New Teen Fiction: Charting the Course

Charting the Course is the newest teen adventure by Leslea Wahl. Hang on tight as the twists and turns of this high-seas adventure leave you bracing for the next wave of intrigue.

Ever since Liz’s parents divorced, she and her father have endured a strained relationship. So, she’s surprised when he invites her to spend part of the holidays with him on a Caribbean cruise. However, this is not just any cruise but his 30th high school reunion. While Liz dreamed of such a vacation, being stranded on a ship with her estranged father is not her idea of a merry holiday.

While an anonymous note, an onboard mystery, and a cute boy help turn the tide on the unwanted trip, Liz and her father drift even further apart. Then when Liz’s reckless actions create a tsunami of unintended consequences, she recognizes that she’s drowning in pent-up hurt and anger. As her carefully created façade begins to ebb away, she turns to her faith and sets off to chart a new course for her life.

Set amid the beauty of the Caribbean islands, Charting the Course delves into the topics of fractured families, generational high-school dramas, taking responsibility for your actions, and focusing on faith to keep us anchored.

Author Leslea Wahl shares some behind-the-scenes facts about Charting the Course:

1 – The main character Liz is the best friend of Josie, who is the main character in the first book of my Finding Faith series, Into the Spotlight. Liz was a relatively small character in the first book, but over the years, I thought about her often and eventually decided it was time to explore her story.

2 – I’m the type of writer that begins with a premise and then just starts writing, seeing where the story takes me. The twists and turns in this story made the process particularly challenging as I had to go back and adjust scenes to make sure it all fit together.

3 – Charting the Course is set on a cruise ship and includes several real incidents that my family experienced on cruises, including many family card games, shore excursions, a favorite piano player, and an onboard scavenger hunt.

4 – One of the interesting aspects of the story is the class reunion that Liz’s father is attending while on the cruise. For years I’d thought it would be fun for a teen character to get a glimpse into the adolescence of a parent. This was the perfect story for that element.

5 – During the lockdown of Covid, I had quite a bit of uninterrupted time to write this story. It was fun to see how several ideas that had floated around my mind came together in this novel. The research of the tropical islands provided a little imaginary getaway which was quite welcome. However, with the uncertainty at the start of the pandemic, I worried that people might never be vacationing on cruise ships again. Thankfully, that was not the case!

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Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fifteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary". She blogs at