The best Catholic novels to spark faith in teens

The Books I Picked & Why

Saint Cloud of Gaul, The Prince Who Traded Kingdoms

By Susan Peek

Saint Cloud of Gaul, The Prince Who Traded Kingdoms

Why this book?

I love all of Peek’s Saint stories, but this one really speaks to me. It’s an action-packed story that starts strong—with great tragedy—and goes deep. While the saints inspire me, biographies don’t suck me in and keep me turning the pages late into the night. This story does, and it brings the saint to life. In some ways, Cloud is an ordinary man. He struggles with grief, fear, anger, doubt, and even jealousy, making him easy to relate to. But he does not rely on his strength alone. He turns to God, grows in his love for God, and rises above his faults, becoming what we are all called to become: a saint! And that’s what inspires me.


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Loving Gabriel (Faith & Kung Fu)

By T. M. Gaouette

Loving Gabriel (Faith & Kung Fu)

Why this book?

I’ve enjoyed the entire Faith & Kung Fu series. It’s contemporary Christian fiction with teen characters that face teen challenges. Even though I’m not a teen, I can relate to each of the characters in one way or another, through their challenges, weaknesses, attitudes, or hopes. But I especially love how faith comes into each story. This final book in the series includes several fun-to-read moments with Gabriel and Tanner, but they soon face challenges to their relationship, which at times seem insurmountable. In addition to the theme that we are all a work in progress—which I can relate to—I love how this story tackles the preparation and considerations one should make when considering the sacrament of marriage.   


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Where You Lead

By Wahl Leslea

Where You Lead

Why this book?

This is an incredibly fun mystery with a great combination of action, adventure, and growing tension. The main characters are well-developed, likable, and positive role models. Eve is romantic, talkative, and doesn’t try to be like everyone else. Nick is level-headed, resourceful, and charming. Plus, he comes from a big and very interesting family.

As a history lover, I enjoyed the tidbits about the Civil War and the “virtual tour” of Washington D.C., visiting museums, monuments, cemeteries, and other historical places with the characters as they tried to solve this unique mystery. Several wonderful messages are weaved through this story, too, like trusting in God even when we can’t understand His plan and realizing that the smaller missions from God are just as important as the bigger missions.


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Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon

By Corinna Turner

Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon

Why this book?

I’m a fan of many of this author’s books, though I haven’t read them all yet. But I love this story because it is so unique and entertaining. Mandy is the world’s only half-sheep girl, and while she has a few sheepish qualities, this character is not weak at all, and she doesn’t let differences stand in the way of making friends. This story is packed with excitement but also with solid messages and Christian themes. It speaks to an issue relevant to everyone: regardless of the strength of the temptations we face, we need to work hard to rise above our impulses and do the right thing. And the least likely characters in this story are the greatest examples of resisting nearly overpowering urges.


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Rightfully Ours

By Carolyn Astfalk

Rightfully Ours

Why this book?

Well-written and enjoyable, this story takes an honest look at the physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of teens in relationships. As the characters’ feelings for each other grow, they confront new emotions and urges that they don’t always know how to deal with. Like every child raised Christian, they know what they are “supposed” to do but they don’t always understand “why”. Sometimes they make poor choices, but through all the temptations, challenges, and even failures, they both develop an understanding of the value of chastity. By the story’s end, they have a clear, solid, and mature grasp of its worth. I appreciate the message of developing a strong conviction about waiting for marriage, rather than allowing oneself the temporary thrill of partaking in something that isn’t “rightfully ours”.


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