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. and Lizzy S.

Alan Gratz
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gratz)

It is June 6, 1944, D-Day, and Dee Carpenter (true name Dietrich Zimmermann), an underage private in the United States Army, is headed for Omaha Beach, seeking revenge for his uncle, who was arrested by Nazis when Dee was a little boy.

The Awakening of Malcolm X

Ilyasah Shabazz, Tiffany D Jackson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Shabazz)

While in Charlestown Prison in the 1940s, young Malcolm Little reads all the books in the library, joins the debate team and the Nation of Islam, and emerges as Malcolm X.

Becoming Beatriz

Tami Charles
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Charles)

In 1984 in the barrios of Newark, Beatriz Mendez's true passion in life is dancing, but when her brother Juni, gang-leader of the Puerto Rican gang the Diablos, is killed she finds herself thrust into the role of gang-leader and drug dealer--until she meets Nassar, a Haitian boy who shares and reignites her passion for dancing.

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 Book of Boy

Catherine Gilbert Murdock
(Juvenile Fiction – J Murdock)

Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked by others in his town—until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy’s climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an action-packed expedition across Europe to gather the seven precious relics of Saint Peter.

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 Jubilation

Kara Lee Corthron
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Corthro)

In the Jim Crow South, white supremacy reigns and tensions are high. But Evalene Deschamps has other things to worry about. She has two little sisters to look after, an overworked single mother, and a longtime crush who is finally making a move. On top of all that, Evvie's magic abilities are growing stronger by the day.

Devil's Ballast

Meg Caddy
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Caddy)

Anne Bonny into the arms of pirate captain Calico Jack Rackham. Now she's ensconced aboard Jack's ship Ranger, passing as a cabin boy and playing her ruthless part in a crew that is raining down mayhem and murder on the ships of the Caribbean.

The Enigma Game

Elizabeth Wein
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Wein)

Told in multiple voices, Jamaican Louisa Adair uncovers an Enigma machine in the small Scottish village where she cares for an elderly German woman, and helps solve a puzzle that could turn the tide of World War II.

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 Fountains of Silence

Ruta Sepetys
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Sepetys)

At the Castellana Hilton in 1957 Madrid, Daniel Matheson connects with Ana Moreno through photography and fate as Daniel discovers the incredibly dark side of the city under Generalissimo Franco's rule.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Mackenzi Lee
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Lee)

Henry "Monty" Montague was bred to be a gentleman. So his passions for gambling halls, late nights spent drinking, and waking up in the arms of others have earned the disapproval of his father. As one last hurrah, Monty, his sister Felicity, and his best friend and crush Percy begin a Grand Tour of Europe. A reckless decision turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, calling into question everything Monty knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

The Gilded Wolves

Roshani Chokshi
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Chokshi)

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. Séverin will need help from a band of experts, together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris.

And I Darken

Kiersten White
(Young Adult Fiction – Y White)

In this first book in a trilogy, a girl child is born to Vlad Dracula in Transylvania in 1435. At first rejected by her father and always ignored by her mother, she will grow up to be Lada Dragwlya, a vicious and brutal princess, destined to rule and destroy her enemies.

The Kingdom of Back

Marie Lu
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Lu)

Desperate to be forever remembered for her music, Nannerl Mozart makes a dangerous pact with a mysterious stranger from a magical land, which may cost her everything.

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 fourteen-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.

Luck of the Titanic

Stacey Lee
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Lee)

After smuggling herself onto the RMS Titanic, British-Chinese teenager Valora Luck reunites with her twin brother and tries to convince him that their acrobatic training could be their ticket to a better life.

My Calamity Jane

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Meadows
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Hand)

Welcome to 1876 America, a place bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou -- better known as werewolves. And where there are garou, there are hunters: the one and only Calamity Jane, along with her fellow stars of Wild Bill's Traveling Show, Annie Oakley and Frank the Pistol Prince Butler.

The Night Diary

Veera Hiranandani
(Juvenile Fiction – J Hiranan)

Shy twelve-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.

A Skinful of Shadows

Frances Hardinge
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Harding)

In the 1640s during the English Civil War, the twelve-year-old illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic family shares their unique hereditary gift: the capacity to be possessed by ghosts.

Splinters of Scarlet

Emily Bain Murphy
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Murphy)

In nineteenth-century Copenhagen, an orphaned seamstress goes to work for a retired ballerina and uses her magic to investigate her father's mysterious death while working for the same family years ago.

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.

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

Laura Ruby
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Ruby)

When Frankie's mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, it was supposed to be only temporary. Now Frankie and her sister, Toni, are abandoned alongside so many other orphans, and as the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, Frankie must find something worth holding on to in the ruins of this shattered America.

A Treason of Thorns

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

When Violet Sterling returns to Burleigh House after years in exile, Burleigh's magic is tormented, ravaging the countryside, and she must strive to save her house before it destroys her.

The War that Saved My Life

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
(Juvenile Fiction – J Bradley)

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

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.

Where the World Ends

Geraldine McCaughrean
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Mccaugh)

In the summer of 1727, Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food, and only the end of the world can explain why no boat returns to collect them.

Wolf Hollow

Lauren Wolk
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Wolk)

Twelve-year-old Annabelle must learn to stand up for what's right in the face of a manipulative and violent new bully who targets people Annabelle cares about, including a homeless World War I veteran.

Ziggy, Stardust, & Me

James Brandon
(Young Adult Fiction – Y Brandon)

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of life in 1973, when homosexuality is still considered a mental illness, two boys defy all the odds and fall in love.