Ashes, Visible and Invisible: Lenten journey from Catholic Teen Books

Authors: Leslea Wahl, Cynthia T.Toney, Marie Keiser, Carolyn Astfalk, Amanda Lauer, Ellen Gable, Corinna Turner, Antony B. Kolenc, T.M.Gaouette, Theresa Linden.

Cover Art: Corinna Turner

Edited: Cynthia T. Toney

Publisher: Catholic Teen Books

Age Range: 13 and up.

‘Ashes’, the latest compilation of stories from provides teen readers with plenty to think about.  This compilation focusses on the theme of Lent, Easter, and our own mortality.  In each of these stories, there is an encounter with death.  Sometimes a death is pending or has just occurred or is threatening nearby. But the experienced and very talented authors at have not presented a depressing, frightening or dark anthology here.  Instead, I was surprised to find that each story is uplifting, hopeful and very inspiring.

Teens will love it.

It would not be easy to write for a teen audience about confronting our own mortality or facing up to the impact of death on our lives.   Death brushes up against each of these main characters in different ways. In several stories, characters need to adjust to a different and financially challenging life following the death of a parent. In others, characters are struggling with the unfairness of life, and death.  Then there are stories where death is frighteningly close and requires an immediate response.

What binds these stories is that each young person must make a leap of Faith, take a step into a fuller, more mature understanding of their Catholic Faith.  Characters are called to forgive, to resist temptation, to be courageous, to be steadfast and responsible. All of them come to understand on a deeper level the sacrificial nature of Love.

‘Ashes’ calls to mind the words of Ash Wednesday, from dust you have come, to dust you will return.  Many of the teen characters in this volume are afraid, challenged, or need to work through the depth of their own Catholic faith in the face of ridicule, persecution, suffering… maybe even death. But the characters resist or rise to the occasion.  Sometimes life is messy, and none of these characters is perfect, and that’s what makes the stories so appealing.  I like the way the stories have been collated, each exploring a different angle – Lesley Wahl’s character sits with a man trapped in a car after an accident as his life seems to ebb slowly away.  Cynthia T. Toney’s character must remain steadfast and honourable after the death of his father, Corinna Turner’s character must put utmost faith in the blessed Eucharist in the face of terrifying prehistoric creatures. I liked how T.M. Gaouette’s story had strong references to Jesus wandering the dessert for forty days and being tempted and goaded by the devil.   Carolyn Astfalk’s character must decide exactly how much he is willing to sacrifice for another human being.

I highly recommend this collection of stories from the authors at  Your teens will love how characters struggle when confronted with the stark reality of death, but ultimately learn that with Faith, they can be heroes!

You can purchase Ashes, Visible and Invisible HERE

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