Fall 2013 Historical Fiction Preview

Here’s a hearty selection of YA and middle-grade historical fiction coming your way from late-September to December 2013. If you know of a book we’ve forgotten, please tell us about it in the comments section.

RooftoppersRooftoppers
by Katherine Rundell
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
September 24, 2013

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive—but “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And you should never ignore a possible. So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has— the address of the cello maker.

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series, calls Rooftoppers “the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination.”

InvasionInvasion
by Walter Dean Myers
Scholastic Press
September 24, 2013

Josiah Wedgewood and Marcus Perry are on their way to an uncertain future. Their whole lives are ahead of them, yet at the same time, death’s whisper is everywhere.

One white, one black, these young men have nothing in common and everything in common as they approach an experience that will change them forever.

It’s May 1944. World War II is ramping up, and so are these young recruits, ready and eager. In small towns and big cities all over the globe, people are filled with fear. When Josiah and Marcus come together in what will be the greatest test of their lives, they learn hard lessons about race, friendship, and what it really means to fight. Set on the front lines of the Normandy invasion, this novel, rendered with heart-in-the-throat precision, is a cinematic masterpiece. Here we see the bold terror of war, and also the nuanced havoc that affects a young person’s psyche while living in a barrack, not knowing if today he will end up dead or alive.

The Ice-Cold HeavenThe Ice-Cold Heaven
by Mirko Bonné
Overlook Hardcover
September 26, 2013

August 1914. While World War I rears its head across Europe, Sir Ernest Shackleton begins a daring expedition to be the first man to cross the Antarctic on foot. With him on his ship Endurance are twenty-eight crew members, sixty-nine sled dogs, a gramophone, a bicycle–and Merce Blackboro, a seventeen-year-old stowaway hidden amidst oilskins and sea boots.

Their journey into the ice is by way of the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. But the Antarctic summer is short, and their passage remains resolutely closed to them. In the Weddell Sea the Endurance is trapped for months in pack ice and finds itself delivered up to an uncertain fate.

Richly imagined and gripping right up the very last page, Ice-Cold Heaven traces Shackleton’s legendary and heroic adventure through the ice and explores the relationships between these men who were lost to the world for 635 days.

HideousLoveHideous Love
by Stephanie Hemphill
Balzer + Bray
October 1, 2013

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life—the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.

This luminous verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill reveals how Mary Shelley became one of the most celebrated authors in history.

Fire StormFire Storm (Young Sherlock Holmes #4)
by Andy Lane
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
October 1, 2013

Fourteen-year-old Sherlock has come up against some challenges in his time, but what confronts him now is completely baffling. His tutor, Crowe, and Crowe’s daughter, Ginny, have vanished. Their house looks as if nobody has ever lived there. Neighbours claim never to have heard of them. Sherlock begins to doubt his sanity, until a chance clue points him to Scotland. Following that clue leads him into the throes of a mystery that involves kidnapping, bodysnatchers and a man who claims he can raise the dead. Before he knows it, Sherlock is fighting for his life as he battles to discover what has happened to his his friends.

Beauty'sDaughterBeauty’s Daughter: The Story of Hermione and Helen of Troy
by Carolyn Meyer
HMH Books for Young Readers
October 8, 2013

What is it like to be the daughter of the most beautiful woman in the world? Hermione knows . . . her mother is Helen of Troy, the famed beauty of Greek myth. Helen is not only beautiful but also impulsive, and when she falls in love with charming Prince Paris, she runs off with him to Troy, abandoning her distraught daughter. Determined to reclaim their enchanting queen, the Greek army sails for Troy. Hermione stows away in one of the thousand ships in the fleet and witnesses the start of the legendary Trojan War. In the rough Greek encampment outside the walls of Troy, Hermione’s life is far from that of a pampered princess. Meanwhile, her mother basks in luxury in the royal palace inside the city. Hermione desperately wishes for the gods and goddesses to intervene and end the brutal war—and to bring her love. Will she end up with the handsome archer Orestes, or the formidable Pyrrhus, leader of a tribe of fierce warriors? And will she ever forgive her mother for bringing such chaos to her life and the lives of so many others?

MuckersMuckers
by Sandra Neil Wallace
Knopf Books for Young Readers
October 8, 2013

Former ESPN sportscaster Sandra Neil Wallace (wife to Knopf author Rich Wallace) makes her young adult novel debut with a historical fiction story that is equal partsHoosiers and October Sky. Felix O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town. And Felix, or Red, after his fire-colored hair, will be one of 24 students in the final graduating class of his local high school. But Red’s got his own burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he’s been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby’s old position as quarterback, and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship. Maybe then his angry, broken-hearted father will acknowledge him, and they’ll be able to put Bobby’s death behind them.

But the only way for the hardscrabble Muckers team to win State is to go undefeated, and tackle their biggest rival, Phoenix United, which would be something of a miracle. Luckily, miracles can happen all the time on the field. Fans of Friday Night Lights and Tim Tharp’s Knights of the Hill Country will take to this enthralling story of a town rallying together to turn a tragedy into a triumph.

CurtsiesandConspiraciesCurtsies & Conspiracies
by Gail Carriger
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
November 5, 2013

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners. Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. In this sequel to bestselling author Gail Carriger’s YA debut Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason.

PalaceofSpiesPalace of Spies
by Sarah Zettel
HMH Books for Young Readers
November 5, 2013

A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don’t.
Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she’s impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love . . . History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut.

A Thief before Christmas (A Maids of Honor e-Novella)
by Jennifer McGowan
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

December 2013

Who better to steal a heart for Christmas than a thief? In this e-short story and prequel to Maid of Secrets, an actress plays matchmaker for two young lovers.

It’s December 1558 in England and a new Queen is about to be crowned, but thief and amateur actress Meg Fellowes and her Golden Rose acting troupe are focused on survival, not politics. In between performances of their newest play in the bustling town of Leeds, the troupe is picking the pockets of rich lords and ladies in preparation for their own ragtag Christmas.

At the end of each long day’s haul, the troupe’s spoils are divided up, with the useless bits cast aside. But on this particularly cold winter’s night, Meg notices two curious, sealed letters in the discard pile. Together with her roguish troupe master, Meg opens them and discovers they are love letters—never sent—between a merchant’s son and a landowner’s daughter, who do not know of their shared affection.

Meg resolves to give the two would-be sweethearts their most hoped-for Christmas wish by returning the letters to the pockets of the intended recipients, not the senders. Can Meg master the role of matchmaker in time for Christmas, or will the young lovers be forced to spend another holiday—and perhaps the rest of their lives—apart?

neverfalldownNever Fall Down (paperback release)
by Patricia McCormick
Balzer + Bray
December 23, 2013

This National Book Award nominee from two-time finalist Patricia McCormick is the unforgettable story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge.

Based on the true story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, and authentically told from his point of view as a young boy, this is an achingly raw and powerful historical novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace. It includes an author’s note and acknowledgments from Arn Chorn-Pond himself.

When soldiers arrive in his hometown, Arn is just a normal little boy. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.

Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children dying before his eyes. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn’s never played a note in his life, but he volunteers.

This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier.

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About Cat Winters

Cat Winters’s critically acclaimed debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013. Her second novel, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, is a 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project Nominee and a 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee. Her upcoming books include THE UNINVITED (William Morrow/2015) and THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY (Amulet Books/2016), and she’s a contributor to the 2015 YA horror anthology SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS. Cat lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at http://www.catwinters.com.

4 thoughts on “Fall 2013 Historical Fiction Preview

  1. What a great list, Cat! I want every book on this list!

  2. Some of these are new to me, so thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Charlotte says:

    I was already looking forward to several of these lots, and thanks for introducing me to more!

  4. HIDEOUS LOVE looks intriguing – well, they all do, actually! Several years ago I read a YA novel titled ANGELMONSTER by Veronica Bennett and it was about Mary Shelley and her obsessive loves on the eve of writing Frankenstein. What a fantastic read! (Hey, I have a historical YA coming out Fall 2014 with Harpercollins, how do I get on the list here? :-))

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