Reclaiming NickI’m one of those who bemoan the loss of Sweet Valley High. In the absence of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, pre-pubescent kids today are left with teen chicklit, basically Sex-and-the-City high school edition.

I’ve recently (re)discovered Christian fiction. The average love story goes longer than the typical Sweet Valley or Sweet Dreams series, and the size of the paperback is bigger and thicker than the pocketbook I was used to in high school.

But most of the stories in the Christian fiction genre are just as engaging. Some characters successfully come to life, too, crossing the barrier that makes the life lessons in a make-believe world just as real in ours.

So far, I’ve only read those written by Caucasian Americans (I had to google “Caucasian” just to be sure I wasn’t being impolite). Predominant topics by these writers include historical fiction: either prairie or cowboy types (think Americana), or suspense types (think real-life thrillers, like evil spirits and end times). But I find that these authors are more natural when creating worlds filled with cowboys and pioneers–I guess I just never bought into the Left Behind craze.

The latest titles now out in the market have tasteful covers (as you can see in the one I’ve recently finished). Plots are promising, values uncompromising. But beware of pages of platitudes and sermonized dialog. I think some authors don’t know how to stop at subtle; either that or they think readers just don’t get it unless they’ve hammered it in from the pulpit.

Still want to try it? For starters, click on Zondervan and Tyndale and read some sample first chapters. You’ll find a litter of them all over Amazon, too.