Wednesday, March 8, 2017

YA Guy Is Looking to Buy... YA Historical Fiction!

YA Guy's currently putting the wraps on a science fiction novel I plan to send to my agent. After that, I think I'm going to turn to a genre of YA that's new to me as a writer: historical fiction.

I love history almost as much as I love literature. In fact, I often think of the two as intertwined, if not interchangeable. Back in the days when I was writing and publishing literary criticism, I did as much historical research as literary research, and I was fascinated by how historical documents can be read as literature (and vice versa). So I'm eager to sink my teeth into a project requiring research and (unlike the novels I've written to date) the imaginative creation of a world from the past, not the future.

But here's the thing: I haven't read a whole lot of YA historical fiction, and I'd like to get my hands on some good models so as to immerse myself in the genre. I've read THE BOOK THIEF, CHAINS, ELEPHANT RUN, and some other excellent examples--but I want more. For the next several months, I want to read nothing but YA historical fiction, until it seeps into my pores and pours out of my fingers as readily as science fiction does.

So here's what I'm asking you, dear readers: suggest some YA historical fiction titles that I should read. If they're books you love, chances are I'll love them too. If they're your own books, all the better--I'm in the mood to buy, and review, and publicize. In fact, I plan to buy the first 10 titles recommended to me that sound interesting enough. Ten books should keep me busy reading for a while.

Leave your recommendations in the comments section, and if you want to direct me to the book, leave a link as well. I'll read straight YA historical fiction from any place or time period, and I'll also read YA alt-history if you've got any. I'll read hybrids too: YA historical horror, for instance. The only books I'm not eager to read are 1.) steampunk (I'm trying to stay away from sci-fi) and 2.) books that plop a conventional YA love triangle into a historical period and call it historical fiction. I like romance if it serves a larger historical purpose--for instance, I'd love to read a YA historical novel featuring an interracial couple set during a time of intense racial conflict. I'm just not looking for any teen bodice-rippers.

YA Guy thanks you for your help, and I look forward to your recommendations!


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  2. Code Name Verity got rave reviews, although I honestly felt the devices were too forced and transparent. Ruta Septys is very popular, but I haven't read her work yet. And I hear that Leaving Kent State is amazing 😉

    1. I appreciated the research that went into CODE NAME VERITY, but I couldn't connect with the characters. I'll check out Ruta Sepetys. And LEAVING KENT STATE is on my list!

  3. YA Guy, historical fiction is to me what science fiction is to let the recommendations begin. Checkout In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters. I loved both of those. I haven't yet read her last release, The Steep and Thorny Way, but I'm sure I will love it as I do her others and I believe you will too. :) Other reads include A Wish After Midnight and The Door at the Crossroads by Zetta Elliott, Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl, Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann, These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly, A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry, Bird with the Heart of a Mountain by Barbara Mariconda, Iron Cast by Destiny Soria, Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee, The Poison Diaries and Nightshade by Maryrose Wood (fyi: book 3 of the YA series was cancelled, so Nightshade ends with no resolution). Please don't let it deter you from reading the first two books in the series because they're great...Nightshade is a bit darker than the first book though. Happy reading!