Whether your book club is full of fans of historical fiction who love getting lost in different time periods or the members groaned all through high school history classes, there is a historical YA novel that will generate great discussion for your group. Historical fiction can be as immersive as fantasy or science fiction by transporting the reader to a completely different place and time, but it can also provide context and prompt discussion of issues that are still relevant today. Since historical fiction can focus on a specific historical event, such as a war, or speak to larger cultural trends, such as the the rise of the mix tape, there is enough variety within historical fiction that any group should be able to select a historical title.
“Historical” doesn’t have to signify the distant past; novels inspired by recent historical events can be a great introduction to the genre. The Good Braider by Terry Farish is a story told in verse of a family fleeing the Second Sudanese Civil War and emigrating to America during the early years of the 21st century. Its startling and gripping depiction of the horrifying conflict that killed and displaced millions of civilians and the struggles of new immigrants to adjust to a new culture will captivate readers. The events are only a little over a decade in the past, but they are centered around a specific moment in time. Of course, for teen readers that’s a lifetime ago, but for adult fans of YA, it can read more like contemporary or realistic fiction.