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Great Reads for Teens - Historical Fiction

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All books shelved in the Teen Corner, alphabetically by author’s last name, unless otherwise noted.

Flame in the Mist
by Renee Ahdieh
The daughter of a prominent samurai in feudal Japan is targeted by a dangerous gang of bandits who want to prevent her political marriage, a situation that compels her to disguise herself as a boy and infiltrate the gang's ranks in order to stop the individual behind the plot.

The Pox Party: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing
by M.T. Anderson
Diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age 16, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.
See also:
The Kingdom on the Waves

Lucky Strikes
by Louis Bayard
Set in Depression Era Virginia, this is the story of orphaned Amelia and her struggle to keep her siblings together.

A Mad Wicked Folly
by Sharon Biggs                                 
In 1909 London, as the world of debutante balls and high society obligations closes in around her, 17-year-old Victoria must figure out just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

Crossing Ebenezer Creek
by Tanya Bolden
Freed from slavery, Mariah and her young brother Zeke join Sherman's march through Georgia, where Mariah meets a free black named Caleb and dares to imagine the possibility of true love, but hope can come at a cost.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
by John Boyne                                     
Bored and lonely after his family moves from Berlin to a place called "Out-With" in 1942, Bruno, the son of a Nazi officer, befriends a boy in striped pajamas who lives behind a wire fence.

The Diviners
by Libba Bray
17-year-old Evie O'Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.
See also:
Before the Devil Breaks You 

Black Souls
by Nicole Castroman
In the late 1690's, Edward "Teach" Drummond, the soon-to-be Blackbeard, and his beloved Anne, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and his West India slave, are both on separate journeys to Nassau, but their paths cross when they become entangled with the treacherous Governor Webb, forcing Teach and Anne to take on a dangerous mission to save both their friends and his men. 

A Northern Light
by Jennifer Donnelly
In 1906, 16-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiancé, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest.

These Shallow Graves
by Jennifer Donnelly
A young woman in nineteenth-century New York City must struggle against gender and class boundaries when her father is found dead of a supposed suicide, and she believes there is more than meets the eye, so in order to uncover the truth she will have to decide how much she is willing to risk and lose.

Hamilton and Peggy!
by Laura Elliott
Peggy Schuyler has always felt like she’s existed in the shadows of her beloved sisters: the fiery, intelligent Angelica and beautiful, sweet Eliza. But it’s in the throes of a chaotic war that Peggy finds herself a central figure amid Loyalists and Patriots, spies and traitors, friends and family.

Wicked Girls
by Stephanie Hemphill
A fictionalized account, told in verse, of the Salem witch trials, told from the perspective of three of the real young women living in Salem in 1692--Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam, Jr.

Girl in the Blue Coat
by Monica Hesse
Hanneke, a procurer of black-market goods in 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, is compelled to help a desperate neighbor track down a missing Jewish teen who had been hiding from the Nazis.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee
Vowing to make his yearlong escapade across Europe his last hurrah before taking over the family estate, Henry "Monty" Montague and his best friend Percy find themselves in the middle of a dangerous manhunt involving pirates and highwaymen.

All We Have Left
by Wendy Mills
In interweaving stories of sixteen-year-olds, modern-day Jesse tries to cope with the ramifications of her brother's death on 9/11, while in 2001, Alia, a Muslim, gets trapped in one of the Twin Towers and meets a boy who changes everything for her as flames rage around them.

Woods Runner
by Gary Paulsen                                 
From his 1776 Pennsylvania homestead, 13-year-old Samuel, who is a highly-skilled woodsman, sets out toward New York City to rescue his parents from the band of British soldiers and Indians who kidnapped them after slaughtering most of their community. Includes historical notes.

Criss Cross
by Lynne Rae Perkins                         
Teenagers in a small town in the 1960s experience new thoughts and feelings, question their identities, connect, and disconnect as they search for the meaning of life and love.

Loving Vs. Virginia
by Patricia Hruby Powell
A tale inspired by the landmark 1955 civil rights case follows the relationship between two young people who challenged period segregation, prejudice and injustice to pursue a relationship at the center of a Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage.

Belle Epoque
by Elizabeth Ross
16-year-old Maude Pichon, a plain, impoverished girl in Belle Epoque Paris, is hired by Countess Dubern to make her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, look more beautiful by comparison but soon Maude is enmeshed in a tangle of love, friendship, and deception.

The Hired Girl
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself in a Baltimore high society household.

Blood Red Snow White
by Marcus Sedgwick
After leaving an unhappy marriage in England to work as a journalist in Russia, Arthur Ransome finds himself suspected by both sides of being a spy when he becomes involved with a Russian woman.

Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys
In 1941, 15-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author's family, includes a historical note.

Out of the Easy
by Ruta Sepetys
Josie, the 17-year-old daughter of a French Quarter prostitute, is striving to escape 1950 New Orleans and enroll at prestigious Smith College when she becomes entangled in a murder investigation.

 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (ADULT FICTION)
by Betty Smith
A poignant tale of childhood and the ties of family, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" will transport the reader to the early 1900s where a little girl named Francie dreamily looks out her window at a tree struggling to reach the sky.

Flygirl
by Sherrie Smith
During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

The Boy on the Bridge
by Natalie Standiford                         
It is 1982 and 19-year-old Laura Reid is spending a semester in Leningrad studying Russian, but when she meets Alyosha she discovers the dissident Russia--a world of wild parties, underground books and music, love, and constant danger.

I’m Glad I Did
by Cynthia Weil
In 1963 sixteen-year-old JJ Green, a songwriter interning at New York City's famous Brill Building, finds herself a writing partner In Luke Silver, a boy who seems to connect instantly with her music, and they start cutting their first demo with Dulcie Brown, a legend who has fallen on hard times, with a secret past.

Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein
In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.

Now I Rise
by Kiersten White
Lada Dracul seeks her younger brother Radu's help in securing the Wallachian throne, but their father, Sultan Mehmed, has sent him to sabotage Constantinople.

Blood and Sand
by C. V. Wyk
Recasting the legendary character of Spartacus as a fierce female warrior, a high-action story about a 17-year-old princess and a handsome gladiator who dared to challenge the Roman Republic depicts their precarious bond and role it played in bringing about a history-shaping rebellion.

The Book Thief
by Marc Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.