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American History in YA Novels

American History in YA Novels


If you’re interested in history, check out these recent YA novels about the USA through the centuries! Teen Central also has a selection of non-fiction titles for history buffs.


Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi

Frannie Tasker is a rebellious teenage girl who survives a shipwreck. She discovers a drowned young woman and assumes the deceased woman’s name to escape her family. Afterwards, she is rescued by a British ship and lives the next few years in courtship with a British lieutenant. As the Revolutionary War drags on, she begins to hear things that make her uncomfortable. Using her position, she spies on the British military and feeds information to General Washington’s Culper spy ring as agent 355. The real identity of agent 355 is unknown, but this novel imagines her story with vivid historical details of the country’s beginnings.


Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz

A re-imagining of the classic novel Little Women. What if Laurie does not marry Jo’s sister, Amy? Would Jo and Laurie end up as a couple? Find out by reading this book! The story features many details about post Civil War New York City, including a live book reading by Charles Dickens.

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

Part of the My Lady Jane series, this story of werewolf hunting and outlaws is a humorous take on well known historical figures of the Western frontier including Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley.


Pulp by Robin Talley

In the 1950s, Janet Jones is in love with her female friend. She deals with the intolerance of her time by writing. In 2017, Abby Zimet is a high school student whose senior project is about lesbian pulp fiction published in the 1950s. She finds a kinship with a mysterious author who uses the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and sets out tracking down the author. Read this book to see how the dual narratives meet.


Kent State by Deborah Wiles

A novel in verse about the deadly 1970 shooting at Kent State during a protest of the Vietnam War. The perspectives alternate between protestors, students, guardsmen, and townies.


Becoming Beatriz by Tami Charles

Set in New Jersey in the year 1984, Becoming Beatriz is a companion novel to Like Vanessa (Tami Charles, 2018). It revolves around a teenage Latina named Beatriz who loves dancing and the TV show Fame. Since her neighborhood is home to rival gang violence between Haitian and Puerto Ricans, and her home life is complicated, her pursuit of dance is uncertain. Will she be able to overcome her circumstances to be the dancer she wants to be, or will life kill her dreams?


In conclusion, we hope that you enjoy some of these historical fiction novels!

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