I’m a big fan of historical fiction, especially when they’re Young Adult. I think it’s a really fun way to learn about the past without feeling like you’re reading a boring textbook.
I’ve put together my top 5 historical fiction books that I think are must reads.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This book is extremely popular but I think it’s worth all the hype. The characters are my favorite thing about The Book Thief. They’re all so complex and interesting. They’re all
realistic and have flaws and I became very attached to them. This book is unforgettable and is such an incredible read.
A Tyranny of Petticoats by Jessica Spotswood
Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.
I loved A Tyranny of Petticoats! I adored the diversity of the characters and I loved the writing styles of all the stories. I found all the stories to be really fun and interesting. There’s quite a few different time periods and I loved being able to read about what women at different time periods had to go through.
True Grit by Charles Portis
Mattie Ross, 14, from Dardanelle, Arkansas, narrates half a century later, her trip in the winter of 1870s, to avenge the murder of her father. She convinces one-eyed “Rooster” Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshall, to tag along, while she outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten types in her path.
True Grit is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Not only is it an amazing historical fiction, it has an incredible female main character. Mattie is only 14 but she takes no crap, holds her own, and speaks her mind. She never gives up and is fearless. The plot of True Grit is very well written and never boring. I read the whole book in one sitting and have since reread it three times.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.
There are very few books that I recommend to every single person, regardless of what genre they like to read or their taste in books. But Salt to the Sea is one of them. From the moment I read the first page, I knew that this book would stick with me for the rest of my life.
Salt to the Sea is incredible. The characters, the writing, the plot. Everything is unparalleled.
It’s shocking and honest. It’s eye opening and emotional.
This book is perfect in every way.
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Revenge is worth its weight in gold.
When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.
Vengeance Road is one of my most anticipated books of all time and I had extremely high hopes when I started it. This book was everything I hoped it would be and more. Within 24 hours of receiving Vengeance Road, I finished it. I could not put this book down. I read it in one sitting and love every single second. Right from the start, I was hooked and I was so sad when it ended.
I loved the main character, Kate. She’s exactly the kind of character I was hoping she would be. She was very well written and tough. She didn’t take any crap and wasn’t afraid to shoot people when she needed to. She took charge of her life and was fearless.
I really liked how the relationships in this book were well developed and weren’t forced.
I loved the plot of this book and the pace of the story. It reminded me a bit of Mulan, which I loved.