Okay, okay. Lately, life has been busy enough that a major catalyst is required to get me to publish a blog post. The last post – over a month ago – was instigated by my appearance on “At Home with Jim and Joy” on EWTN television. In true “Stephanie” style, this post is the product of a similar event – namely, an appearance on “The Jen Fulwiler Show” on SiriusXM’s Channel 129. (I’d say “Eek!!!!” but I’m much too cool, calm and collected for that. Plus, I said it for about an hour after I received the request to appear.)
Anyways… My last post promised upcoming reviews of a few of the great Catholic YA Novels I’ve read lately, all of which are on the website, Catholic Teen Books. The site helps parents, educators, and teens find great, well-written fiction that promises to uphold and support Catholic, Christian values. Perhaps a day (or 30) late, but hopefully not a dollar short, here are those reviews. Your kids will love these books – and so will you – so please keep reading and order them from your favorite purveyor of literature!
Rosa Sola, by Carmela Martino – Ages 11+
Rosa Bernardi, an only child living with her Italian immigrant parents in 1960s Chicago, often feels alone, or SOLA, as her parents would say. But after she holds her best friend AnnaMaria’s baby brother for the first time, Rosa is sure that if she prays hard enough, God will send her a brother of her own. When Rosa’s prayers for a sibling are answered, she is overjoyed—until tragedy strikes. Rosa is left feeling more SOLA than ever, and wondering if her broken family will ever be whole again.
My two cents:
I absolutely loved this book. It deals with a heavy subject – the loss of a newborn child – but it does so with hope and faith. I confess that I had to set the book down at one point because I became so wrapped up in the emotions of the young protagonist, who had longed for a baby brother or sister and was heart broken by the loss. But, that’s the mark of a great story, right? I highly recommend this book for girls age 11 and up, and for 5th through 8th grade classrooms.
Treachery and Truth by Katy Huth Jones – Ages 13+
Immersed in the historical background of the tenth century, this true tale of Good King Wenceslaus, as told by his faithful servant Poidevin, brings the reader into the Dark Ages. Fear grips the land of Bohemia as the faithful face betrayal and persecution under the reign of the pagan Duchess Dragomira. As she struggles for power with the rightful heir, Prince Vaclav, her foes forge alliances in secret despite the risk of discovery. Who will survive?
My two cents:
Another wonderful book from Pauline Books and Media (no, I’m not biased!). The best thing about this particular book, though, is its audience – BOYS!!!! If you’re looking for an excellent read for a young man in your life, this is it. Well written, great story line, violence, intrigue, betrayal. Everything a boy loves. Plus the amazing faith of the much sung about saint of whom very little is really known – St. Wenceslaus. It would be an excellent addition to any 7th or 8th grade classroom.
P.S. I’m a girl, and I loved this book, so I think your daughter will too!
Angelhood by Amy Cattapan – Ages 15+
Seventeen-year-old theater geek Nanette believes her life is headed toward stardom on Broadway. But when her dream theater college rejects her and her best friend dies in a terrible accident, Nanette decides the world would be better off without her. Unfortunately, the afterlife offers something less than a heavenly situation. Trapped between alternating periods of utter darkness and light, Nanette is stuck following a high school freshman around. Soon, she learns she’s a guardian angel, and the only way she can earn her wings is to keep her young charge, Vera, from committing the same sin she did–taking her own life.
Unfortunately, Nanette is missing more than just her wings. She has no tangible body or voice, either. Frustrated by her inability to reach out to Vera and haunted by memories of her old life, Nanette wants to give up, but then she sees what happens when another Guardian at the high school turns his back on his charge. The shock is enough to supercharge Nanette’s determination. She’s going to find peace in the afterlife…as soon as she can convince Vera that living is what life is all about.
My two cents:
I purchased this and read it well over a year ago, but remember it as if I’d read it last month. The story is well written, the plot moves quickly, the characters are well developed. I’d highly recommend this for the highschool-aged teen in your life, especially if their lives have been touched by suicide, or if they’ve been traumatized by the show “13 Reasons Why.” In fact, I’d call this book the antidote to that mindset – a, “13 Reasons Why Not,” if you will. I’d also suggest reading it with your teen, as it will provide abundant opportunities for discussion that, sadly, is much needed in our day.
If Only I Had the Time…
Sadly, my reading time is ridiculously limited – even nonexistent – these days. I’d love to read and review all of the book on Catholic Teen Books, but – alas, I’m a long ways off. I did do reviews of Amy Cattapan’s 7 Riddles to Nowhere and Leslea Wahl’s The Perfect Blindside last year, so be sure to read those if you haven’t already. And of course, check out Catholic Teen Books for a wide variety of books that will appeal to all age groups and interests!
Note: The books reviewed above were all given to me by the authors or their publisher, not in exchange for a review, but so that I could share them with teachers at the NCEA Conference. I’m pleased and honored to review great Catholic fiction!
Also note: Book links are affiliate links. If you click on them, and add anything to your shopping cart, I’ll get a tiny but much-appreciated kick-back – but you’ll pay the same price! Thanks for your support!