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Find more Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth
A wide-ranging cast of memorable characters stand out in this year’s crop of best historical fiction titles for young people, all reviewed in Booklist between April 15, 2012, and April 1, 2013.
Code Name Verity. By Elizabeth Wein. 2012. Hyperion, $16.99 (9781423152194). Gr. 9–12.
In a book both crushingly sad and hugely inspirational, Julie pens her tale as a confession while strapped to a chair, recovering from the latest round of Gestapo torture.
The Diviners. By Libba Bray. 2012. Little, Brown, $19.99 (9780316126113). Gr. 9–12.
Bray dives into the Roaring Twenties and mixes a little bit of murder, a little bit of the occult, and a whole lot of fun in this novel that’s focused on a 17-year-old New York City flapper.
Dodger. By Terry Pratchett. 2012. Harper, $17.99 (9780062009494). Gr. 8–12.
Rich language, sharp characters, and a well-realized Victorian setting combine in this story of a trickster hero who expertly navigates the underbelly of London in search of justice and love.
The Fire Horse Girl. By Kay Honeyman. 2013. Scholastic/Arthur Levine, $17.99 (9780545403108). Gr. 8–12.
Jade Moon is born in 1906, the year of the Fire Horse and an ominous sign for Chinese girls, so her father ships the stubborn teenager off to California, where danger awaits at every turn.
Jump into the Sky. By Shelley Pearsall. 2012. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375836992). Gr. 5–8.
After young Levi travels to North Carolina to meet his father, an elite paratrooper in WWII, he experiences Jim Crow racism for the first time, as well as poignant emotions as he gets to know his dad.
Keeping the Castle. By Patrice Kindl. 2012. Viking, $16.99 (9780670014385). Gr. 7–11.
In Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, England, 17-year-old Althea Crawley is on a quest to marry rich so that she may secure the family’s only inheritance, a dilapidated castle. This witty take on classic Regency romances offers frothy fun for YA Anglophiles.
The Lightning Dreamer. By Margarita Engle. 2013. Harcourt, $16.99 (9780547807430). Gr. 7–12.
Told in multiple voices, Engle’s richly metaphorical novel-in-verse is a fictionalized biography of the nineteenth-century Cuban abolitionist poet Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, known as Tula.
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. By Sonia Manzano. 2012. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545325059). Gr. 6–9.
When Evelyn’s activist grandmother arrives from Puerto Rico in 1969, the 14-year-old is inspired to join the Young Lords, who are working closely with the Black Panthers. Manzano based this irreverent, honest novel on real-life political events.
Scarlet. By A. C. Gaughen. 2012. Walker, $17.99 (9780802723468). Gr. 9–12.
Debut author Gaughen offers an affecting take on an old tale in this rip-roaring adventure narrated by Scarlet, who has joined Robin Hood’s gang disguised as a lad.
Sophia’s War: A Tale of Revolution. By Avi. 2012. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $16.99 (9781442414419). Gr. 6–8.
In Avi’s intriguing novel based closely on historical events, 12-year-old Sophia, who is living in British-occupied New York City in 1776, becomes a spy who helps alert American forces to Benedict Arnold’s treachery.
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