Young adult novels for the historical fiction junkie

Obsessed with Victoria, The Crown, and Downton Abbey? Always researching history to see how much of the latest movie was accurate? Checking Goodreads to discover the next big historical fiction book? If you answered “yes” to any one – or let’s be honest, all three of these – you just might be a historical fiction junkie. There are plenty of top-notch historical fiction books in the young adult genre and some even contain a sprinkle of magic. Check out these great YA novels today and indulge your inner historical fiction junkie.

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows

Lady Jane Grey is 16 and going to be married to a total stranger. She’s also caught up in a conspiracy to overthrow her cousin King Edward from the throne. And soon Jane gets to be queen. So what could go wrong? This fantasy book is perfect for those who love The Princess Bride and history in a funny light.


Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Camille Durbonne is one of the many beggars, thieves, revolutionaries and magicians in Paris, using magic to provide for her younger sister and older brother. But when their brother disappears with their savings, Camille must harness dark magic to transform into an aristocrat in Versailles to earn money. But in Versailles, her magic is both feared and loved, and she just might be falling for a handsome inventor. When revolution erupts, Camille must choose between liberty and love.


Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden

Set during the Pre-Reconstruction Era of the 1880s, Essie is a young black woman living in Savannah whose dreams are at odds with her reality. When Dorcas Vashon, a rich and cultured black woman, makes an offer, Essie becomes Victoria and is soon accepted by the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D.C. But when her dreams are within reach, Victoria must decide how much of herself is she willing to give up.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague is a British lord with roguish tastes of vice and virtue. However his father expects him to take over the family estate. Determined to make his grand tour of Europe one no one will forget, Monty is driven to use this year-long trip to flirt with best friend and traveling companion, Percy. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns the trip into a manhunt, he begins to question everything he knows, including the boy he loves.


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lina is a 15-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941 who loves to draw and paint. But when Soviet soldiers separate Lina, her mother, and younger brother from her father, they are sent to the coldest reaches of Siberia to live in a work camp and dig for beets in cruel Arctic Circle conditions. Lina documents her experiences with her art in hopes their messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are alive.


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

In 1889, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is a wealthy hotelier with interests in treasure hunting. When the powerful Order of Babel recruits him to complete a mission, Séverin is offered his true inheritance, a treasure he never thought he would obtain. But Paris in the age of the Belle Époque is darker than it seems and it is only with a group of unlikely experts that Séverin can pull a heist that just might change history.


The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Melati Ahmad is a normal 16-year-old who loves the Beatles and going to the movies. However, she also believes she harbors a jinn inside her who threatens her with images of her mother’s death. Only ritual tapping and counting will keep him at bay. But it is 1969 in Kuala Lumpur, the Chinese and Malays are at war, and soon Mel is separated from her mother. Mel must team up with Vincent, a Chinese boy, to race against 24-hour curfews, failed communication lines and the jinn’s growing power in order to find her mother.


Lovely War by Julie Berry

This multi-layered story is narrated by Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, at the height of WWII. Aphrodite tells the tale of four humans from diverse backgrounds and their love stories during WWI, the Great War, 30 years prior. This story seeks to answer the age-old question of why Love and War are eternally drawn together.


Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Aurelia is a privileged and sheltered princess. Athan is a fighter pilot who has no interest in heading to the front lines. When his mother is assassinated, Athan’s general father is sure the act was led by Aurelia’s mother, his old enemy, and is determined to overthrow the queen. When Athan is sent to spy on Aurelia who is driven to keep a war from breaking out, the pair never expected they just might fall in love with one another.


An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley

Mirabelle Monvoisin is an alchemist who unwillingly assisted her mother in poisoning King Louis XIV of France and now understands her mother’s Shadow Society are not heroes of the people but murderers. Josse de Bourbon must become the prince he was never meant to be due to his bastard status when the Sun King and half of the royal court dies from the attack. Together Mirabelle and Josse must unite the commoners and aristocrats against the Shadow Society.


Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Thomas Fawkes has caught the Stone Plague and it is spreading out from his eye. When his father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to partake in the Gunpowder Plot to overthrow the king they believe started the plague, Thomas agrees. But the plot will impact the family of the girl he loves while not joining will throw his father into prison. Thomas must decide between the two before he turns into stone.


A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood

This historical fiction anthology showcases 15 stories from 15 awesome authors. The short stories range across America and from the country’s earliest moments to the late 1900s. Each girl has her own unique story, and there are even more short stories in its sequel, The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls.

(Feature image courtesy of @one.book.at.a.time)

Marena Galluccio

Marena Galluccio is a freelance copywriter and journalist and lover of all things YA. She reviews fantasy, historical fiction, and historical fantasy YA books on her website’s blog, #MediaGalReads. When she is not writing creatively, Marena can be found planning her next trip to a Disney park, watching the latest movie in theatres, or visiting a history museum. She is currently based in Georgia.

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