Dear Book Lovers,

I’ve been thinking. There are a lot of monsters in teens’ lives—cliques, gangs, self-doubt, rejection, fear of rejection, the pressure and lure of sex and alcohol and drugs, family problems, friends with family problems, violence on school campuses, threats of violence on school campuses, uncaring teachers, overwhelmed teachers. And just when kids feel they are surrounded and it can’t get any worse, there is school work and what should they do with their future and the future of the world.

Maybe when teens read about kids who vanquish from-the-heart-of-darkness monsters and soul-sucking vampires, they are hoping that somehow in real life they will be able to survive and conquer their monsters. It’s a false hope.

Monsters in the real world do not tremble or flee because human beings are courageous and/or clever. In the real world they just laugh and open their devouring mouths. What a scary, crawl-under-the-bed thought! Then I remember Jesus. He is a monster-tamer. They obey him; they shut up; they die or run away. Jesus is the hero. He is the savior. I think if teens would read stories that show God active in the lives of other teens, they could have real hope.