I don’t know if I believe in Teen Lit. Well, I guess I believe it exists as a genre but, as a parent, I have a hard time trusting it. In fact, I tell my kids to avoid the Teen Lit section at the library because I really don’t feel like having to read it all.
So, I’m left with a problem – How to find good books for teens? They read too fast! I’ve tried to give them Lord of the Rings to slow them down, but it didn’t seem to work. I’m considering giving them Moby Dick, but I just want them to slow down, not quit reading forever.
Teens, especially young teens and precocious pre-teens, are in a bind when it comes to reading. There’s some good stuff out there, sure, but they read so quickly that it’s hard for parents to keep up with curating their selections. Once they graduate emotionally and intellectually and are ready to read the classics, it won’t be a problem to discover a lifetime of reading. For now, though, the struggle continues.
This is why I was so intrigued when the good folks at CatholicTeenBooks.com sent me their latest anthology, Secrets: Visible and Invisible.
Basically, it’s an anthology of short stories from different writers. If any of the stories grab your attention, they have plenty of other novel-length work they’d love for you to check out. I like the idea, and I’ll say that while not every story resonated with me, several of them did and I’m definitely interested in following up with a few of these books for my kids.
I got in touch with one of the authors, Leslea Wahl, and asked her a few questions.
How did this particular collection of writers come together?
Leslea: Author Susan Peek and I had met online through the Books for Catholic Teens Facebook page. I was scheduled to do a book talk in Kansas for a homeschooling group and asked Susan to join me. We shared many Catholic teen books with the group and afterwards one of the mothers asked if there was any way for all the books we mentioned to be found in one place. When we got back to our homes we sent out an email to others we knew in the FB group and brainstormed the idea of a joint website – CatholicTeenBooks.com.
There are now 13 Catholic authors who all have a passion for writing for teens and hoping to encourage and strengthen their faith o the website. Someone proposed the idea of anthology and this particular one worked for 7 of us. Hopefully we can do some others as time goes on and get even more of the authors involved
I notice there’s a wide selection of genres included, is this on purpose?
When we decided to write the anthology we thought it best if we all wrote a short story that reflects our published books so readers could get a taste of our writing styles and genres. This is why there are different genres.
Are these all written with the same reading level/age group in mind?
While some of our novels are aimed at different age groups within the teen population – middle school vs. mature highschoolers – we wanted to make sure these stories would work for most everyone. On our website our novels are listed with age appropriateness in mind under the Teacher tab.
Do you find it challenging to write for teens, or do you simply write a story and then realize that it works well for teens?
We all have a passion for writing for this age group in particular. I myself was drawn to writing because I could not find appropriate books for my own kids. We searched and searched for fun books they wanted to read but also reflected the values we were trying to instill in them. I now read and review Catholic and Christian teen books on my website and several other places in hopes of sharing these kinds of books with other families.
Check out Secrets: Visible and Invisible and lots more at CatholicTeenBooks.com
Also, all you Teen Lit writers out there who might be interested in joining CatholicTeenBooks.com, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.