Novels are always a pleasure to read, but they don't have to be a "guilty pleasure." This week I'm featuring two novels by Catholic authors. You'll want to share these books with the teens in your life--but don't miss the chance to read them for yourself.
Angelhood by A.J. Cattapan is a YA novel but it will appeal to adults as well. Parents, this YA novel is completely safe to share with your kids in middle school and up. It's a powerful and compassionate look at suicide as seen through the eyes of a teenager who does the unthinkable. In this story, "purgatory" means that a person becomes the guardian angel for someone else contemplating the same fate. Purgatory ends when the ultimate choice for life or death is made.
A.J. Cattapan has written a powerful story with terrific characters. I was carried away by Nanette's battle to keep her charge from giving in to the darkness and evil that tried to surround her.
Suicide is a difficult and dark subject but the author has written a story based on hope, not darkness--and that's what distinguishes this book from the plethora of depressing YA novels on the same subject.
Down Right Good by Karen Kelly Boyce also involves angels, but in a much different way. Ten-year-old Angie, a child with Down Syndrome, shares a wisdom born of her ability to see angels with the members of her community whom she meets on her paper route.
This novel follows Angie through a single day as she carries her newspapers to her customers, visiting them and offering honest (painfully-honest, sometimes) appraisals of their situations. She guilelessly challenges people to take concrete steps to free themselves from the prisons of pain and unhappiness they have helped to build for themselves.
From the back-cover blurb:
Based on the third joyful mystery of the Rosary – the birth of Christ, Angie’s story emphasizes that God often speaks to us through others. He delights in using the weakest to reach the strongest.
This novel contains an unexpected moment of redemption that will bring a tear to the eye and a smile, all at the same time.
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Copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS.
About the Author
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count. Her booklet, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, is coming in May 2021 from Our Sunday Visitor.