Recently, my preschool aged son took me by the hand and dragged me into the young adult section of our library. He was determined to get there because he saw some superhero cutouts and posters in the young adult reading area. While he ran around the room I took the opportunity to peruse the titles. Not surprisingly, the covers seemed desperate to entice the easily influenced. Their titles were better suited for the romance novels a few sections over. What are my kids going to read in ten years, I wondered to myself as we left the library and headed home.
Fortunately it appears I have already found an acceptable alternative. Last week I finished the first book in The Light series by Jaqueline Brown and I’ve already squirreled it away for my daughter. From the beginning, the book secures its place in the genre of young adult lit, but with a deeper twist. The subject matter is decidedly serious. In brief, an EMP has crippled the United States and a young girl named Bria and her three friends are caught in the middle of it. Through luck (or in this case, the Divine) they are saved by a family she is mysteriously familiar with from her past. Due to the devastating effects of the EMP everyone has to learn to live as though they were thrust back into the early 1900’s. The story follows the family and Bria’s friends as together they grapple with their new, and sometimes brutal, way of life. Although somewhat beyond the target age, I found myself getting attached to the characters and felt concern for how the author plans to develop them.
The author does a fantastic job laying out the character dynamics and establishing the personalities of each person. Certain pieces of the book allude to what their future lives will be like, so it’s definitely a series to read in order.
This is a Catholic themed book, but the author is in no way overbearing about it. If your daughter is already rolling her eyes at the thought, let it be known Brown does not shy away from the usual young adult topics; dating/relationships, violence, death, guilt, self-doubt; rather, the characters confront these issues head-on, and answer with steady morality and Catholic values, which is incredibly refreshing.
Through the Ashes is the next book in the series and I am definitely looking forward to reading it.