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Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List: Books for Teens

Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List for Teens

John Touhey | Aleteia

John Touhey - published on 05/31/24

Keep your teenagers spiritually and imaginatively engaged this summer by suggesting that they read one or more of these wonderful books!

Summer is a time for teens to relax from the stresses of school. At the same time, it is important to keep them engaged — intellectually, creatively, and spiritually. They will naturally associate books with schoolwork, of course. That’s why it’s so important that we propose books to them that are actually be interesting and fun to read!

The seven books on this list fit those criteria to a tee. Here you will find exciting stories and engaging characters, as well as fascinating takes on the events and culture that have shaped today’s world.

Note: Many of these books may be too challenging — intellectually and thematically — for younger readers. Fret not, however! Our list of Summer Books for Kids will publish soon! And also check out our fiction and nonfiction summer book recommendations for adult readers. Some of those may appeal to older teens as well.

Aleteia 2024 Summer Book List for Teens - Horizontal

Summer book recommendations for teens


Human Adventure Books, 2024.

Three teens find themselves lost in the woods without explanation or resources. A mysterious stranger offers them help, but should they accept? Sara Allegrini’s The Net asks the kinds of urgent questions that any lonely or alienated teenager will instantly relate to. It doesn’t hurt that the story is full of nail-biting suspense.

murder at penwood manor

Loyola Press, 2023.

Murder at Penwood Manor is the fifth book in the award-winning Harwood Mysteries series by Antony Barone Kolenc. Set in medieval England, we start off in a Benedictine Abbey where an orphaned boy with no memory of his past takes the name Xan (short for Alexander). Xan and his new friends set out to uncover his identity — but run into other perplexing mysteries and grave dangers as the series continues. Readers can begin with the first book, Shadow in the Dark, or dive straight into Penwood Manor, which skews older than the earlier books in the series.

A Lion for a Tomb

Unseen Books, 2024.

Novelist, Aleteia contributor, and homeschooling mom Sarah Robsdottir says of this book: “My teens and I really enjoyed Corinna Turner’s latest release Lion for a Tomb this year. The award-winning author of the I Am Margaret series does not disappoint with this educational and entertaining book about a modern teen whose life is powerfully impacted by St. Ignatius of Antioch.”  


Voyage Comics, 2022.

If your teen loves The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, then you will definitely want to add Tolkien and Faith to their shelf. The book is a collection of fun and insightful essays that explain the Catholic vision at the heart of the great writer’s mythology and storytelling. If you are a Tolkien fan, you will probably be tempted to steal the book from your teen so that you can read it, too — or you could just order two copies!

Saint Joan: The Girl Soldier

Louis de Wohl was one of the most popular Catholic writers of the 20th century. His enthralling biographies of the saints are still read day, probably because he made them so relatable, even at their most heroic. Saint Joan: The Girl Soldier, written for young people, is one of de Wohl’s best. Your teens probably know the basic story of the young woman who rose to command an army at God’s behest, but De Wohl helps readers enter into her spirit in a way that is never preachy.


Harper Collins, 1971 & 1995.

Yes, Cathedral by David Macaulay is a kid’s book, but it remains captivating for every age group — in fact, the older you get, the more you will want to dive deeper. How did the people of the Middle Ages manage to conceive and construct these immense temples of God? The answer to that question is what makes Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel the perfect “read more about” book on the topic. Teens who love science will be especially delighted to learn about the impressive technical feats of the supposed “Dark Ages.” It turns out maybe they weren’t so dark after all.

READ John Touhey’s article about Cathedral here!

We will publish individual articles about these books throughout the summer. And don’t forget to check out our adult and kids’ lists (coming soon) as well!

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