinions. In particular, I asked some authors and teens. Wow, was I overwhelmed with responses! The truth is, I got such a variety of responses that I haven’t been able to get it all together for an article. So here it is the beginning of July already. If I don’t go ahead, it will be too late for any summer reading. Well, this certainly won’t be an exhaustive list, but I hope it may lead my teen friends and parents of teens to some enjoyable reading for those summer days.
To begin with, here are some books I personally liked. I realize we are all different, but I’ll include a synopsis and a few notes of my own.
1. Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground by Frank Creed. Not specifically YA, but one that guys over 14 should really enjoy.
Persecution in Chicago has reached the Flashpoint. In the year 2036, all nations are run by a one-world government. The One State has only one threat: Fundamentalist terrorists. The One State has declared that every Fundamentalist is a terrorist.
Bible believing Christians are now ‘terrorists’! But the One State has not yet encountered Calamity Kid and e-girl...
When peacekeepers bust a home-church in Ward-Six of the Chicago Metroplex, brother and sister, Dave and Jen Williams, are the only members who evade capture. Their only place to turn? A Christian ‘terrorist’ cell known as the Body of Christ.
You can read the first three chapters here: http://frankcreed.com/flashpoint.html
2. Never Ceese by Sue Dent. Classified as YA although lots of adults (me included) like it.
A vampire . . .
A werewolf . . .
Can two who were wronged make it right?
By their faith.
A determined young werewolf, acting on her long-held wish to free herself of her curse, teams up with a skeptical vampire who can no longer admit that having his curse removed is something he wants.
Will Cassie Felts be able to help them, as her grandmother implored her to do, or will they suffer at the hands of a radical and evil stem cell researcher?
Excerpt here: http://www245.pair.com/sdent/newtext.htm
3. Seabird by Sherry Thompson. I really love this fantasy. The heroine is a girl, but I think guys will like it, too. In the same vein as The Chronicles of Narnia, but not as low a reading level with a bit more intensity and violence. Intended for a wider audience than just Christians.
When high school senior Cara Marshall is transported to Narenta, she is proclaimed champion of its people against the daemagos--a cadre of sorcerers. Amid the grateful welcomes, Cara protests that neither the title nor the mission are hers.
"They've got the wrong person and they're going to get me killed because they won't admit it." Is Cara's world-napping a mistake? The daemagos don't care as long as she's dead.
Pursued by ruthless werewright warriors, vicious serpent-hawks and the sorcerous daemagos, how can she know in whom to place her trust when even humans lurk as assassins in the shadows? As she races across an eerie and perilous ancient world, can Cara find the courage and strength to enter the heart of evil in order to save her companions and the Tethran kingdom?
Grounded firmly in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, this character-driven first installment of The Narentan Tumults is an epic tale of adventure, courage and faith.
4. Gentle Journey by Elaine Lyons Bach. Again, not specifically for teens, but it is about an older teen girl. It is set in the time period of Jane Austen, and written very much like her style. I truly believe anyone who loves Jane Austen will love this book.
Eden Barret longs to help society's downtrodden with her talent as an artist. When her initial plans fail, as a last resort, she finds work as a governess in the home of Colin Ashton, Seventh Earl of Edmund. There she hopes to continue to pursue painting in her spare time. Her beliefs and her choice to rescue two climbing boys from their abusive master, yet refusal to give testimony against the sweep cause her to cross swords with her handsome employer more than once, putting her employment in jeopardy. Her charge, Diana, is an intelligent, though lonely preteen, confused about what she perceives as her power to cause things to happen - bad things. Though diametrically opposite in beliefs, against her better judgment, Eden is attracted to the thoughtful and thought provoking Lord Edmund. All signs point to the fact, however, that Colin is courting his beautiful and sweet natured neighbor Cassandra Bradley. Diana is doing her best to keep her brother and Eden apart by encouraging him to believe Eden is secretly engaged to the handsome officer who brought her to Chadilane. Cassandra's military brother forms a tender for Eden while his family stays at the manor for a house party. Eden must defend herself when this suitor forces himself upon her, only to be placed in greater peril when the sweep returns with a secret grudge. Lives are transformed in this adventure of passionate faith and enduring love.
5. Asulon: The Sword of Fire Book One by William R. McGrath. This is a wonderful coming-of-age book that the guys should like. Not just teens; in fact, it has depth in many areas that most teens will not understand, yet it is a great adventure full of action that all guys will go for. Great description with martial arts but fantasy. Asulon is a “manly” novel if I ever read one. Hunting, survival in the wilderness, adventure, coming-of-age for a young prince, martial arts, assassins, intrigue, political hijinks, secret society, strategic warfare, swordplay, danger on every hand, the future of a country and the whole world at risk. With great detail and relish, Bill McGrath has written a fantasy filled with elements that are obviously close to his heart, creating a compelling tale of a young prince who is embroiled in a war of epic, even Biblical, proportions. It is not just a war of human enemies but Abaddon versus the forces of Heaven fighting for the souls of men.
6. Across the Wide River and The Light Across the River by Stephanie Reed. Historical Underground Railroad. Reading level appropriate for middle school. Fiction based very closely on true history. Very engaging stories based on real life abolitionist John Rankin and his family, whose house still stands in Ripley, Ohio as a museum to the work of the Underground Railroad. He and his family risked beating and arrest for hiding and helping many runaway slaves find their way to freedom.
7. The Seed of Seerling by Amy Kennedy. This one is being released today (July 1), and I haven’t even got a review up for it yet (coming very soon). Although the main characters are teens, well, the heroine is, it is actually more of an adult fantasy in many ways. I know my adult women friends will like it, the ones who like fantasy anyway. But so will the teens, girls and guys. Women Warriors in a tribe that worships an evil Goddess, magical powers, and another group of people who worship the One True God and have a society a lot like King Arthur’s. Great fantasy stuff . Intense. For older teens and up.
I didn’t find an excerpt, but here’s the author’s website: http://www.seerling.com
8. My Life, Unscripted by Tricia Goyer. This isn’t fiction, but it’s a little hard to describe. An interactive kind of book where you can write out your own life scripts. Using the metaphor of screenwriting, My Life, Unscripted explores relationships in every teenage girl's life-with herself, her friends and enemies, her parents, guys, and with God.
Real-life scripts, screenwriting terms, and timely topics, make this an interesting read for teen girls as they delve into their own inner struggles and outward relationships. They'll also learn the importance of "scripting" their own responses BEFORE challenging life-situations arise, so they are able to think about, pray about, and consider how to face these situations before the scene begins. By contrasting real-life with TV or movies, teens discover they don't have to get caught up in the drama.
Tricia is running a video contest for teens right now. Go to this page for details and to read the first chapter: http://www.triciagoyer.com/Youth.html
9. Time Masters by Geralyn Beauchamp. This is another action-packed, fun novel with a teenage girl for one of the main characters. The other is a big hunk of a Scottish guy. Guys and girls should both love it, but one warning: it's about 500 pages long. I thought it would take me forever to read, but it was so much fun that it didn't take long after all. And anyone who can handle a Harry Potter book can surely tackle this one.
Get ready for one wild ride! The year is 3698 and the threat of civil war is not only brewing, but near boiling. Kwaku Awahnee, Time Master of Muirara, must pass on his Time Mastership to his pre-chosen successor, Dallan MacDonald, to prevent the inevitable. Councilor John Eaton must tell the unsuspecting Scot of his new office and all it entails. There are, however, a few slight problems. To become a Time Master, the Highlander has to willingly join with a Muiraran Maiden, who, stolen as an infant, hidden in another time, and now grown, must mate or die. Dallan’s job of convincing her that she is Muiraran, not human, and persuading her to fall in love with him is a small task compared to their impossible race against time. John’s job is make sure the Scot is ready to listen. And then, of course, talk him into it along the way…
Excerpt: this is from amazon.com page
10. Chenoa's Spiritual Journey by Becky Jane Dice. What would you do if your parents made an important decision concerning your future; a decision that meant you had to give up family, friends, and the only home you've ever known? For 16-year-old Chenoa Fawn Gray Owl, her parent's decision to leave the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona and move to Ohio would change her life forever. Chenoa is about to embark on a spiritual journey.
11. Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges.
Ireland as it has never been seen before – in a future where hope is hard to come by. Mariah, living in the dark time after the advent of a one world government, seeks the light in the underground Fellowship of the Awakened. Shortly afterwards, nearly the whole earth is silenced, and she struggles through the shock with a handful of survivors. Yet the danger has not passed away entirely, and they are forced to fight for their lives using an untested technology.
Faith, too, grows up in Ireland, but it has little in common with the homeland Mariah knew. Sometimes she thinks her life is perfect, asking herself, “If this is a dream, when am I going to wake up?” Other times it seems repetitive and monotonous. She experiences much to delight her, but also suffers from inexplicable bouts of amnesia that rob her of the past again and again. Seeking answers, she travels much in the free world, where disappointments and successes vie for the upper hand until she finally finds fulfillment in spite of all her disasters.
Excerpts and more: http://www.faithawakened.com/index.html
Yikes! I have barely begun to scratch the surface!! I haven’t even mentioned the books that were most popular with the teens who responded to my queries or the ones that should be in your library. To be continued tomorrow!