Saturday, 15 June 2013

Can We Please Bring Back the Past? ...Fictionally?

I remember starting this blog and being so in love with historical fiction. I was able to find so many good ones and I even tried to feature them specially...until I ran out after like...7. I was incredibly sad about this. My first real love after I got sucked out of vampires was historical fiction. I wrote my college admission essay on how the Gemma Doyle trilogy totally changed my opinion of history. I'm strongly considering minoring in history at the moment.

So I was sad. And then there was Ruta Sepetys! Between Shades of Gray! Everyone loves it! Surely things will turn around. Nope. Wrong. Again.

Then Downton Abbey happened and EVERYONE wanted Downton Abbey books and there were a few and of those few, I've read two. One was an extreme let down. The other was so good and I'm dying for the sequel. But...three wasn't exactly the "big boom" I was hoping for.

I love historical fiction. The automatic, built in forbidden love stories. The issues that are implied just by the story line. The conflicts. The settings. The clothes. Obviously, fiction isn't reality and the reality was less than perfect, but fictionally? Man, history can be fantastic and beautiful.

There's a decent amount of fantastic historical fiction out there. Ruta Sepetys' books, Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed, Anna Godbersen's books, Jillian Larkin's series, The Season by Sarah MacLean, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Gilt by Katherine Longshore, The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner. If you include historical with paranormal twists, there's Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy and The Diviners, Leanna Renee Heiber's series, Saundra Mitchell's books, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.

But first of all, this doesn't feel like nearly enough books. Yes, it's just what I remembered off the top of my head, but I've read these books and at least one book in each series/by each author mentioned and I know they're really good. And when I think ahead, I can only think of three YA historicals that I know of and I'm excited for. Only one of them was available at BEA (Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein). you guys notice a pattern? World War 2 books. 1920s in the U.S. Late 1800s-early 1900s in England. That's most of what's listed and a good amount of what is available. There are other time periods and places that are so unexplored. The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution would be fantastic to learn more about. Asian history is fascinating too, but most Asian-set fiction I know about is at least partly fantasy. And what about the rest of the world? India, Australia, Africa, Central and South America. These places are all full of culture and stories but we so rarely see them featured in fiction, much less YA fiction. It's really a shame since YA fiction has turned me onto certain time periods and I'm sure it's done the same for other people. Writing about places and time periods that aren't widely featured in classrooms and movies would be a fantastic way to create new interests.

So, this is me, officially making the call for more historical fiction. Preferably straight-up historical fiction, but I'll also accept those with a paranormal twist. But not steampunk, because, though I love that as well, it's rising on its own. And asking for more variety.

I went through all 1400 of my books and put together a goodreads list of all the historical YA I have, I've read, or I want to have. Some of it is technically MG, but I wasn't making a separate list just for MG. You can check that out here.

I also asked for some recommendations:
@JulieHeartBooks Meridon, by Phillipa Gregory.
6/14/13 10:17 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Favorite: The True Story of Hansel & Gretel. Amazing story!! Having many on my upcoming TBR list so I would have to check
6/14/13 10:24 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Goodreads but Rose Under Fire comes to mind & definitely Star Cursed if you could alt.history. Just reviewed
6/14/13 10:25 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Born of Illusion & it was pretty good!
6/14/13 10:25 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Anything by @KALongshore. She's the queen of YA Tudor fiction FORSURE. I can't gush about her enough. - Anna
6/14/13 10:06 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Favorite historical YA recently are The Caged Graves, Belle Epoque, Code Name Verity. Looking forward to Rose Under Fire.
6/14/13 10:05 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Favorite historical YA is Bloody Jack. Which totally counts, even though it's not 100% factually accurate.
6/14/13 10:04 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Two of my FAVE historical fiction books EVER are The Book Thief & Between Shades of Grey!
6/14/13 5:52 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Book Thief, Milkweed, Revolution (maybe doesn't really count)
6/14/13 5:51 PM
@JulieHeartBooks I really LOVE Vixen by Jillian Larkin if you like the whole flapper thing. Most people got into Bright Young Things & that
6/14/13 5:50 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Anna Godberson’s The Luxe, @SaundraMitchell’s The Springsweet, @leannarenee’s Darker Still
6/14/13 5:40 PM
@JulieHeartBooks I like The Agency series by @yinglee and The Season by @sarahmaclean
6/14/13 5:40 PM
@JulieHeartBooks Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi!!
6/14/13 5:38 PM

So, there you have it. Plenty of historical to dig in to and the first step in my quest to make sure there's more historical fiction in YA in the world.

Update: Sab at YA Bliss hosts the historical fiction challenge and has a goodreads shelf with over 250 titles you can find here.



  1. I am ALL about the historical fiction - it's my favorite.

    Here's a bunch more that aren't on your list yet, if you want them :)

    Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl
    Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl
    Ripper by Amy Carol Reaves
    Poison by Sarah Poole
    Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
    Choker by Elizabeth Woods
    Alis by Naomi Rich
    The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson
    Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson
    Ophelia by Lisa Klein
    Faithful by Janet Fox
    Forgiven by Janet Fox
    Sirenz by Janet Fox
    Paradise by Janet Fox
    The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
    The Madman of Venice by Sophie Masson
    Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
    Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein
    Hammer of Witches by Shana Mlawski
    Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang
    Everlasting by Angie Frazier
    Dark Passage by MJ Putney
    Dark Destiny by MJ Putney

  2. A great historical fiction book is Fateful By Claudia Gray. Set on board the Titanic with a little supernatural twist! A review should be up on my blog soon actually! Great post, I will definitely try out some of your recommendations!




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