Happy Easter! All around the world, 2+ billion Christians are celebrating this week! That's why it is so surprising to see so few characters of Christian faith depicted in Young Adult books. To remedy that, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Christian books for teens (with fantasy and sci-fi elements, of course!) Then I thought, why not go further? Why not write the longest guide out there? Here you have it.
Thank you to the many lovely authors and readers who recommended their favorites! If I missed any, I hope you'll drop them in the comments below.
#1 - 7 Christian Books for Teens
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
"I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
When someone says Christian fantasy, C.S. Lewis is often the first author who comes to mind, and this honor is well deserved!
The Chronicles of Narnia are brimming with Christian allegory and themes. Since this article is being released around Easter, I'd be remiss not to mention The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which plays out an allegorical version of the crucifixion and resurrection. This book also contains magical wardrobes, a land where it is always winter, a terrible witch, and a majestic talking lion.
The Magician's Nephew was another one of my favorites from this series. Magical rings and ponds that lead to other worlds? Yes, please! Beneath its fantastic surface, this novel tells the story of original sin and the corruption of paradise.
This book is, technically speaking, shelved middle grade (ages 8 - 12), but I couldn't bring myself to NOT give it to the top spot lol
Chronicles of Narnia
Book 1 - The Magician's Nephew
Book 2 - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Book 3 - The Horse and His Boy
Book 4 - Prince Caspian
Book 5 - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Book 6 - The Silver Chair
Book 7 - The Last Battle
# 8 - 11 Christian Books for Teens
Guardian Angel Academy
Tara Hart Heiner
Disclaimer: This series plays with Christian stories and themes, but it takes some liberties with certain concepts. However, this is fantasy, and I think Christian teens (and adults) will eat this one up! Read on to find out why.
The themes are absolutely Christian and will speak to believers of all ages who have or are actively struggling with their faith. The main character, Jez, isn't like all of the other teens at Guardian Angel Academy. She didn't come from a recent life on Earth but from Hell... In the first novel, she struggles with feeling that she will never belong and that she is not worthy. She is afraid she will always be consumed by darkness.
But God gives Jez a choice.
Later in the series, portions of Revelation are played out on page in all of its thrilling adventure. Major Left Behind vibes here.
Finally, we have an example of a loving Christian family on Earth, a couple who fosters children but cannot have their own. Despite that, they maintain their faith and show the main character a type of love she has never known before.
I won't spoil the ending of the novel, but I'm not even embarrassed to say I bawled my eyes out. The world is broken, but there is beauty here, and something better waiting for us.
Oh, and there's an enemies to lover romance subplot and magic too ;)
Guardian Angel Academy
Book 1 - Year One: Renegade
Book 2 - Year Two: Redemption
Book 3 - Year Three: Rebellion
Book 4 - Year Four: Revolution
#12 Christian Books for Teens
The Rose Gate
I haven't read this one myself (yet), but it came highly recommended to me, AND it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling!
According to one reader on Goodreads, "I liked the flicker of Christian religion in it, in passing references by Bel, for example about forgiveness from God – another element that I either find rarely in my fiction or, worse, as a negative element instead of a positive one." (Credit to Stephanie of Goodreads)
If you wish that The Cruel Prince was a bit less...cruel, or think that Downton Abbey could be improved by having forest creatures as staff, try The Rose Gate! This is a sweet retelling of Beauty and the Beast that kicks off the Faerie Tale Romances series.
There are more books in the series, but each is a standalone. This is the one with a Christian protagonist though all are clean sweet romance.
#13 - 17 Christian Books for Teens
"Behind the violence of the birthing of galaxies and stars and planets came a quiet and tender melody, a gentle love song. All the raging of creation, the continuing hydrogen explosions on the countless suns, the heaving of planetary bodies, all was enfolded in a patient, waiting love."
Many Waters is a part of the Time Quintet, one of my ABSOLUTE favorite series growing up. Many readers may be familiar with A Wrinkle in Time but have never heard of Many Waters, a spinoff featuring Meg's twin brothers! After another family experiment gone awry, the boys end up in the time of the Flood where they meet Noah and his father.
While often shelved middle grade these days, this book was originally shelved YA. It is very tame for contemporary YA but maybe a little much for early middle grade readers per some reviewers.
The story is set in biblical times, and L'Engle explores that. There is no modern medicine. Water and food are hard to come by. Garments are akin to loin cloths and revealing. The Nephilim are marrying humans, and the resultant childbirth often results in maternal death. A flood is coming, and almost all will die.
Book 1 - A Wrinkle in Time
Book 2 - A Wind in the Door
Book 3 - A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Book 4 - Many Waters
Book 5 - An Acceptable Time
#18 - 21 Christian Books for Teens
A Soul as Cold as Frost
A new addition to the list of "Christian books for teens" with books still being released in the series. This series has been highly recommended to me by several other authors (the highest of recommendations because let's face it, we're a difficult group to satisfy 😅).
One reader describes it as, "Beautifully written, and wonderfully layered, with Christian symbolism skillfully woven throughout, this first in series is a wonderful wintry tale perfect for a cold snowy night." (Laura on Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old Helen Bell understood tragedy better than most kids growing up. She knew what it was like to wear clothes from donation bins and be mocked for it. She thought those experiences made her ready for anything.
But she wasn't ready for the realm of Winter--a world tucked carefully into the cracks of our own where monarchs have risen and fallen, it's forbidden to mention the name of The Dead King of Winter, and the currency is gold rings.
When Helen receives a summons to enter into a traditional duel that leaves only one survivor, she's forced to finally pay attention to the boy who's been following her around with a warning on his tongue.
The Winter Souls Series
Book 1: A Soul as Cold as Frost
Book 2: A Heart as Red as Paint
Book 3: A Crown as Sharp as Pines
Book 4: A Beast as Dark as Night
#22 - 27 Christian Books for Teens
A Question of Faith
This series was recommended to me by the lovely people at YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Addicts, and I'm kind of obsessed with the cover...
According to a Vine Voice reviewer, "An intriguing story of Christian faith and magic, Nicole Zoltack’s A Question Of Faith explores the heartbreak caused by faithful denial of something the protagonist knows to be true." (Credit to Sheila on Amazon)
It’s not every day you learn you’re the incarnation of magic.
When Crystal learns her birth mother sought witches to conceive her, the fifteen-year-old’s faith is shaken. God isn’t the one answering her prayers. She is.
After her aunt is threatened, Crystal attempts to master her power, but flying and conjuring fireballs attract dangerous attention. A witch hunter kidnaps her boyfriend, and shamans and witches hunt Crystal, desperate to use her to end their centuries-old war.
If Crystal can’t figure out what she’s capable of, she won’t just fail to protect those she loves and end the war. She might start the apocalypse.
Book 1 - A Question of Faith
Book 2 - A Matter of Doubt
Book 3 - A Balance of Power
Book 4 - A Journey of Despair
Book 5 - A Measure of Gloom
Book 6 - A Glimmer of Hope
#28 - 29 Christian Books for Teens
“You were created for more than to bear the weight of your shadows- but you have to choose to no longer let them define you. You have to choose to let the light shine through the shattered pieces.”
I found this duology on Goodreads as one of the most popularly shelved "Christian Fantasy" novels. From the cover, I immediately knew it was going to be a YA Peter Pan retelling. (I also immediately knew it was going on my TBR.)
According to one Goodreads reviewer, "In a beautiful, symbolic picture of faith in the Christian life, she [Kara Swanson] reminds us of where our faith comes from and why we need to value and trust it." (Credit to Chautona.)
The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.
Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire's desperate search points to London... and a boy who shouldn't exist.
Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.
The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.
Heirs of Neverland
Book 1 - Dust
Book 2 - Shadow
# 30 - 32 Christian Books for Teens