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April 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth
This year’s batch of noteworthy historical fiction, reviewed in Booklist between April 15, 2017, and April 1, 2018, features topics both harrowing and hopeful, murderous and mischievous.
Ahimsa. By Supriya Kelkar. 2017. Lee & Low/Tu, $18.95 (9781620143568). Gr. 4–7.
In 1942, Anjali’s world is turned upside down when her mother joins Mahatma Gandhi’s protest movement to overthrow British rule in India. An empathetic, empowering debut about overcoming fears and biases.
Blood Water Paint. By Joy McCullough. 2018. Dutton, $17.99 (9780735232112). Gr. 10–12.
McCullough’s exquisite novel in verse follows the heart-wrenching true story of gifted Roman painter Artemisia Gentileschi. In the face of abuse and rape, Gentileschi finds strength and artistic inspiration in stories of resilient women.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. By Mackenzi Lee. 2017. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $17.99 (9780062382801). Gr. 9–12.
Henry Montague—bisexual and thoroughly debauched—prepares for his grand tour of Europe alongside Percy, his best friend and unrequited love. A modern-minded but thoroughly researched romp through eighteenth-century society, politics, and same-sex relationships.
Hell and High Water. By Tanya Landman. 2017. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763688752). Gr. 6–9.
Landman’s Dickensian novel follows the travails of Caleb, a mixed-race teen, as he tries to save his wrongly imprisoned father. This taut, sophisticated mystery brings issues of class, race, and justice into sharp focus.
The Island at the End of Everything. By Kiran Millwood Hargrave. 2018. Knopf, $16.99 (9780553535327). Gr. 4–8.
Lyrical prose transports readers to a Philippine leper colony, circa 1906. When a cruel government official sends all healthy children to an orphanage off the island, 12-year-old Ami plots a way to return home.
It All Comes Down to This. By Karen English. 2017. Clarion, $16.99 (9780544839571). Gr. 5–8.
In this pointed, compassionate novel, black middle-schooler Sophie struggles with her identity and family upheaval during the 1965 Watts riots. A nuanced story about the broad implications of prejudice.
Like Vanessa. By Tami Charles. 2018. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781580897778). Gr. 5–8.
African American teen and amazing singer Vanessa finds inspiration in Vanessa Williams’ 1983 Miss America win and reluctantly enters her school’s beauty pageant at the behest of a passionate music teacher.
The Secret of Nightingale Wood. By Lucy Strange. 2017. Scholastic/Chicken House, $16.99 (9781338157475). Gr. 5–8.
In the aftermath of WWI, Hen Abbott finds refuge from grief and her mother’s melancholy in her fairy-tale-flecked imagination. Interweaving bright, poetic prose with gothic imagery, Strange crafts an utterly enchanting classic of her own.
Soldier Boy. By Keely Hutton. 2017. Farrar, $17.99 (9780374305635). Gr. 8–12.
Hutton’s lightly fictionalized novel tells the story of Ricky Anywar’s capture by the Lord’s Resistance Army in 1989 and the 2006 rescue of Samuel, an 11-year-old LRA soldier. The narrative reveals the two boys’ experiences with searing urgency.
The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid. By Colin Meloy. Illus. by Carson Ellis. 2017. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780062342454). Gr. 5–8.
On the streets of Marseille, 1961, several young thieves take 12-year-old Charlie under their wing and start teaching him the ropes. Pickpocket lingo, disguises, and a well-planned con make this an irresistible historical adventure.
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