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Historical Fiction for Young Adults

Originally posted on Wed, Feb 24 2010 at ROPL.org.

Historical fiction is a unique way of looking at our, and other people’s, pasts. Novelists take historical events or people and recreate them with a mix of fact and fiction. While popular with adults, there are numerous historical fiction books for teens and young adults.

Two recently published titles are Newes From the Dead by Mary Hooper and Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith.Newes From the Dead is based on the true story of Anne Green, a young servant who was hanged, only to wake up on the dissection table. Hooper’s book, told from the point of view of Anne Green and a young medical student witnessing her return to life. The novel is an interesting look into both life in the 1600s and the lives of poor women. The book also includes a bibliography and a copy of the original story of Anne Green.

Sherri L. Smith’s novel, Flygirl, is also about a young woman. But instead of the 1600s, her novel takes places during World War II. The heroine of the story, Ida Mae Jones, longs to fly planes, but as a black Southern girl, there’s not much she can do. Smith’s novel tells the story of Jones’ attempt to join the US government’s program called WASP, or Women Airforce Service Pilots. This little-known piece of history is well written and deals with issues of race, sex and growing up in a world that’s seemingly against you.

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