Sure, you’re used to traveling to a fractured future with some teen protagonists, but what about the past? There’s a lot of wonderful old time-y YA heading your way. It totally counts as reading for history class, right?
Conspiracy of Blook and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Setting: 1930s Nazi Germany
Plot: This sequel to the Prisoner of Night and Fog continues the adventures of Gretchen and Daniel, as Daniel must return to wartorn Germany — and Hitler’s reach. When she hears he’s wanted for murder, Gretchen too heads back to her home country, no matter how dangerous the landscape has become. As they hide out in Berlin, they discover an epic conspiracy.
Why You Should Read It: Prisoner introduces us to Gretchen, whose close family friend is none other than Adolf Hitler. As her independence — and romance with Daniel — grows, you’ll cheer for her even as you clutch the pages with concern. The RT Top Pick! Conspiracy continues the heart-stopping drama. Give these a try.
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Setting: 1930s America Ethiopia
Plot: A plane crash leaves Rhoda raising two children: her own biological white child, Emilia, and her friend and now-deceased co-pilot’s black son, Teo. Facing racism in America thanks to her diverse family, Rhoda moves the children to Ethiopia. The trio finds happiness, until war rears its ugly head.
Why You Should Read It: We’re pretty sure Wein’s success, thanks to her gorgeous, amazing Code Name Verity, is responsible for this uptick in YA historicals, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Her latest offering gives us a look at a time and place not generally written about, in stunning detail. You’ll love it.
Skandal by Lindsay Smith
Setting: Cold War, 1964 America
Plot: This follow up to Sekret has psychic Yulia finally safe in America after defecting from communist Russia. Only all is not as it seems, as her mother’s under constant surveillance, her dad is out of control — and the U.S. is still suspicious of Yulia.
Why You Should Read It: This series has a fun paranormal element — psychic machninations are afoot — which makes learning about the 1960s more fun. The Iron Curtain, the Red Scare and more play a prominent role here. Learn while being entertained, friends.
The Revelation of Louisa May by Michaela MacColl
Setting: 19th-century New England
Plot: She’s a spunky heroine! She investigates a murder! She gets involved with the Underground Railroad! She’s freaking Louisa May Alcott. We mean. We’re sold.
Why You Should Read It: This is how you know you’re a book nerd, you hear the plot for this novel and say to yourself: Oh, hell yes, Louisa May Alcott fiction! Even though we’re still mad at her because of how Little Women ended (how could you, Jo?) We are all over this book.