Family-owned Christian publisher Tyndale House is unveiling the first release in a new wave of crossover books from its YA division. On sale this October, The Delusion by Laura Gallier brings a spiritual perspective to teen issues such as self-harm, suicide, and sexual purity.
“If you look at young adult books outside of Christian publishing, it’s very dark and hopeless,” asserted Linda Howard, associate publisher, children and youth at Tyndale, citing books such as 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. “Kids are encouraged to hurt themselves and sleep together before marriage.”
Tyndale, which started to expand its children’s and YA divisions last year, wants to combine clean Christian content with challenging issues teens are faced with today, all while appealing to readers with various faith backgrounds.
“We want strong writing and story that can be read by Christians and non-Christians and has a positive message,” said Howard. “It doesn’t have to have violence and promiscuity to be enjoyed.”
The Delusion follows Owen Edmonds, a senior in high school with an unstable home life. Unlike other teen characters in Tyndale’s YA books, Owen is not a Christian. After drinking mysterious sight-giving water, however, Owen is able to recognize the spiritual burdens of others—feelings such as hate, guilt, and grief are apparent in the form of chains and shackles. Owen can also see evil demons intent on driving humans toward wrongdoing and self-destruction, and before he can share what he’s learned about forgiveness and faith that can overcome the darkness, two of his classmates commit suicide.
“We are piggybacking on what’s out there—The Delusion keeps the feel of dark, exploring hard things—but there’s hope,” said Howard. “It’s the furthest we’ve ever pushed it yet.”
Author Laura Gallier explained that the inspiration behind the book stemmed from her work as a speaker on sex-related values and romantic relationships, and her writing is aimed toward warning teen readers of "the existence of unseen forces, both good and evil, while exposing strategies of the evil one," she said.
"The protagonist is an atheist, so even those with no faith in God can relate to the story," Gallier added. The Delusion was picked up for a film adaptation, but disagreements between the author and studio leave the future uncertain for a movie deal.
Next summer, Tyndale will release The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos, first in a trilogy that deals with race and privilege, and more crossover books that tackle serious subjects are in the works. Marketing and publicity for the YA books will include partnerships with youth organizations and ministries, and the publisher is offering additional discounts at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retail outlets. Additionally, Tyndale is generating promotional video content on YouTube while also providing key influencers with review copies.