Trespasses Against Us by Christian M. Frank, the latest installment in the John Paul 2 High series, is a breath of fresh air in teen literature. Today's secular teen fiction tends toward the erotic and sensational but does not have much to offer in the way of quality, realistic, and morally sound literature. There is also Christian teen fiction, but sometimes the characters and stories are so clean that it does not mirror real life. However, Christian M. Frank is looking to change that.
Christian M. Frank is actually a team of people who took their pen name from their alma maters, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Christendom College. The initial "M" is for Mary, the Blessed Mother, who "keeps the peace between [them]." This team of people is looking to write books that are realistic, exiciting, morally sound, and geared specifically toward Catholic teens.
One strength of Trespasses Against Us is its characters. The teens in the series come from all different types of families: small and large, single parent and two parent homes, divorced and remarried, permissive and oppressive. The characters have a conversational style that is typical of young people, but the authors do not resort to crass and offensive techniques to keep the reader's attention. The plot is also fast-moving and exciting; it incorporates technology (i.e. texting, email, instant messaging) that many teens use on a daily basis. There are some very dramatic and violent events which may not be for younger readers. But these are events happening in high schools around the country and the team of authors takes on a difficult task in tackling them from a Catholic perspective.
The authors also do a great service to the reader by making sound, Catholic teaching accessible and applicable to everyday life. One challenge many teens face is applying religion to everyday choices. Trespasses Against Us uses the plot and framework of the series (a significant amount of time is spent in a Catholic high school classroom) to connect Scripture, the catechism and papal teachings to situations facing the characters and somce of those situations may even be similar to those of the reader.
In short, Trespasses Against Us is an exciting, entertaining, and educational read. If you have or know of a teen who could use something fresh and worthwhile in their literary diet, try introducing the John Paul 2 High series. I don't think they'll be disappointed.
This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company . Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Christian M Frank's Trespasses Against Us.