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Refresh Your Spirit

Ah, June…the start of summer. Time to refresh your spirit from a long—possibly unusual—school year. Summer often means family vacations, trips to the beach, days at the pool, afternoons at the park, and the perfect time to enjoy some amazing books.

When my kids were young, they looked forward to participating in the summer reading programs offered at our local library. The enticing prizes helped encourage their love of reading. I myself have fond memories of summer afternoon walks with my mom and sister to the bookmobile to eagerly search the shelves for new stories.

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s just something about summer and books that go hand in hand. Long summer days and new adventures seem like they’re meant for each other.

Whether you prefer some alone time with a good book or would rather gather with friends or family, I’ve got some fun ideas and book suggestions to spark your summer reading.

The next best thing to a time machine! Do you enjoy learning about the past or imagining what a future world may look like? You can transport yourself to another place or time through a great story. Amanda Lauer’s historical Civil War novels, the Heaven Intended series, are full of adventure, romance, and strong, feisty characters. Or maybe you’d be interested in Theresa Linden’s Chasing Liberty series, an exciting dystopian story full of intrigue, danger, and fantastic characters.

Take a Fictional Vacation! Why not travel vicariously through a story? Andrea Jo Rodgers’ Saint Michael the Archangel Academy series takes readers on adventures to Mount Rushmore and The Statue of Liberty as the main characters spend their summers working to keep the national monuments safe from destruction! A.J. Cattapan’s 7 Riddles to Nowhere is another fantastic choice. The reader journey’s along with the characters as they solve riddles and travel around the city of Chicago, exploring many beautiful Catholic churches.

Get ahead for next year! The last thing you might want to be thinking about is next school year but are you expected to write book reports as part of your curriculum? Why not read a few great books now that can be used at a later date, such as Ellen Gable’s Great War Great Love series. These historical romances bring World War I to life through the eyes of three North American young ladies who travel to France to offer their services as nurses. Or maybe a medieval adventure might grab your attention. Antony Kolenc’s Harwood Mysteries follow young teens Xan and Lucy as they uncover baffling mysteries at the monastery where they live.

Strengthen faith! Is there a particular Saint you’ve been curious about but never seem to have the time to research? Susan Peek’s books are all exciting adventures about real Saints! You’ll never think of Saints as boring ever again! Or maybe you’re curious about the Rosary or a particular sacrament. Stephanie Engelman’s book A Single Bead is a family drama with a unique mystery that highlights the incredible power of the Rosary.

Start a Book Club! Are you hoping to find a fun activity to do with a group of friends? Have you ever thought of starting a book club? CatholicTeenBooks actually offers several book club packs! These packs come with books, extra items, food suggestions, discussion questions, and more! Carolyn Astfalk’s Rightfully Ours would be a fantastic book to read with friends. This story is set during the summer and offers some thought-provoking discussion questions about relationships. Or maybe one of Leslea Wahl’s (me!) adventurous mysteries and their get-away settings—the Colorado Rockies, a South Carolina island, or Washington DC—might be the perfect choice for your gathering.

A Unique Family Night! Looking for something fun to do as a family? Why not read a book together. Or you could each read the book on your own then get together to discuss. One of the CatholicTeenBooks anthologies, with short stories by multiple authors, would work perfectly for such an event. Corinna Turner’s exciting unSPARKed series is another excellent choice. Her stories about a futuristic America where dinosaurs once again roam the earth are full of intrigue, excitement, and Catholic themes, which makes for fantastic discussions.

One on One Activity! Maybe you just want an activity to share with one friend. A day at the park can be spent chatting about a book you both enjoyed. T.M. Gaouette’s Faith and Kung Fu series is a contemporary story that brings two very different characters together. Gabriel, a stand-up guy, devoted to his faith, his mother, and his sport, and Tanner Rose—a spoiled Hollywood starlet. This entertaining read features many unforgettable characters. Or maybe you enjoy historical fiction. Carmela Martino’s Playing by Heart is set in 18th-century Italy and is inspired by the true story of two amazing sisters.

Quality Time with a Senior! Do you often wish you could find a way to spend more time with an elderly relative or friend but are just not sure what you would talk about? Reading a book together or meeting to discuss one you’ve both read would give you plenty to discuss. Cynthia T. Toney’s Bird Face series would make a great choice. This contemporary series has many interesting discussion topics and a sweet relationship between Wendy and her elderly neighbor. Or how about Katy Huth Jones’ Treachery and Truth? This true story of a Czech Duke—the very one from the beloved Christmas carol—Good King Wenceslas, offers a fascinating look into a dark time for faithful Christians.

However you choose to spend your summer, stop on by CatholicTeenBooks to discover your next great adventure!

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