After taking a second look at our teen Summer Reading Challenge books (Reading List #2), we have decided to take two of our books–The Story of Owen and Saving Juliet–and replace them with other books. If you have already bought the original books, we deeply apologize. Hopefully you’ll see the wisdom of this change in the paragraph below. First, though, I do have two suggestions if you’re in this boat: 1) Amazon does have a book buy-back service which claims to offer up to 80% of what you paid for a book, and 2) We do still plan to do a review of both books. In the case of The Story of Owen, because it needs quite a bit of filtering through a Christian worldview, we will offer some discussion questions and audio to help your teens sort wheat from chaff. (In other words, we’ll give The Story of Owen the same amount of attention as our summer reading books–but not the same amount of exposure, hopefully.)
Why the Change?
Both The Story of Owen and Saving Juliet have some merit, and we still think that they may be used profitably by mature Christian readers. However, these books have a little more offensive material in them than we feel comfortable with for a summer reading book; they also aren’t really appropriate for younger teens, whom we want to feel welcome in our read along. In particular, Saving Juliet has more sexual themes than we wanted to deal with, and The Story of Owen is a more in your face about homosexual marriage than we wanted to address in a summer reading setting. It’s the kind of serious subject that ought to have its own focus…which we plan to give it in good time.
So, this miscommunication is absolutely my fault–I was not clear with my editors what I was looking for in a summer reading book. Thus, we have gone back to our top picks, and chosen a new list based on two criteria–fun, less problematic books that have a lot of good-for-you moral and spiritual content we can feel comfortable talking about with most teens. I don’t want to go so far as say ALL teens, but these selections are about as safe morally as you can get without losing all the drama.
In summary, I very much regret any trouble my mistake has caused you, dear readers. And while we’ll never be perfect, we do promise that next time we’ll be more careful to keep everyone on the same page.
A New Kind of List
Since we have decided to choose new books, I’m taking the opportunity to try a new idea: we have been planning to extend our summer reading challenge into several year-round reading challenges. In the spring and fall, I would like for us to offer 1) one fantastic new read, 2) one classic or book tied to what’s in the news (like our Ukraine posts) and 3) one literary movie tie-in.
So, following that model, here are the new books we’d like to cover this summer:
- Weeks One and Two, June 16-27: The Dragon’s Tooth (Ashtown Burials #1) by N. D. Wilson
- Weeks Two and Three, June 30-July 11: Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy) by C.S. Lewis
- Weeks Four and Five, July 14-25: Genesis in Space and Timeby Francis Schaeffer and/or The Giver (Giver Quartet)by Lois Lowry
You’ll note that the first book is our fairly new but fantastic story–one I hope guys and girls will equally enjoy. Out of the Silent Planet, of course, is a classic. And The Giver is coming out as a movie on Aug. 1. (If your family has already read The Giver, here is Janie’s review of Son, which is the latest sequel to Lowry’s original book. If your teens are older and have already read the original, they might consider that as an alternative. But it definitely has more mature characters and problems, and that’s why we’re sticking with the original for this read along.) Genesis in Space and Time is probably the best option for older readers, because it’s a classic in its own right about what time means in the Christian worldview. It is nonfiction, though, so not every teen will see it as summer fun.
DISCUSSION: Please let me know below if you think this still doesn’t hit the spot for your teens…maybe this is too “safe” for your college aged readers and you’d like to see us tackle more problematic stuff for them sometime?
Please know, again, I am very sorry for the original miscommunication. We really are working very hard to try to make your reading lives better, so please let us know how you think we could accomplish that goal.