Good Books For Catholic HS students?

I’m working in a library at a Catholic High School, and was hoping if anyone had some tips on what would be good reading material for students - I was thinking more in the secular sphere, b/c I do know a lot of good Catholic books (although any recommendations of those are helpful.) I’m hoping to encourage these kids to read, but I’m not familiar w/their age group’s books, and which ones are good and which ones are not. (ie: I’ve heard “Twilight” is huge now, but I’ve heard some negative things about it.) I just don’t want to be promoting books that don’t reflect Catholic values, but I also want them to WANT to read, and sometimes handing them a book with the word “Catholic” on it is a turn-off for young people. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks again!

EWTN has a show called “The Journey Home” they had an episode where they recommended Catholic fiction writers, some old and some new. they have podcasts of the shows, i recommend you download and listen or if they have the transcript of the show look at their recommendations. Ron Hansen was one of many suggested authors. I actually bought library copies of some from for low prices. You may have access to better prices than that even being in a library.

Of course, hopefully you do know about the big ones…JRR Tolkein and C.S. Lewis (not Catholic, but very close).

Peace and good luck.

Twilight is very poorly written and portrays an abusive relationship in a romantic light :rolleyes: If you were looking for secular books for teenagers, I would recommend The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It was the “big thing” after the Twilight-phase at my high school. It’s basically 1984 for teens. Might be a little violent, though… I don’t think it has any “Catholic values”, but if you were looking for a book that would make your students want to read, that would be it.

Actually, now that I think of it, it might be a little inappropriate. Oh, well. Check it out if you want. It’s a good book.

There are many Catholic books targeting teens. Father Stan Fortuna has a few really good books on spirituality and doing the right thing. Not specifically Catholic, Anne Rice has her Christ the Lord series (two books so far). One of priests was suggesting her books. Bruce Feiler (a Jewish author) has a number of books regarding the Bible and life in the OT world. He does mention Jesus and is neither critical nor judgmental of the Christian/Catholic Church. I have been to hear Bruce speak, met him and enjoy all of his books. His books are very well written. Dinner with a Perfect Stranger is a great story. These are just the books sitting right in front of me. I am a youth minister and have been told I think like a kid.

Here is a good place to start:

What high school kid has time to go to a school library for pleasure reading?!? :eek:

I know my Catholic high schoolers only had time to read for pleasure during the summer, and then only after their summer homework was done (my 10th grader had to read 2 books and write 2 in-depth analytical essays on them, all due the first day of school).

My senior had to read some 400 page governement policy book and wrote a 14 page essay on it, again due before school started.

Plus they have extra curriculars and hold down jobs…what pleasure reading?

Wow… I never did homework once in high school… summer homework was unheard of… plenty of time to hold down a job and read whatever I wanted! Looks like I had it easy :blush:

My daughter and her friends read and passed around the John Paul 2 High (as mentioned above) series at her Catholic HS and enjoyed them. The first one is called “Catholic Reluctantly”. Also for girls, Regina Doman has a series of books for teen girls. They have Catholic values, but are not blatant. One is called Waking Rose. My daughter liked those also. They also liked Carmen Marcoux “Arms of Love” and the sequel. The Narnia series can be enjoyed by all ages. Also, teens like the chastity books, like Jason Evert’s, because they give straight talk about sex.

I met Carmen Marcoux’s daughter at a Catholic retreat in my hometown :slight_smile: The Arms of Love series was a bit too… I don’t know- saccharine and simple… I think young girls would like it, definitely not boys, though :wink: Cute series, though.

Two good books: Fiction- “Redeeming Love”- fictional story but a great message…many young women put it as their favorite book (on facebook info:)

And a good non-fiction book is Matthew Kelly’s “The Rhythm of Life” and most books by him.

My kids go to a college prep Catholic HS. My senior will be taking 7 AP courses this year…he has high goals for his life, and he sees this as his springboard! He is already in the midst of setting up an internship for next summer with a financial company before the start of college.

Thank you for your suggestions - I will definitely look into them. CS Lewis and Tolkien are definitely up there among my favorites, but I was looking for more contemporary stuff too - you know how kids can be; if it’s “old,” then they may think it’s just “boring.” Anyhow…

Well, I wasn’t really talking about “reading for pleasure,” although I dare say kids (despite all their homework and other activities) still spend a fair amount of time in front of the TV and computer these days, and some of that time could be dedicated to “pleasure reading.”

My job is just to encourage them to actually read - whether it be for a class assignment, for fun, or for research. It’s about getting kids to want to read in the hopes that it will stay with them throughout their life. Reading also builds the intellect and helps students achieve a better grasp on the English language (of course, it depends on what you’re reading). I know how busy kids are - I wasn’t in college THAT long ago :slight_smile: - but reading certainly should be a high priority for students, whether it’s classwork or outside of it. Just putting it out there.

Any other suggestions are much appreciated :slight_smile: Thanks!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit