YA Historical Fiction Today

I recently read Jillian Larkin’s Vixen, which is set in the 1920s, and enjoyed seeing the flapper era through her characters’ eyes. That got me thinking about how authors are branching out into new time periods and places, or adding subgenres. Here’s a list of good YA historical fiction published in the last few years, read and recommended by me or my friends in YARWA. No matter which setting you prefer, you’ll find one below to add to your to-be-read list.


Looking at books set in the US first: Dax Varley’s Severed: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow is set in 1793. Rae Ann Parker’s The Devil’s Backbone involves Lewis and Clark. Kirby Larson’s Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After are set in the American West in the 19-teens. For a darker tale, go to 1918 for Cat Winter’s In the Shadow of Blackbirds. Ruta Sepetys’ Out of the Easy is set in New Orleans in 1950.


Reading around the world, J. Anderson Coats’ The Wicked and the Just is set in medieval Wales.  Robin LaFevers’ books are set in Europe during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Katherine Longshore’s Gilt series is set in Tudor England. Jennifer McGowan’s Maid of Secrets is set in Elizabethan England.  Fiona Paul’s Venom is set in Renaissance Italy. You can go to Marissa Doyle’s books for British history plus magic.  Megan Shepherd’s The Madman’s Daughter by is a take on The Island of Doctor Moreau. For a Steampunk angle, try authors Kady Cross and Gail Carriger. Victorian England is the setting for Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices paranormal series. Libba Bray’s The Diviners does the 1920s with a paranormal twist. Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity is set in WWII Europe. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is set in the Soviet Union in 1941.


YA historical fiction is booming. Different settings or combined with romance, paranormal, steampunk, there is something for everyone. Did I miss any you’d like to add to our list?

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I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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