Some Thoughts on Christian and Secular Fiction
Just as in any writing genre, there are many quality Christian fiction books available and some that are not as well written. While I love many faith-based novels, I enjoy reading good stories whether they be Christian or secular. There are also many great pieces of writing that are in the secular category. However, it is my preference not to read novels filled with profanity, strong language, or graphic sex scenes. For those in the reading world who feel as I do, I wanted to share with you some books/authors I have found in the more recent secular world. Books that I enjoyed that are what I would call "clean". By clean, I mean minimal bad language, profanity or sexual content.
Young Adult Genre
The Young Adult genre is a good genre for secular books with great stories without (as common sense would tell you) all of the "adult" content. Though these stories may have some mature themes or violent content, I have found most books in this genre are no worse than a PG movie as far as language and sexuality are concerned. The Twilight series is an extremely popular young adult series. It is primarily a supernatural romance. While it focuses on a passionate romance between a human and a vampire and includes large doses of passion and sexual yearnings, there are no explicit sex scenes and there is no premarital sex.
I especially enjoy the Young Adult Dystopian stories that warn against the corruption of society and governments. Some novels in this genre that I recommend are:
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. This was my was my introduction into the dystopian genre. It has a cruel oppressive government, family love and a love triangle...and young adults having to fight to their deaths! This trilogy is definitely dark and intense. The subject matter is disturbing and many ethical quandaries arise. I loved the bravery of our heroine and the relationships she formed through the story. I definitely had a clear favorite for the love triangle but I won't say which one!
Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie. This also featured an oppressive, controlling government. A love triangle. An uprising. This book series had much more of the romance featured and as a focus than The Hunger Games trilogy.
Both of these trilogies contains fascinating stories that leave you with thought provoking questions about society and freedom. They also both contain some romance (albeit love triangles) which is a bonus! I would also mention Divergent and Insurgent which are the first two books of another similar trilogy by Veronia Roth, however, I have not read the third and final novel Allegient. I loved the first 2 books, but I have read many mixed reviews on this final book of the trilogy so I hesitate to recommend it. I cannot seem to make myself read it because I do not want to ruin the story in my mind. From talking to friends who have read it, they were not happy with the way the series ended. So you might be interested in reading this series, but at your own risk.
One current mystery writer that I love is Mary Higgins Clark. Her books are always page turners for me! I appreciate that Mrs. Clark has chosen to write great suspense novels without including strong language or explicit sexual content.
Mrs. Clark has written 42 books and is 86 years old. Every one of her books has been on the U.S. bestseller list. Most of Clark's books are murder mysteries and many have a hint of a romance. Most of her books also cycle through different character's perspectives as the novels progress. A word of warning, I usually can't put these books down so you might not want to start reading one at 10 pm!
Some of my favorites of her novels include:
A Stranger is Watching
Love Music, Loves to Dance
I'll Walk Alone
Just Take My Heart
Nighttime is My Time
Several of Clark's books have also been made into movies for television.
It is definitely difficult to find a contemporary romance novel in the secular world these days without a lot of sex scenes. Here are two that I enjoyed that I would consider PG rated with no explicit sex scenes and minimal language.
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Austenland is a funny romantic comedy novel about a woman who cannot seem to find love because she is always looking for the real life version of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. She pays for an interactive Austen experience at Austenland to get it all out of her system...and the fun begins!
There is also a movie version of Austenland which I highly recommend as a great chick flick.
Safe Haven is a suspenseful romance novel. A young woman who is running from an abusive husband ends up in a small town and meets a widow with two children. Both character are healing from their own scars and romance ensues.
I admit I do not often read Nicholas Sparks books because they so frequently have SAD endings. Not to give anything away but I did like this book! It also contained a twist I did not see coming. There is also a movie adaptation of this novel of the same name available on DVD (though I do warn you the movie juices up the sex factor).
List of Clean Adult Fiction on Goodreads
Just a Few Ideas
I am sure there are many more novels in the secular fiction category that do not contain explicit content. There are also always classic novels to consider. This article covers just a few "clean" more contemporary secular novels that I have enjoyed. Hopefully, my list will continue to grow!
More "Clean" Book options - Christian Fiction
- My Favorite Christian Fiction Books
I love Christian fiction, but it is sometimes hard to find quality authors and works in this genre. Here are some of my favorite Christian fiction books and authors.