I love book recommendations, and now that I am a mom, I always appreciate hearing about fun suggestions for my own daughter. If there's a teen in your life, this book list is for you—whether you are looking for books for your own children, godchildren, siblings, nieces and nephews, or just friends in general.
Fiction Novels for Catholic Teens
Below you will find book options covering a wide array of genres including a few classics, some history, as well as more contemporary options. Let’s dive right in!
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
I remember one of my class assignments being to write my own final chapter and conclusion to this classic tale by C.S. Lewis. This story begins with the narrator finding himself in a dreary town where he climbs aboard a bus which is headed towards Heaven. Surprisingly, many of the passengers request to get off before arriving.
The plotline will have you reflecting on good and evil. In Lewis’ words, “If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven.”
This book really puts attachment to earthly things into perspective!
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
This is Tolkien’s first book in his three-volume series The Lord of the Rings. As you read you’ll enter Middle-earth, home to charming hobbits like The Hobbit’s hero, Bilbo Baggins.
This mythic fairy-tale begins with Bilbo’s “eleventy-first” birthday party, and with his age, he is ready to entrust the dangerous and powerful Dark Lord’s One Ring to his young cousin Frodo Baggins. In their village of the Shire, Frodo accepts the daunting task to adventure across Middle-earth in order to destroy the Ring and the evil plans of the Dark Lord.
Adventure Novels on the Rosary
Champions of the Rosary by Laurie Schmitt
This book is written by a homeschooling mother of nine! In this story based on real-life events you will meet three siblings who are taught the catechism by Sr. Adele Brise.
These three siblings along with their older brother are witnesses of the 1871 Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin. A fire which brought devastation to over two-thousand square miles and killed over a thousand people.
What will become of the chapel where these children were taught? Will they find a way to escape the fire?
Lepanto’s Lady by Laurie Schmitt
Each year on October 7th, the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the day of a historic battle dating back to the 16th century Battle of Lepanto, won by Italy and Spain’s Holy League. A victory attributed to the Blessed Mother and the power of the Rosary.
Inside the pages of this book, based on real-life events of the battle, you will meet a young girl named Rosa from the coastal town of Amalfi. Rosa is searching for her father who has been taken by enemies. Will she be able to avoid danger as she attempts to save her father?
The Spear by Louis de Wohl
This Catholic author worked in astrology with MI5 during World II and over a dozen of his pre-war novels became the inspiration for movies.
This novel is about the crucifixion through the eyes of Longinus, the man who speared Jesus’ side to make sure that he was dead. As Boston Herald wrote, “It tells from a new and fascinating angle the age-old story of the men and women who were sublimely affected by knowing the Messiah, Jesus Christ.”
Louis de Wohl considered this book the most important work of his entire literary career.
A Woman In The Trees by Theoni Bell
Like Champions of the Rosary, it is so fun to know there is more than one novel about the Marian apparition site in my home-state of Wisconsin!
The protagonist of this book is a curious and explorative pioneer girl who lives on the American frontier. With tragedies including her family, the Civil War, and the country’s most devastating wildfire all a part of this book, she must learn to journey through life though both the love it provides and the loss it brings.
In Kendra Tierney’s review of the book (the author of the Catholic All Year Compendium) she wrote, “It’s a unique look at the lives of nineteenth century American Catholic immigrants, interwoven with the story behind the only approved U.S. Marian apparition. I look forward to making it part of our homeschool reading list.”
Anyone But Him by Theresa Linden
Caitlyn Summer was a “good girl”, and she imagined herself marrying a selfless and holy husband. Yet somehow she ended up marrying the bad boy, the same boy who pressured one of her best friends to get an abortion after getting her pregnant in high school.
Suffering from amnesia, Caitlyn can’t seem to remember the past three years of her life, nor why she married the man she is now with. While she is tempted to leave him and get a fresh start on life, her husband’s brother (and her first love) is there to offer hope by helping her recover her memory and seek out answers.
This question looks for the answer to the question, who changed, was it Caitlyn, or was it her husband?
A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman
In this book, sixteen-year-old Katelyn discovers a Rosary bead which belonged to her grandmother’s Rosary, and it bears her own initials. A Rosary which was lost in the plane crash which took her grandmother’s life and began the onset of her mother’s severe depression.
In conversation with a stranger, Katelyn is told that a similar bead saved the life of this stranger’s friend. Thus begins a journey sprinkled with hope, mystical events, and the outpouring of grace.
Will Wilder Series by Raymond Arroyo
The protagonist of this three book series is a conniving and somewhat stubborn twelve year old boy. In the first book, The Relic of Perilous Falls, Will has a sacred relic which is thought to have protected the town of Perilous Falls for almost one-hundred years. It is up to Will to fight the enemy when danger arises.
In book two, The Lost Staff of Wonders Will, is back again to keep Perilous Falls from the ancient evil demon named Amon. When the Staff of Moses disappears from the town’s museum, blame shifts to Will who is on mission to protect his innocence and put an end to the thief’s terrors.
In the final book, The Amulet of Power, Will longs to join his school’s football team. After receiving what was told to be a locket of Samson’s hair, he thinks he might just have what it takes to make the team. That is, until darkness and evil returns to Perilous Falls and yet again, it is Will’s responsibility to catch the demon. Will a touchdown goal be scored by Will in the meantime? You’ll have to read on to find out!
Treasures: Visible & Invisible by 8 Catholic Teen Books Authors
This book includes eight short stories. A few including a young girl who is searching for a mysterious treasure which holds the key to fulfilling a nun’s dying wish. Another about William, a boy who sees his weekend job as a gift, but knows his family is in need of a big miracle. The others include elements of unearthed treasure, visits from Heaven, mobsters, and a precious relic.
Looking for More Reads?
For more book recommendations I suggest A Mother’s List of Books by Theresa Fagan. I was given a copy of it by a stranger in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City this summer, right before witnessing the final vows of the Sisters of Life! I’ve been told it’s a “golden ticket” as far as book resources go and after reviewing it myself, I do agree!
What are your favorite fiction novels for Catholic teens?