It’s difficult to find high-quality Christian writing for young adults. This is particularly true of fiction, which is perhaps why The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was so rapturously received when it first appeared in 1950, and why the popularity of The Chronicles of Narnia has endured despite C.S. Lewis’ prejudices. There is, of course, much poorly written young adult fiction containing dubious eschatology and Pollyannish spiritual inanity—I’m sure the 40 books in the Left Behind: The Kids series are just as deficient in literary quality and doctrinal soundness as their adult counterparts.
Like the Narnia books, the best of the current crop is at heart good fiction, with convincing characters, compelling plot, and all the other elements that sustain good literature. It’s on closer inspection, or with senses already attuned, that a distinctly Christian message emerges. Most of the fiction below has a socially progressive undertow, and most, for one reason or another, concerns adolescent girls in situations of cultural displacement. Other than Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, the following books are suitable for kids 12 and older.
The young adult summer blockbuster Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of the better books in J.K. Rowling’s highly successful franchise. Her 16- and 17-year-old heroes still seem stuck at 14, though they’re finally wrestling with some of the thornier effects of puberty on friendship—how does a boy sustain a friendship with a girl on whom he has a wild crush? How does your friendship with your best friend survive if you kiss his younger sister?