Historical Fiction for Teens

A Genre Guide

by Melissa Rabey


From Arthurian legend-based tales of Elizabeth C. Wein to the American Girl series, young adult (YA) historical fiction titles are surprisingly popular. They have the unique ability to hold teen readers' interest, even with historical settings and information. Historical fiction books for young adults are like fruit-flavored vitamins for kids—they won't even realize it's good for them.

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Cover image for Historical Fiction for Teens

December 2010

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 324
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Children's and Young Adult Services/Literature Reference Tools
  Children's and Young Adult Collection Management/Acquisition and Collection Development Guides

This book offers a thorough exploration of historical fiction for young adults, examining popular and compelling books that illuminate the past and define the struggles faced by young people in those times.

Teens don't read historical fiction, right? Wrong! Although some teens may associate historical fiction with schoolwork, by using the genre approach, library specialists and history teachers can suggest titles that teen readers will actually enjoy. Thanks to heightened interest by both readers and publishers in historical fiction, there are now more subvarieties of this genre available than ever before. This title was written to provide guidance through this expanding category for teen librarians, teachers, and school media specialists.

In Historical Fiction for Teens: A Genre Guide, YA librarian Melissa Rabey organizes more than 300 titles by subgenre and theme—from thrills and action stories to historical fantasy. Descriptive annotations, subject lists, reading levels, and read-alikes are given for each title; award winners and titles appropriate for book clubs are noted.


  • Appendices include a list of award-winning titles as well as several thematic booklists, allowing time-pressed readers to quickly find high-quality books or be ready for common requests
  • Features sidebars and sections that explore specialized topics, such as Arthurian times and novels in verse
  • A title index shows which books are annotated within the work, providing an easy way to locate favorite titles


  • Provides a thorough overview of historical fiction for young adults, highlighting the differences from historical fiction written for adults or children
  • Specifically written for professionals who work with teens, documenting the wide range of historical fiction works available for young adults—contained in a single volume
  • Examines the breadth of current YA historical fiction publishing, particularly titles that feature cross-genre blending or lesser-known events and times
  • Uses the genre approach to classify titles, making it easy to find read-alikes
Author Info

Melissa Rabey, MLS, is teen librarian at the C. Burr Artz Public Library, part of Frederick County Public Libraries, MD. Rabey is a member of the selection committee for the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.



"This volume would be especially useful for readers' advisory and for browsing in school and public libraries."Booklist

"The guide is easy to thumb through, and the descriptions of the books are interesting and well written. This volume would provide good guidance for teachers and youth-service librarians."School Library Journal

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