My latest book choice from The Catholic Company's Reviewer Program is a departure for me. Instead of spiritual non-fiction, I chose to try some Catholic teen fiction instead.
"Trespasses Against Us" is the second book in the John Paul 2 High series by Christian M. Frank. I have not read the first book in this series, "Catholic Reluctantly," though I had read an online review which highly recommended it.
"Trespasses Against Us" is a 300+ page novel that reads quickly. The characters are well developed, reminding me of myself and people I knew. I found myself thinking back to my high school days, and completely related to cutting through the woods to get a snack from "Speed E Mart" (though, in my case, it was 7-11). Without meaning to, I read the entire novel in one day.
I did find myself a bit lost in the background of the series. I am used to serial novels retelling the critical information (like why JP2HS was formed, what was wrong with St Lucy's, and how they managed an entire school with only 7 students), and I found that I was distracted by the fact that I didn't know the answer to these questions.
But, the story was compelling and the characters were developed enough that I could let that distraction go and just enjoy the story.
One of the things I liked best about this book was that it depicted Catholic teens living their faith in really matter-of-fact ways. They were "regular" kids. They lied to their parents, snuck out, fought with each other. There was nothing particularly notable about them. And yet, at the same time, their faith was an integral part of their lives. One character in particular, George, makes use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation several times in the book... always in ways that seem real, and make the Sacrament make sense for teens. And, at the same time, without seeming even the least bit preachy or holier-than-thou.
Overall, I enjoyed "Trespasses Against Us," and I plan to share it with the teens in our life. It's the first teen fiction I've read in years, and it piqued my interest in reading "Catholic Reluctantly" and also, Book 3, when that is released.