YA Historical Fiction

Ever wanted to time travel, but lack the technology? Look no further! These books transport you to the past—some with modern sensibilities or fantasy thrown in!

Compiled by:
Sam O. & Fern S.
As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow

Zoulfa Katouh
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Katouh)

Salama Kassab, a pharmacy student volunteering at the hospital in Homs, is desperate to find passage on a refugee boat for herself and her pregnant best friend, but first she must learn to see the events around her for what they are—not a war, but a revolution.

Before We Disappear

Shaun David Hutchinson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Hutchin)

Jack's clever trickery makes him the perfect assistant to the Enchantress, one of the most well-known stage magicians. Then a new magician, Laszlo, arrives in 1909 Seattle, and his act threatens to overshadow the Enchantress. Jack discovers that what makes Laszlo's tricks possible is Wilhelm, a boy whose abilities defy all the laws of physics.

The Black Kids

Christina Hammonds Reed
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Hammond)

With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble.

The Boy in the Red Dress

Kristin Lambert
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Lambert)

New Year's Eve, 1929. Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. Marion is the club's star performer and his fans are legion.When a young socialite wielding a photograph of Marion starts asking questions, her body is found crumpled in the courtyard, and all signs point to Marion as the murderer. Millie knows he's innocent, but local detectives aren't so easily convinced.

Butterfly Yellow

Thanhhà Lai
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Lai)

A Vietnam War refugee in Texas partners with a city boy with rodeo dreams to track down the younger brother she was separated from six years before when he was evacuated by American troops during the waning days of the Vietnam War.

Daughters of a Dead Empire

Carolyn Tara O'Neil
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Oneil)

Russia, 1918. With the execution of Tsar Nicholas, the empire crumbles and Russia is on the edge of civil war. Evgenia—a peasant and proud member of the Bolshevik party—agrees to help a bourgeois girl, Anna, traverse the war-torn countryside in search of safety, but Anna is harboring a secret that could cost them their lives.

The Davenports

Krystal Marquis
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Marquis)

The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in 1910 Chicago, and the two daughters, Olivia and Helen, are finding their way and finding love—even where they are not supposed to.

Destination Unknown

Bill Konigsberg
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Konigsb)

It's 1987 in New York City, and Micah is at a dance club, trying to pretend he's more out and outgoing than he really is. C.J. isn't just out—he's complete out there, and Micah can't help but be both attracted to and afraid of someone who travels so loudly and proudly through the night.

The Forest of Stolen Girls

June Hur
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Hur)

In 1426 in Joseon, a year after her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of thirteen girls, Min Hwani returns to the island of Jeju to pick up his trail with the help of her estranged sister.

The Gilded Wolves

Roshani Chokshi
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Chokshi)

Keeping close secrets in the wake of the Exposition Universelle in 1889 Paris, a wealthy hotelier and treasure-hunter is tapped by a powerful order to lead an elite team on a quest to track down an ancient artifact of world-changing significance.

Hotel Magnifique

Emily J. Taylor
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Taylor)

Jani and her little sister Zosa secure jobs at a glamorous magical hotel, but when Jani realizes that their staff contracts are unbreakable, she embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa—and the other staff—from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d'hôtel.

How Do You Live?

Genzaburō Yoshino
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Yoshino)

Told in two voices, Copper struggles to confront inevitable and enormous change after his father's death and his uncle writes to him in a journal, sharing knowledge and advice in 1937 Japan.

I'll Take Everything You Have

James Klise
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Klise)

While running a con in 1934 Chicago, Joe splits his time between Eddie, a handsome flirt, and Raymond, a carefree rich kid who shows Joe the queer life of the big city, but as danger closes in, Joe must decide who he wants to be before disappearing.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Malinda Lo
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Lo)

Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

The Librarian of Auschwitz

Antonio Iturbe
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Iturbe)

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a 14-year-old girl who risks her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees—thus becoming the librarian of Auschwitz.

The Night Diary

Veera Hiranandani
(Juvenile Fiction – J Hiranan)

12-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

One for All

Lillie Lainoff
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Lainoff)

In 1655, Tania is the daughter of a retired musketeer, but she is afflicted with extreme vertigo and subject to frequent falls. When her father is murdered, she finds that he has arranged for her to attend Académie des Mariées in Paris, which is less a school for would-be wives, than a fencing academy for girls.

Only This Beautiful Moment

Abdi Nazemian
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Nazemia)

Moud is an out gay teen living in Los Angeles with his distant father, Saeed. When Moud gets the news that his grandfather in Iran is dying, he accompanies his dad to Tehran, where the revelation of family secrets will force Moud into a new understanding of his history, his culture, and himself.

Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh

Rachael Lippincott
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Lippinc)

When disheartened Pittsburgh teen Audrey transports back to 1812 England, she expects to find love as a Regency romance heroine, but surprisingly sparks fly when she meets Lucy Sinclair.

Rima's Rebellion

Margarita Engle
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Engle)

In 1920s Cuba, Rima is bullied and shunned for her illegitimacy, but finds solace in riding her horse and forges unexpected friendships with others who share her dreams of freedom and suffrage.

Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix

Anna-Marie McLemore
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mclemor)

New York City, 1922. Nicolás Caraveo, a transgender boy from Wisconsin, has no interest in the city’s glamor, going to New York is all about establishing himself as a young professional. Nick’s neighbor in West Egg is a mysterious young man named Jay Gatsby, whose castle-like mansion is the stage for parties so extravagant that they both dazzle and terrify Nick. But Nick's feelings grow more complicated when he finds himself falling hard for Jay's openness, idealism, and unfounded faith in the American Dream.

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

Bethany C. Morrow
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Morrow)

At the Freedman's Colony of Roanoke Island, a haven for the recently emancipated, the four March sisters—Meg, Joanna, Bethlehem, and Amethyst—come into their own as independent young Black women together facing love, sickness, heartbreak, and new horizons.


Elizabeth Wein
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Wein)

Stella North is one of 12 young pilots competing in a 1937 air race meant to promote peace in Europe, but when one of her competitors is sabotaged, Stella races to determine who is capable of murder, and who might be the next victim.

Strike the Zither

Joan He
(Young Adult Fiction - Y He)

The year is 414 of the Xin Dynasty, and chaos abounds. Orphaned at a young age, Zephyr took control of her fate by becoming the best strategist of the land and serving under Xin Ren. When Zephyr is forced to infiltrate an enemy camp, she encounters the enigmatic Crow, an opposing strategist who is finally her match. But there are more enemies than one—and not all of them are human.

That Self-Same Metal

Brittany N. Williams
(Young Adult Fiction – Y William)

In 1605 London, Joan Sands' magical ability to control metal makes her a skilled craftswoman, but her family gift for observing the Fae, who recently broke the Pact and are now brutally attacking mortals, draws Joan into political intrigue in both human and Fae worlds.

These Violent Delights

Chloe Gong
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Gong)

In 1926 Shanghai, Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city.

Valiant Ladies

Melissa Grey
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Grey)

In Potosí, a silver mining city in the new Spanish viceroyalty of Peru, two teen vigilantes set out to expose corruption and deliver justice after Kiki's brother is murdered and the prostitute he loved disappears.

The Voice Upstairs

Laura E. Weymouth
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Weymout)

In 1920s England, when a maid at Lord Summerfield's estate dies in the same mysterious way as her own mother, Wilhelmina Price, who can see spirits, goes undercover to investigate whether they might have been murdered and faces cunning adversaries among the living and the dead.

The Way Back

Gavriel Savit
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Savit)

A historical fantasy that follows Eastern European teens Yehuda and Bluma on a journey through the Far Country, the Jewish land of the dead.

We are Not Free

Traci Chee
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Chee)

For budding artist Minoru Ito, and the other members of the Japanese-American community in southern California, the three months since Pearl Harbor was attacked have become a waking nightmare—and now things are about to get worse, their lives forever changed by the mass incarcerations in the relocation camps.

When the World was Ours

Liz Kessler
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Kessler)

Vienna, 1936. Three young friends—Leo, Elsa, and Max—spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness and that events will soon mean that they are ripped apart from each other as their lives take very different directions.