Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not Only For Teens

Teens may be the most difficult group of readers to find books for. As a parent, we want to encourage them to read, but when we see what's out there in the general market and in Christian fiction, it can be very discouraging.

I have three teens right now and they all complain about lack of choice, especially in Christian fiction. My daughter's a lot like me in that she doesn't want the "fairy tale" story. She wants gritty realism but doesn't care for the books available in the general market as they're too explicit. She loves Melody Carlson books and she enjoyed Bill Myers' Forbidden Doors series. My oldest son has discovered Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I can't get my youngest son past his Star Trek and Star Wars books yet, but at least he's reading.

So, if you're looking for a good books for teens to read, you may have to search a bit. I went to the experts, my kids, and got a few suggestions.

Nightmare by Robin Parrish - This novel isn't aimed at teens but when a book begins in an amusement park funhouse, you'll immediately catch the teen's interest. To quote my sixteen year old son, "Nightmare is a psychological thrill ride with mystery and suspense hidden behind every page." I think that says it best.

Dark Star by Creston Mapes - Imagine the world of Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler and you've got the protagonist in Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol and Full Tilt. The music scene is a huge draw for teens which makes Mapes books instantly intriguing. My daughter had this to say about Dark Star: "It has to be one of my favorite books I've ever read. I'm really into music, so the fact that Everett Lester is a rock star is really interesting to me. This book shows what can happen when you're on drugs, when you mess with a psychic, and what you feel like living your life without God. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 13. It's amazing." And my daughter has passed this book around to all of her friends.

Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen - Sam Carrier has Tourette's Syndrome and all his life  he's been subjected to name calling and bullying. He'd give anything to just be still, then maybe the beautiful Naomi would finally notice him. If your teen is looking for a book that's more challenging, that encourages them to think deeper, whose prose has a poetic quality, then check out Jonathan Friesen. (Parents love his novels too.)

What books do your teens like to read? Or, what would they like to see  at your local Christian bookstore or in your church library? Parents want to know.

On a side note, if you're interested in hearing the true testimony of a rock star, check out this video of Alice Cooper.

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