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List of over 130 Historical Novels for Young Adults Organized by Time Period

October 27, 202313 min read

Uncovering the Past: How Historical Fiction for Young Adults Sparks Imagination

Do you remember the days when textbooks seemed like an ancient scroll of boredom? Well, young readers today are in for a delightful educational surprise. The power of historical fiction has taken the literary world by storm, especially when it comes to captivating young adult readers. From tales of rebellious teenagers in ancient Rome to fearless pioneers in the Wild West, historical novels for young adults are transporting readers to far-off times and distant places. In this article, we'll explore the enchanting world of historical fiction and how they can help teens learn about history without even knowing they’re learning.


Scroll down for the list of Historical Novels for Young Adults


Unlock the Past with a Page-Turner

Imagine being able to slip through the sands of time, taking a journey to the court of Henry VIII or standing side by side with the suffragettes during their fight for women's rights. That's the enchanting experience that historical novels for young adults offer. They're like a time machine, except you don't need plutonium or a flux capacitor.

Historical fiction can bridge the gap between the past and the present, making history come alive for young readers. It combines the power of storytelling with the richness of historical research, creating a magical blend that captivates the imagination. Through the eyes of relatable, young protagonists, readers are not just learning about history; they are living it.

Diverse Perspectives: Walk in Another's Shoes

One of the remarkable aspects of historical novels for young adults is that readers can see the story from different angles. It’s not only about world leaders, major battles and well-known heroes. Many stories give voice to people who have been sidelined or forgotten by conventional historical education. Whether it's the story of an indigenous warrior in pre-Columbian America or a young Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied Europe, historical fiction provides a lens into the lives of people who may have been lost to history's footnotes.

These books can open up a world of empathy and understanding for young readers. When they walk in the shoes of characters from different backgrounds and time periods, they not only gain historical knowledge but also develop a deeper sense of compassion and appreciation for the diversity of the human experience.

Learn without Realizing It

While historical fiction is undoubtedly entertaining, it's also an incredibly effective educational tool and a great resource for homeschoolers. These books stealthily teach readers about history, culture, and societal norms of the past. Through the narrative, young readers absorb historical facts, context, and details without even realizing it.

Have you ever found yourself googling historical events or characters you encountered in a novel, just because you were so curious to learn more? That's the magic of historical fiction at work. It piques curiosity and encourages young adults to explore history beyond the pages of a book. This organic curiosity-driven learning is more effective and lasting than any dry history lesson in a classroom.

A Gateway to Deeper Research

When a young reader becomes deeply engrossed in a specific time period or event, they often feel compelled to learn more. They may seek out non-fiction books, documentaries, or visit historical sites to quench their thirst for knowledge.

Think about it. How many times have you read a historical novel and then found yourself immersed in the history section of your local library or spending hours on historical websites? Historical fiction, with its vivid storytelling, has the power to turn readers into history buffs.

The Future of Historical Fiction

As we wrap up this journey through the time-traveling magic of historical novels for young adults, one thing becomes clear: the future of historical fiction is bright. With each passing year, new authors are breathing life into forgotten stories and bringing fresh perspectives to well-known eras.

Historical fiction isn't just about looking back; it's also about reflecting the times we live in. By understanding the past, young readers can better grasp the present and imagine the possibilities of the future. So, whether you're a young adult yourself or a grown-up seeking a taste of nostalgia, historical fiction will always be your trusty time machine.

In the end, these books aren't just about history. They're about the power of storytelling, the magic of empathy, and the joy of getting lost in a good book. They're an invitation to explore the past, understand the present, and dream about the future. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into a historical novel, and let the time-traveling adventure begin.


Navigate the YA Genre: Find the Perfect Historical Novels for Young Adults

So, you've decided to dive into the exciting world of Young Adult (YA) literature, but with so many choices, how do you find the perfect historical novels for young adults that will transport you to another time while keeping you hooked from cover to cover? Fear not, dear reader, because we're here to guide you through the maze of the YA genre and help you unearth those hidden historical gems.

Decode the YA Genre

The first step to finding your ideal historical YA novel is to understand the genre itself. Young Adult fiction is a literary treasure trove specifically designed for readers aged 12 to 18. It's a realm where coming-of-age stories, adventures, and, of course, historical fiction, are served with a youthful flair.

YA novels are all about relatable characters, vibrant storytelling, and exploring the world from the unique perspective of young protagonists. Whether it's the drama of high school, the thrill of a dystopian world, or the intrigue of historical settings, YA has something for everyone.

The Historical Connection

The historical side of the YA genre is a captivating world of its own. Historical novels for young adults transport you back in time, allowing you to experience different eras through the eyes of young characters who are navigating their own challenges while living in a bygone age.

This unique blend of history and youthful perspectives creates a compelling narrative that's as informative as it is entertaining. It's like a time machine in paperback form, and it makes learning about history a thrilling adventure.

Sift through the Ages: Find Your Era

One of the first things to consider when looking for historical novels in the YA genre is the time period that piques your teens’ interests. Are they drawn to the grandeur of the Victorian era, the roaring '20s, or perhaps the ancient world of pharaohs and pyramids?

For innocent romance, they might find the Regency period (think Jane Austen) enchanting. For those who love epic adventures, the age of pirates and explorers might be in their wheelhouse. By selecting an era that fascinates them, they’re more likely to get lost in the story.

Heroes and Heroines: Identifying with Characters

Now, let's talk about the heart of any good YA novel: the characters. The best historical novels for young adults introduce them to protagonists they can connect with, root for, and maybe even see a bit of themselves in.

Are they looking for a strong-willed young woman defying the norms of her time, or a daring young man embroiled in epic adventures? Maybe they're into diverse and multi-dimensional characters, each with their own unique quirks and strengths. Whichever they prefer, a well-drawn character can make or break a historical novel.

Research and Recommendations: Your Trusty Guides

Before embarking on your historical YA journey, it's always a good idea to do a bit of research. Check out our list of recommended historical novels for young adults, look at book reviews, and even ask for recommendations from fellow bookworms. Platforms like Goodreads can be your best friend here.

Once they have a list of potential reads, don't forget to read the book blurbs and, if available, sample a few pages to get a sense of the writing style. You want to make sure the author's narrative style resonates with your reader.

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

As much as we love beautiful book covers, they don't always reflect the quality of the story inside. The writing community knows the value of a good book cover and will hire a professional designer. But, while an eye-catching cover can be enticing, it's the story, characters, and the author's ability to whisk the reader away to another time that truly matter.

Don't be swayed solely by a captivating cover, and don't shy away from a book just because its cover doesn't catch your eye. Some hidden historical gems may be hiding behind less flashy designs.

Browsing Bookstores and Libraries

Walking through the aisles of a bookstore or the quiet corners of a library can be a magical experience. It's like a treasure hunt for book lovers. Your teens can take their time, explore the historical fiction section, and pull out books that catches their attention. Encourage them to flip through the pages, read the first few paragraphs, and see if the writing style resonates with them.

If they're unsure, don't hesitate to ask for recommendations from the bookstore staff or librarians. They often have valuable insights on the latest historical novels for young adults and can point them in the right direction.

Give a Chance to Debut Authors

While established authors often come to mind first, don't forget about debut authors. They might not have a long list of publications yet, but their fresh perspectives and innovative storytelling can be a breath of fresh air in the world of historical YA fiction.

Check out debut novels in the genre and keep an eye on literary awards and honors. You might just stumble upon the next big thing in historical fiction. Our website, Historic Books for Kids shines a spotlight on indie authors who write historical fiction. Their books often don’t get the visibility they deserve when competing with big names and classics.

Read Online Reviews and Ratings

In the digital age, online reviews and ratings are invaluable when it comes to choosing your next read. Websites like Goodreads, Amazon, and even social media platforms can provide you with a wealth of insights from fellow readers.

Pay attention to both positive and critical reviews to get a well-rounded view of a book. What worked for one reader might not work for another, and vice versa. And, if you liked a book, be sure to leave a review so you can help out the next reader.

Check out our article on how to leave a review.

How to leave a book review

Join Book Clubs and Online Communities

Those truly passionate about historical novels for young adults should consider joining a book club or online community focused on the genre. Discussing books with others who share their interests can lead to exciting discoveries and engaging conversations.

These groups often have dedicated recommendations, and they might even get to chat with the authors or unlock opportunities to participate in book-related events.

Embrace the E-Book Revolution

While there's nothing quite like the feel of a physical book in your hands, e-books offer some unique advantages. E-books are often more affordable, and you can carry an entire library with you on a single device. This is especially convenient when traveling or simply if you're short on shelf space.

Many historical YA novels are available in digital format, and they're just a click away. Plus, some e-readers offer features like adjustable fonts and built-in dictionaries to enhance the reading experience.

Library Cards: A Frugal Reader's Best Friend

If you're on a budget, your local library is a goldmine. A library card is your key to a world of books without breaking the bank. Most libraries have extensive collections of historical novels for young adults, and you can borrow them for free.

Additionally, libraries often host book clubs, author events, and workshops, allowing young readers to immerse themselves in the world of historical fiction beyond just reading the books.

Take the Plunge

Once you're young adult has narrowed down their choices and done their research, it's time to take the plunge. They can select a historical YA novel that resonates with them, find a cozy reading nook, and embark on a time-traveling adventure.

Remember, the goal is to enjoy the journey. Sometimes a book may not meet their expectations, and that's perfectly fine. Don't be discouraged; there are plenty of other historical novels out there waiting to sweep them off their feet.

Historic Books for Kids is a specially curated bookstore that focuses solely on historical fiction for young adults, middle schoolers, and upper elementary ages. We choose the lowest cost version we can find and shelve them by era or time period – like Ancient History, Middle Ages, Renaissance, 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s to present. Now you and your readers can zero in on an era that interests them the most, or even what they’re learning in school.

It's not just classics and Newberry winners (although we have those too!) We also include new classics and indie authored young adult historical novels.

[Click below to download the free list]

Explore our list of over 130 Young Adult Historical Novels Arranged by Time Period

Historic Books for Teens book list

Consider signing up for our newsletter for a free gift. Each month you'll learn about new historic novels for young adults, middle grade and upper elementary age groups - hot off the presses!  

Explore the Historic Books for Kids website and bookstore here.

We offer an ever-growing library of free printables for teachers and homeschoolers and fascinating articles on historic topics that correspond with many of the historical fiction books we suggest. Download and enjoy for free as much as you want, as often as you want. Don’t forget to check out our Parents and Teachers Resources page too – some products are affiliates, some are our own.

Our bookstore is operated through the nonprofit Bookshop donates a portion of the proceeds to the small brick and mortar store of your choice to help them survive among mega online retailers. Plus the small affiliate portion that we earn helps us to stay in business and help you teach history to your kids. It’s a win-win-win arrangement!

Make the Most of Your Young Adult Historical Fiction Journey

Before you jump into historical novels for young adults, here are a few tips to ensure you have the best reading experience:

  1. Immerse Yourself: When you open one of these books, let yourself become fully immersed in the story. Imagine the settings, feel the emotions of the characters, and let the historical details come to life in your mind.

  2. Take Notes: Jot down interesting historical facts or quotes that resonate with you. It's a great way to remember what you've learned and to discuss the book with friends or in a book club.

  3. Join a Book Club: Speaking of book clubs, consider joining one dedicated to historical fiction. You'll have the opportunity to share your thoughts, gain new insights, and discover even more captivating reads.

  4. Read Non-Fiction Too: Don't limit your historical exploration to just fiction. Consider reading non-fiction books, articles, or watching documentaries about the historical events and time periods you encounter in these novels. It'll deepen your understanding of the past.

  5. Share the Magic: If you're a parent or educator, share these books with the teens in your life. Encourage them to read and discuss these historical novels, fostering a love for history and a deeper appreciation for the lessons of the past.


Historical novels for young adults are not just for reading; they’re a time-traveling, fresh perspective on history from which teens can gain a passion for the past. So, grab a book, a comfy spot, and start your journey through time with one of these captivating reads. Happy reading, time-travelers!


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