This book is a personal favorite of mine. Not technically a young adult book, but translates well as a crossover. There are so many facets to this book that it's just epic. This book takes place in Australia on a horse farm and takes us to the Cathedrals of Rome. An epic romance that is doomed from the start. Meggie Cleary is a precocious little girl who catches the eye of Father de Bricassart. He mentors her and instills a sense of peace into the little girl who is surrounded by savage brothers. But as Meggie grows up her relationship with Father de Bricassart changes. She falls in love with the only man she knows that she can never have.
Definitely a game changer in the rules of Catholicism and priestly duties. Some people might call it blasphemous, but the story is about the heart. I highly recommend this book and if you can, watch the miniseries that premiered in the 80s. It was fantastic. As an aside, growing up Catholic, I was in confirmation class when the miniseries premiered. The priest implored us to not watch this as it was Holy Week and we would all be sinners if we watched this dreck. Well all us girls all ran home to watch! (I missed the first 20 minutes and this was long before DVRS!) I'm still kicking around so I don't think I was damned.
First published in 1978. This enduring story doesn't age with time, it gets better.