Great historical fiction for teens! Read for a school assignment or read for fun.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War. Sequel: Forge.
The Pox Party (Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing) by M. T. Anderson
Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War. Printz Honor Book. Sequel: Kingdom on the Waves (also a Printz Honor Book). The Pox Party also available as an ebook.
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.
Daniel Half Human and the Good Nazi by David Chotjewitz
In 1933, best friends Daniel and Armin admire Hitler, but as anti-Semitism buoys Hitler to power, Daniel learns he is half Jewish, threatening the friendship even as life in their beloved Hamburg, Germany, is becoming nightmarish.
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
In 1906, sixteen-year old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiancé, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story. Printz Honor Book.
Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
Two fifteen-year-old girls--one a slave and the other an indentured servant--escape their Carolina plantation and try to make their way to Fort Moses, Florida, a Spanish colony that gives sanctuary to slaves. Winner of Coretta Scott King Award.
The Musician’s Daughter by Susan Dunlap
Amid the glamour of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy's court in 18th-century Vienna, murder is afoot. Or so fifteen-year-old Theresa Maria is convinced when her musician father turns up dead on Christmas Eve, his valuable violin missing, and the only clue to his death a strange gold pendant around his neck.
Under a War Torn Sky by L. M. Elliott
After his plane is shot down by Hitler's Luftwaffe, nineteen year-old Henry Forester of Richmond, Virginia, strives to walk across occupied France, with the help of the French Resistance, in hopes of rejoining his unit. Sequel: A Troubled Peace.
Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher
In 1940s Chicago, fifteen-year-old Ruby hopes to escape poverty by becoming a taxi dancer in a nightclub, but the work has unforeseen dangers and hiding the truth from her family and friends becomes increasingly difficult.
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
In Manhattan in 1899, five teens of different social classes lead dangerously scandalous lives, despite the strict rules of society and the best-laid plans of parents and others. Sequels: Rumors, Envy and Splendor. The Luxe, and Rumors are also available as ebooks.
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
In the spring of 1929, eighteen-year-old Cordelia Grey and her stage-struck friend Letty Larkspur run away from their small Ohio town to seek their fortunes in New York City and soon find themselves drawn into situations and relationships, particularly with the dazzling Astrid Donal, that change their lives forever. Sequels: Beautiful Days and The Lucky Ones.
Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix
In 1927, at the urging of twenty-one-year-old Harriet, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly recalls her experiences at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including miserable working conditions that led to a strike, then the fire that took the lives of her two best friends, when Harriet, the boss's daughter, was only five years old.
Ivy by Julie Hearn
In mid-nineteenth-century London, young, mistreated, and destitute Ivy, whose main asset is her beautiful red hair, comes to the attention of an aspiring painter of the pre-Raphaelite school of artists who, with the connivance of Ivy's unsavory family, is determined to make her his model and muse.
Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper
In 1650, while Robert, a young medical student, steels himself to assist with her dissection, twenty-two-year-old housemaid Anne Green recalls her life as she lies in her coffin, presumed dead after being hanged for murdering her child that was, in fact, stillborn.
Search and Destroy by Dean Hughes
Recent high school graduate Rick Ward, undecided about his future and eager to escape his unhappy home life, joins the army and experiences the horrors of the war in Vietnam.
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
After inheriting her uncle's homesteading claim in Montana, sixteen-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe. Newbery Honor book. Sequel: Hattie Ever After.
The Way of the Warrior by Andrew Matthews
Jimmu is haunted by his father’s suicide. Vowing vengeance on the man responsible, Jimmu masters the skill of the samurai and secures a position among the lord’s guards. But the closer Jimmu comes to fulfilling his dark destiny, the more tangled he becomes in the truth of his father’s death.
The True Adventures of Charley Darwin by Carolyn Meyer
In nineteenth-century England, young Charles Darwin rejects the more traditional careers of physician and clergyman, choosing instead to embark on a dangerous five-year journey by ship to explore the natural world.
Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer
Reduced to begging and thievery in the streets of London, a thirteen-year-old orphan disguises herself as a boy and connives her way onto a British warship set for high sea adventure in search of pirates. Sequels: Curse of the Blue Tattoo, Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack, My Bonny Light Horseman, Rapture of the Deep, The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, The Mark of The Golden Dragon and Viva Jacquelina!
Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi
Harriet Hemings, rumored to be Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, faces the choice of passing as white or remaining a slave in the sheltered but restricted life at Monticello.
Viking Warrior by Judson Roberts
Despite being the son of a chieftain and a princess, fourteen-year-old Halfdan lives as a slave in Denmark in A.D. 845 but through a tragic bargain he gains his freedom and sets out to claim his birthright. Sequels: Dragons from the Sea and The Road to Vengeance.
Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury
Following orders from the United States Army, several young Japanese American men train K-9 units to hunt Asians during World War II.
My Mother the Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow
Thirteen-year-old Louise uncovers shocking secrets about her family and her neighborhood during the violent protests over school desegregation in 1960 New Orleans.
Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Shecter
Cleopatra Selene, the only surviving daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, recalls her life of pomp and splendor in Egypt and, after her parents' deaths, capitivity and treachery in Rome.
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Kipling’s Choice by Geert Spillebeen
In 1915, mortally wounded in Loos, France, eighteen-year-old John Kipling, son of writer Rudyard Kipling, remembers his boyhood and the events leading to what is to be his first and last World War I battle.
Red Moon at Sharpsburg by Rosemary Wells
As the Civil War breaks out, India, a young Southern girl, summons her sharp intelligence and the courage she didn't know she had to survive the war that threatens to destroy her family, her Virginia home, and the only life she has ever known.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors. A Printz Honor Book. Also available as an ebook.