Historical Fiction for Teens

This month we’re celebrating Historical Fiction in Teen Services. The list below is not exhaustive – you can find even more historical fiction novels in our shelves! The eras represented here range from the age of Cleopatra, to 1980s India and Zimbabwe! Want a book about a time period not represented here? Ask our teen librarian for a recommendation!

Joe Rat by Mark Barratt. In the sewers of Victorian London, a boy known as Joe Rat scrounges for valuables, which he gives to a criminal mastermind called “Mother,” but a chance meeting with a runaway girl and “the Madman” transforms all of their lives.

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell. When she drops out of school and struggles to start a career on Broadway in the fall of 1950, seventeen-year-old Kit Corrigan accepts help from an old family friend, a lawyer said to have ties with the mob, who then asks her to do some favors for him.

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury. Seventeen-year-old Agnes is about to make her debut into 1815 London society at a lavish party (though she’d rather be in Egypt examining ancient mummies) where she meets Lord Showalter, a wealthy and eligible man (who collects Egyptian antiquities), who happens to be hiding a dark and dangerous secret.

The haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee. Twelve-year-old Meg travels the rooftops and streets of 1862 London, England, in search of her missing brother, Orion, accompanied by a family friend, the famed author Charles Dickens, whose next quest is to find his next novel.

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro. Sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski takes a job in the early twentieth-century as assistant to the head epidemiologist at New York City’s Department of Health and Sanitation who is trying to discover how a seemingly healthy woman can be spreading typhoid fever.

The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper. In January 1937, as Sophia FitzOsborne continues to record in her journal, the members of Montmaray’s royal family are living in exile in England but, even as they participate in the social whirl of London parties and balls, they remain determined to free their island home from the occupying Germans despite growing rumors of a coming war that might doom their country forever.

The Ausländer by Paul Dowswell. German soldiers take Peter from a Warsaw orphanage, and soon he is adopted by Professor Kaltenbach, a prominent Nazi, but Peter forms his own ideas about what he sees and hears and decides to take a risk that is most dangerous in 1942 Berlin.

Phantoms in the Snow by Kathleen Brenner Duble. In 1944, fifteen-year-old Noah, recently orphaned, is sent to live with an uncle he has never met at Camp Hale, Colorado, where he finds his pacifist views challenged.

In the Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Emily Dunlap. Sixteen-year-old Molly Fraser works as a nurse with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War to earn a salary to help her family survive in nineteenth-century England.

Sphinx’s Queen by Esther M. Friesner. Chased after by the prince and his soldiers for a crime she did not commit, Nefertiti finds temporary refuge in the wild hills along the Nile’s west bank before returning to the royal court to plead her case to the Pharaoh.

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen. Scarlet – a woman who disguises herself as a boy named Will – shadows Robin Hood, but when Gisbourne, a bounty hunter, is hired by the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin must become Will’s protector.

Then by Morris Gleitzman. In early 1940s Poland, ten-year-old Felix and his friend Zelda escape from a cattle car headed to the Nazi death camps and struggle to survive, first on their own and then with Genia, a farmer with her own reasons for hating Germans.

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber. While Jonathan’s soul is trapped in a painting by dark magic, his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the slums of 1882 New York City, and only by luring Natalie Stewart into the painting can they free his damaged soul.

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper. In Victorian London, impoverished fifteen-year-old orphan Grace takes care of her older but mentally unfit sister Lily, and the two become victims of a fraud perpetrated by the wealthy owners of several funeral businesses.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Rory, of Bouexlieu, Lousiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird. Sixteen-year-old Maggie, accused of being a witch in treacherous seventeenth-century Scotland, escapes imprisonment but brings disaster to her uncle’s door. After she is betrayed, she must try to save her family from the King’s men – at all costs.

Crusade by Elizabeth Laird. Young Adam eagerly joins the Crusade to reclaim the Holy Land in the service of a local knight, while a doctor’s apprentice in the camp of Sultan Saladin hopes to avoid engaging in conflict with the invading crusaders.

In Trouble by Ellen Levine. In 1950s New York, sixteen-year-old Jamie’s life is unsettled since her father returned from serving time in prison for refusing to name people as Communists, when her best friend turns to Jamie for help with an unplanned pregnancy.

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl. Recently orphaned and destitute, seventeen-year-old Liza earns a position as a lady’s maid to sixteen-year-old Princess Victoria at Kensington Palace in 1836, the year before Victoria becomes Queen of England.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy. Meeting fearless Benjamin Burrows when she moves to London in 1852, fourteen-year-old Janie Scott helps Benjamin on a quest to rescue his kidnapped father while protecting a sacred apothecary tome from dangerous Russian spies.

Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer. Princess Cleopatra, the third (and favorite) daughter of King Ptolemy XII, comes of age in ancient Egypt, accumulating power and discovering love.

The Lost Crown by Sarah Elizabeth Miller. In alternating chapters, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia tell how their privileged lives as the daughters of the tsar in early twentieth-century Russia are transformed by world war and revolution.

The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli. Three years, three months, three days. In 1169 Sicily, when he loses everything in a tsunami, Don Giovanni makes a wager with a stranger he recognizes as the devil but, while desperate enough to surrender his pride and good looks for three years, three months, three days, he refuses to give up his soul.

Karma by Cathy Ostlere. India, 1984. After the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Maya and her father are separated and she must rely on Sandeep to reunite them.

Life: an exploded diagram by Mal Peet. In 1960s Norfolk, England, seventeen-year-old Clem Ackroyd lives with his mum and grandmother in a tiny cottage, but his life is transformed when he falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy farmer. Takes place against the backdrop of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi. In 1863 Pennsylvania, fourteen-year-old Tacy faces the horrors of the Battle of Gettysburg while trying to stay out of the way of her brother David, who is in charge while their father serves as a doctor in the Union army, and to keep her friend Marvelous, a free black, safe from rebel soldiers.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their home in Lithuania 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 her by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil.

The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow. In 1936 Berlin, fourteen-year-old Karl Stern, considered Jewish despite a non-religious upbringing, learns to box from the legendary Max Schmeling while struggling with the realities of the Holocaust.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. A young centurion ventures among the hostile tribes beyond the Roman Wall to recover the eagle standard of the Ninth, a legion which mysteriously disappeared under his father’s command.

Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace. In 1983, at an elite boys’ boarding school in Zimbabwe, thirteen-year-old English lad Robert Jacklin finds himself torn between his black roommate and the white bullies still bitter over losing power through the recent civil war.

Distant Waves: a novel of the Titanic by Suzanne Weyn. Provides a time-traveling adventure as four sisters take a journey aboard the Titanic and end up changing the entire course of history through a series of strange events.

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf. Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by different passengers on the ship … and the iceberg.

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang. Emmajin, the sixteen-year-old eldest granddaughter of Khublai Khan, becomes a warrior in thirteenth-century China.