I need some help: Christian fiction

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I need some help: Christian fiction

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feb. 5, 2010, 4:41pm

I'm a teen librarian, and I'm not religious, so books written from a religious viewpoint are not something that I would think to recommend. However, people do ask for them, I want to be able to satisfy their need, and it's not easy for me to judge what makes a "good" Christian book.

I'm trying to beef up a booklist to consult when I do get a request for a teen book with a Christian spin. So far, it's got 6 books on it, mostly Melody Carlson and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. I've recommended these in the past, but have no idea if they are really any "good."

Any ideas? Hopefully from someone who reads a lot of this stuff. :)

feb. 5, 2010, 8:16pm

When I was a teen I read a good bit of Christian fiction, most of it published for adults. Robin Jones Gunn has a few series for teens that are fairly decent (the Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series for younger teens, Christy & Todd: The College Years and the Katie Weldon series for older teens). Other than that, there are a lot of adult historical fiction series that teens might enjoy. Well-known authors include Lynn and Gilbert Morris, Beverly Lewis, Lauraine Snelling, Lawana Blackwell, Tracie Peterson Lori Wick, Lynn Austin . . . there are probably others I'm not thinking of, especially since I don't read a lot in that genre any more. Dee Henderson writes more suspenseful stuff with a bit of romance thrown in, her O'Malley series is quite gripping. For younger readers (tweens) Nancy Rue's Lily Robbins series seems popular at my library, and Wanda Brunstetter has a couple of series about Amish pre-teens that I think are also pretty popular. And Frank Peretti writes suspenseful stuff for both teens and adults, I believe (it's not to my taste, so I've only read one of his, and that was years ago). Hope this helps -- maybe someone current in the genre will come along and give you a few more current suggestions.

feb. 5, 2010, 9:09pm

When I was a teenage christian I read the Elizabeth Gail series by Hilda Stahl. As a pre-teen, I liked the Mandie books by Lois Gladys Leppard.

feb. 5, 2010, 10:44pm

Deeanne Gist is an author that I just recently discovered and she writes Christian fiction. I'll be honest with you...I was never a CF reader, but these books were so good that I didn't realize the genre until after I looked for another of her books.

The Boston Jane series is another great series.

feb. 5, 2010, 10:57pm

Similar to ReShonda Tate Billingsley:
Stephanie Perry Moore
Jacquelin Thomas
Victoria Christopher Murray
They write for both adults and teens, so make sure you get the teen series. . . . Not that the adult books would be THAT inappropriate ;^)

feb. 5, 2010, 11:26pm

Editat: feb. 6, 2010, 12:35pm

If any of your readers enjoy science fiction Christian books, the might like to try Chris Walley's Lamb Among the Stars series.

Some readers might be interested in Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti's books (I think most are either Christian horror, science fiction, or mystery...).

For historical fiction, Francine Rivers' books are also possiblities.

Stephen Lawhead writes some books which have Christian themes without ever specifically mentioning Christianity, or which involve religion without it being the main focus (at least it seems that way to me).

feb. 6, 2010, 2:41pm

I liked *Reconstructing Natalie* about a 20-something woman who goes through breast cancer. Very well-written and entertaining and REAL. Not preachy, just a normal American gal who gets the dreaded BC.

Also *So Not Happening* was a great chick lit read about a fashionista from NYC in high school whose rich daddy dumps mommy for a younger model and fashionista ends up living in OK City with mom...hilarious and down to earth.

Randy Alcorn is a good writer, too.

feb. 6, 2010, 10:18pm

My female students seemed to enjoy Janette Oke. When I retired, we had accumulated an entire shelf of her stories.

Editat: feb. 8, 2010, 7:32pm

Older teens would like Karen Kingsbury She has written a slew of books but my favorites are the Redemption series.
I also second the Robin Jones Gunn books and Janette Oke books especially the Love Comes Softly series of which several movies on the Family Channel have been based.

feb. 8, 2010, 8:26pm

For more conservative Christian views, the Left Behind-Kids series is very good. It ties to the Baptist religion, I think. There's an adult version, but the kids version is tailored for high schoolers, but the level could also be used for middle schoolers.

feb. 9, 2010, 10:20am

I second Robin Jones Gunn - my entire youth group ripped through her Christy Miller books, and they're now going through a second generation.

The Mandie books are also good, but a bit younger (pre-teen rather than teen).

As a teen, I was also reading a lot of Francine Rivers, Lori Wick, and Janette Oake - the former especially can be a touch more mature, but for older teens, her works are good.

març 2, 2010, 6:02am

Don't forget the obvious. C. S. Lewis, The Narnia Series still works for those who have not read him as a children. In fact, they'll get more out of it if they revisit it as teens. His space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength works for teens.

Madeleine L'Engle is a Christian writer, though I admit I did not recognize this as a child, before I became a Christian. A Wrinkle in Time actually works scripture into the text. She has a number of young adult books. A Swiftly Tilting Planet is another one I remember. She has some time travel to the time before Noah's ark that my kids enjoyed. I'm not sure of the title.

George MacDonald wrote fairy tale things that will not been enjoyed by most teens, but also books like Sir Gibbie, Robert Falconer, The Fisherman's Lady and The Marquis' Secret.

Keys of the Kingdom.

Some nonfiction that I would recommend for the Christian YA audience would be The Hiding Place, Irresistible Revolution, and maybe still The Cross and the Switchblade.

març 2, 2010, 7:34am

The time travel to Noah's ark (with Sandy and Denny, the twins from A Wrinkle in Time) was called Many Waters.

març 2, 2010, 8:03am

In addition to the other L'Engle titles RRHowell mentions, I would add Dragons in the Waters. I also really liked The Arm of the Starfish.

I can't say I'd second the Lori Wick and Janette Oke recommendations. I found them rather preachy and not very well written. But it's certainly a matter of personal preference.

I heartily agree with the Lewis recommendation! Older teens may really like Until We Have Faces and perhaps The Great Divorce. The Screwtape Letters is a lot of fun too, but I'm not sure it's strictly fiction. It's a fictional frame, of course — an elderly demon writing advice to his nephew on how best to tempt a human — but Lewis uses it to treat a vast number of nonfiction subjects. I love it, but I may not be a good representation of the audience you're thinking of, weener.

març 2, 2010, 8:12am

Oh, and I just thought of another one. Eric Wilson has written two books in his Jerusalem Undead Trilogy, Field of Blood and Haunt of Jackals. They are based on an obscure verse that mentions people rising from the dead at Christ's resurrection. Wilson takes an imaginative spin on that and casts those people as immortal guardians fighting the undead offspring raised by Judas' blood spilled in the Potter's Field. I haven't read them yet but I plan to.

maig 6, 2010, 12:47am

I agree with the Christy Miller & Sierra Jensen series by Robin Jones Gunn. I liked the Nikki Sheridan series by Shirley Brinkerhoff as well. Francine Rivers is a fantastic writer, her books aren't considered books for teens but I read Redeeming Love as a teenager and loved it.

Editat: maig 6, 2010, 7:04am

Shawn Lamb did a wonderful YA fantasy called "Allon". I just finished and reviewed it last week, and I can honestly say it was a very enjoyable book.

maig 17, 2010, 2:03pm

Some excellent authors in Christian Fiction that are very good for both teens and adults are:
Beverly Lewis
Tamara Alexander
Robyn Lee Thacher
Tracie Peterson
Judith Pella
Francine Rivers
Gilbert Morris

I mostly read Christian Fiction and I would say that this genre has thought provoking issues that are meant to inspire us to live the best life we can. It's language is usually clean and appropriate for teens but the plots are often dramatic or adventurous depending on the author. I often find clean romance in each novel. I think you should have a section for these books. They're good reads.

maig 17, 2010, 3:35pm

When I was a teen I loved Lloyd C. Douglas. His books are old and meant for adults but great fiction with a Christian theme.

maig 17, 2010, 4:55pm

My daughter likes to read Beverly Lewis, who has a long list of titles to choose from.

maig 17, 2010, 8:25pm

I second the Robin Jones Gunn suggestion - her Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, Katie Weldon -- are really "good." I enjoy her adult titles as well.

maig 18, 2010, 2:22pm

My teenage brother loves Frank Peretti. I remember when I was a kid loving his Cooper Kid series. I still collect them. My brother is also a huge fan of Ted Dekker along with other people I know.

maig 20, 2010, 6:22pm

This has been helpful for me, but at the same time has confirmed what I suspected: that my library doesn't carry much Christian fiction marketed towards teens.

We carry many of these suggested books, but in the adult fiction section. At least now I know I can recommend some authors that teens will enjoy, even though it's not catalogued as Teen and I'll have to send them to another floor.

Thanks to everyone who responded!

maig 20, 2010, 11:08pm

I havent' read it, but Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson comes to mind. A lot of the above books have been around for a long time (I'm thinking the Elizabeth Gail books), so you may want to check out the Samson book for a more present day read.

Mary E. DeMuth is excellent too.

maig 22, 2010, 4:25pm

Wayne Thomas Batson is one author I've thought of (who hasn't been mentioned yet) who has written some YA Christian themed books.

Editat: jul. 6, 2010, 4:26pm

Melody Carlson is a good writer, although a bit repetetive if you read too many of her books.
Robin Jones Gunn also has good books- I have never read the Sierra Jensen series, but I enjoyed the Christy Miller series, the Christy and Todd: The College Years series, and the Katie Weldon series.
Terri Blackstock doesn't write YA, but she does write suspense and romance novels, and many of my friends like her writing.
Beverly Lewis is okay; the only thing she's ever written that really held my attention was the SummerHill Secrets series.
I definitely recommend Frank Peretti- suspenseful and thought-provoking. Some of his work can be quite scary, though- like Monster.
Ted Dekker is a good writer, but be aware his work is darker than Peretti's.
Wendy Lawton wrote a series called Real TV- fiction about people on different reality TV programs. They're fun reads.
Jenny B. Jones wrote the Katie Parker Production series, and has a new series called A Charmed Life. Her characters are quirky and REAL.
Dee Henderson is good, although her books seemed very slow-paced after reading Terri Blackstock.
Sandra Byrd's writing is enjoyable, if predictable. I just read the first book in her latest series, London Confidential, and I think I will be reading the rest of it.

A lot of Christian books fall into the romance genre (Janette Oke, Karen Kingsbury), and I don't like straight-up romance, so I've tried not to recommend too much of it. Hope this helps!

jul. 6, 2010, 12:23am

#3- WOW! The Elizabeth Gail books! I had forgotten all about those, but I read them all, around 4th grade. I loved those, and never would have remembered the name! I think I read a few of the Mandie books, as well. Thanks so much for mentioning those :)

I don't know how dated those books will seem to current young adults, but I certainly loved them as a preteen in the late '90s!

jul. 6, 2010, 12:29am

Also, I agree with #17, Redeeming Love is a great read for teens. My friends and I all read it as teens (16-18 or so), and found it impossible to put down. It has some mature issues in it, but I remember all our moms were reading it at the same time we were, and had no complaints.

gen. 27, 2011, 2:58pm

Aw I'm late to this but I love Jenny B Jones and Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt for Christian fiction. There's also a decent series by Cindy Martinusen Coloma and Kristin Billerbeck has just started a new series and I thought the first book was really cute.

You might also recommend Sara Zarr and Donna Freitas who are both Christians but write for the general market and the forthcoming dystopian novel, Divergent, is written by Veronica Roth who is also a Christian.

feb. 13, 2011, 8:31pm

I'm really not religious so I'm not sure why I picked up these books as a kid or why I just decided to reread them about 15 years later, but Thomas Locke wrote a quartet of science fiction novels with a huge religious bent (being nonreligious I tended to roll my eyes at these parts, no offense, but I still enjoyed the story). The first one Light Weaver has a simpler plot, but the later three are a continued storyline Dream Voyager, Path Finder, Heart Chaser.

feb. 16, 2011, 1:38pm

I'm 34 and the Lost book series beginning with Chosen by Ted Dekker The entire series is incredible. This also ties to the paradise books Showdown and then to the circle series Black. I found the entire series completely enthralling.

feb. 17, 2011, 2:55am

jill willIamson her By darkness fed series has a major christian theme.

feb. 21, 2011, 7:27pm

L'Engle does not write from a religious point of view, but she does include characters involved with organized Christian religion. Her emphasis is on spirituality and what I think of as universalism-the interconnectedness of all things. She embraces moral behavior for its own sake- not for reward or due to cannonized "shoulds."
My perspective on L'Engle: it is outside of my experience for anyone to read her work and not feel touched by it.
Lewis Carroll: the Alice Through the Looking Glass books would fit your readers as you describe them. C.S.Lewis: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the books that follow are appropriate. (Lewis was a professor of Theology)
Older teens might enjoy the Alexander Macall-Smith books, starting with the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.
Anne McCaffrey has several series that deal with science fantasy. Her approach is also spiritual and moral rather than religious per se.
The Dragons of Pern series starts with DragonQuest.. is excellent. The companion series is shorter and focuses on a subset of the characters from the longer novels: DragonSong, Dragon Singer, Dragon Drums.

There is a series written for adults that I think young adults would enjoy: the characters are human and show their sense of humor. The author is Jan Karon and the first book is At Home in Mitford. The central character is an Episcopal priest, Father Tim.

I would always recommend the classics: Cervantes wrote about enduring faith in the good of man against impossible odds. Shakespeare is essential and approachable if preceded by a glance at Chute or Lamb-especially if the introductory play is one of the fantasy comedies (not Shrew), and is a text with the explanatory notes on the same page as the text. There are also Shakespeare texts that have been modified for young people.

The Chaim Potok Books, My Name is Asher Lev concerns an observant Jewish teen growing up in NYC trying to learn his place in the world without embarrassing his family. Although not Christian, young Christian readers might find the characters sympathetic.

Rumor Godden has several fine novels that well-read teens might enjoy.
Although I have searched this site, this is the first that I have registered, so if it is appropriate, let me know if these suggestions resonate with you and I will work to add to the list. This list is just off the top of my head based on what I recommended to my students and to my children, grandchildren, and young friends. (My daughter-in-law, who is very much a part of her traditional Catholic heritage, has been reading the early J.K.Rowling books to my younger grandchildren with no ill effects whatsoever.)

feb. 21, 2011, 8:38pm

Actually, Lewis was a professor of medieval and Renaissance English, not theology.

feb. 21, 2011, 11:43pm

I'm not Christian so I don't read much Christian fiction, but one book that I really enjoyed when I was younger was Christy by Catherine Marshall. It's definitely a Christian book and I enjoyed it because it describes a young woman who goes and teaches people in Appalachia. It was published in the 1960s, but takes place in 1912. The women who wrote it was married to a minister and was also a minister's daughter I believe.

feb. 28, 2011, 12:04am

I'm going to look in to a ton of these...great suggestions from many.

març 3, 2011, 10:45pm

Angel fish by lili wilkinson

Editat: maig 30, 2011, 10:55am

Christy by Catherine Marshall has been around a while but still a great story.

jul. 7, 2011, 9:51pm

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell; Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (only the first book is worth reading, though); My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara (and the second book, Thunderhead, but this is a bit dark. Neither have THAT much about God, though, but it runs through the story); Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson; and Miracles On Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen.

None of these are religious, as I'm not into traditional, depressing, 'oh dear me my life is ending' YA Christian Fic. But these have good morals and mention God in a positive way. I actually find that non-religious people like many of these books, as well. :-

jul. 11, 2011, 5:36pm

David Wilkerson recently died, too. I read his book ages ago and I was not a Christian at the time, but I still liked the book and thought it was very effecting.

jul. 11, 2011, 8:39pm

I have to put in a word for the rest of the Anne of Green Gables books. They're all worth reading, and the last one, Rilla of Ingleside, vies with the first as my favorite in the series. I'm curious why you dismiss them so casually, horsewriter?

jul. 11, 2011, 10:00pm

#42 -- I agree about the Anne books. They are all good, each in its own way. I'm particularly fond of the first three.

#40 -- I'm curious: could you cite a couple of examples of what you describe as "traditional, depressing, 'oh dear me my life is ending' YA Christian Fic"? Most of what I've encountered (and what I'm seeing in this thread) is pretty upbeat, often leaning more toward romance/chick lit or historical fiction. Perhaps you mean the sci-fi/thriller or Left Behind-type stuff, where the world is coming to an end? I'm not trying to say that what you describe doesn't exist, I'm just, as I said, curious.

jul. 12, 2011, 12:00am

I have to admit I haven't read this entire thread, but has anyone mentioned the Keystone Stables series? I'm not very religious and don't read many Christian-themed books, but that series meant a lot to me in my teenage years. It's a really wonderful tale of a rebellious foster kid who finally seems to find her place with a Christian household. (It also involves horses, which is a plus...)

jul. 12, 2011, 12:32am

I would suggest Lord Foulgrin's Letters and The Ishbane Conspiracy by Randy Alcorn. These books are pretty intense and eerie. I also suggest This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. All of these books deal with the war against angels and demons, or the unseen war, that goes on around us. Good battles and thought provoking about the spirit world for teens who like the intense thriller or the spook factor.

jul. 14, 2011, 5:39pm

Also, how about Frank Peretti's The Visitation. That was an excellent book. Quite a page-turner. I might have to re-read that one.

jul. 16, 2011, 11:27pm

#42 Hey, no effense here. I'm just a picky reader. If I read a book by a certain author that is spectacular I tend to raise the expectations for other books that said author has written and am often let down.

#43 Sure. The Winnie the Horse Gentler and Miranda and Starlight (this one is very unknown) series'. There are more, but I've forgotten the titles. I know that there are a lot of upbeat Christian fic books out there, I just haven't found them yet.

Mind you, the main reason I don't suggest certain books is because they aren't written very well (or there is a lack of enthusiasm in the style), in my opinion.

jul. 17, 2011, 5:11pm

Out of the silent plant trilogy by C.S Lewis.

Editat: jul. 19, 2011, 8:01pm

Hope I'm not repeating anyone else. But there is a book entitled "The Healer's Apprentice" by Melanie Dickerson. It's listed on Library Thing w/reviews. It was a finalist for this year's Christy Awards in the Young Adult category. You could visit the Christy Award site for the other Young Adults titles from this year and previous years. It is the most prestigious Christian fiction award.

ag. 2, 2011, 2:38pm

Sometimes when a book is labeled Christian reading, it doesnt automatically mean that there is religion in it.

It just means that there is no excessive adult themes, profanity, etc. Maybe try doing a search for 'family reading' or 'teen safe books'

I am careful about what movies I watch so I will do similar searches for dvd lists.It doesnt mean that I want to see cartoony stuff "rated G" fluff all the time but there are alot of interesting things that pop up in those searches like human interest, biographies, etc.

Hope this helps!

ag. 2, 2011, 5:28pm

Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness are fabulous! Also, highly recommend Lori Wick and Janette Oke as an Christian romance author for YA and adults.

ag. 9, 2011, 1:21pm

Regina Doman and Nancy Rue Seem to go out quite often.

ag. 9, 2011, 4:23pm

Chosen: Lost Books by Ted Dekker is a good teen fiction. I like most of the books by Jeannette Oak. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis is a good one. This is what I know for fiction I can give you a bunch for non- fiction

ag. 10, 2011, 7:05am

Another book that might go down well with girls is The Little White Horse. Elizabeth Goudge wrote many children's books with Christian themes, as well as some Christian devotionals. Also, a movie version has recently been made (admittedly removing a lot of deeper themes of the book) under the title The Secret of Moonacre.

oct. 18, 2012, 5:26pm

They will like Carlson's True Colors series or even Karen Kingsbury's series. And there is a book that may help and it is called Emerald Windows by Terri Blackstock. It isn't considered christian but it is a good book for those christian readers.

oct. 29, 2013, 2:52pm

There is this new writer who is 19 named Tessa Emily Hall. Very good. She just published her first book Purple Moon and has more books on the way.

oct. 29, 2013, 7:20pm

I'm the person who started this thread, and I want to thank you for all your help.

In the meantime, I actually found a Christian author I really like: Sara Zarr. She portrays people, religious or not, making the (sometimes hard) choice to behave in a very Christian way (in the best sense of the word) - practicing forgiveness and generosity. Unfortunately I don't think I can give it to a lot of the parents who ask for Christian books would like it for their teen, because she deals with real problems that teens have: sex, abuse, drinking, their parents not taking care of business. I will gladly give it to a certain clientele,but it won't do me any good for the parents who ask me for Christian books that are "clean" of this sort of problem.

nov. 13, 2013, 3:36pm