journey to the past // 2018 historical ya fiction releases


If you've been around this blog for a bit (or you follow my Instagram), you probably know how much I adore historical fiction. (Hint: it's actually quite a lot.) I also (surprise!) love young adult fiction. So smash those two genres together + you delve into a genre that doesn't get as much recognition as YA fantasy or contemporary (I think, anyway), which is actually (surprise again!) my favourite genre.

(No, but, literally, I love it so much + if I'm reading a really great YA historical novel I spend half the time being excited about the historical elements because #historynerdforlife. Right now I'm reading Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George; it's a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing + I might die at how witty it is, but also the characters are right there living history + it's so so good! ... Okay, I'll shush now.)

Today's post is a list of YA historical fiction novels that are coming out in the first half of this year, all of which I will try to read. Honestly, I probably actually read, like, half of them, but I am excited for all of them. Some of them wander a bit into historical fantasy, however they sounded too interesting not to mention, so, without further ado ...

(All titles are linked to GoodReads + in case you missed it, yes, that's an Anastasia lyric in this post's title because I am not tired of that musical yet.)

photo by me ft my mother's dried flowers + some favourite historical novels I own

2 0 1 8   H I S T O R I C A L   Y A   F I C T I O N   R E L E A S E S
(part one)

Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare (February) // Set in an alternate reality of Victorian Italy this novel seems to lean a little towards the steampunk side of things + multiple alternate realities. The main character, Elsa, is gifted in a new science by which you can actually write worlds into existence, which sounds really cool. Also, the cover has a beautiful water colour-esque design, they kept the Oxford comma in the title, + it's going to be duology.

Unveiling Venus by Sophie Bennett (February) // This is the second in a series (Following Ophelia is the first book) so I'll probably try to read them in order. Their covers are so pretty + swirly + they match, thank goodness. Anyway, the heroine of this story is Mary Adams, or Persephone Lavolle as she's called herself, a muse in the Victorian era, who's travels take her far + allow her to glimpse into the most glamorous lives in Europe. Also, there seems to be romance + masked balls.

What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper (February) // What stands out to me (from the blurb anyway) about this novel as opposed to other historical fiction dealing with the Holocaust, is that Greta's story is set after she's been liberated from a concentration camp. Greta's family have passed away during the Holocaust, so she must learn to move on alone + form a new Jewish identity for herself. Honestly, this sounds absolutely heartbreaking, but hopeful + according to the blurb, it's illustrated which is always a bonus for me.

The Beloved Wild by Melissa Ostrom (March) // The Regency Era isn't one I read a lot from, but this sounds like a great adventure. I like the title, I like the main character's name (Harriet is the kind of name I can get behind, for some reason), I like the premise of dressing up as a boy + traveling the countryside with your brother to escape being romantically matched with your wealthy neighbour, + I do like that the cover sets up a moody, coming-of-age story.

Big Water by Andrea Curtis (March) // Again, this one looks like an adventure story. It takes place on the Great Lakes in the 1880s + follows the survivors of a sinking steamship. Based on a true story, I believe, the main characters, Christina, who is grieving the loss of her brother, + Daniel, who has a criminal past, are the only survivors of the Asia. I have the feeling Big Water may fall into cliches, but, there's a lovely cover, so I'm hoping it will be an interesting story.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (March) // This is a novel in verse based on an event in the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian artist of the 1600s. It sounds like such a tragic, inspiring story of overcoming society's standards + standing up for yourself, especially in a world where women struggled for their human rights. I've read glowing reviews for Blood Water Paint already, which makes me even more excited to read it.

Nothing but Sky by Amy Trueblood (March) // So for some reason when I first read this one's blurb, I thought it was set in World War I, but turns out it's actually set in the 1920s + is about the beginnings of airshows. Our main character, Grace Lafferty, is a wing-walker (literally someone who walks on a plane's wings during an airshow), who wants to get her team into a huge aviation show + ends up reevaluating her reasons for wanting to be a daredevil. I'm interested to learn more about this period of history + these character's journeys.

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon (March) // In this re-imagining of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Olivia Twist takes the stage as the main character, rising from being raised as an orphan boy on the streets of London to debuting into society on the kindness of her uncle Brownlow. Her efforts to help the slum orphans could be thwarted by the lying Artful Dodger, whom she may or may not have feelings for, + she must confront the secrets of her own past. This sounds like a fun YA that also addresses the deeper issues of life.

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman (April) // Technically, this one might be adult historical fiction, but I think one of the main characters is seventeen, so I'm gonna include it, anyway. Set from the 1950s to 70s in Quebec, Canada, it's the story of a mother, Maggie, + daughter, Elodie, who are separated at Elodie's birth + whose lives continue, intertwining but barely touching. It's also about French-English relations in Canada + the orphanage/asylum system which damaged so many children, so probably lots to think about + discuss.

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Antsey (April) // Honestly, this sounds like some good old-fashioned regency era fun with the added stakes of someone being after your love interest's life. Imogene sounds like a charming heroine + Ben sounds like a sweet suitor, even though he's the 'wrong' brother. Cindy Antsey has also written two other YA historical novels, so I'll probably check those out while waiting for Suitors and Sabotage.

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen (June) // I'm not quite sure if this is fantasy or not, but I'm thinking it's probably mythical history as I think it's based on an opera set among Asian legends. What I'm looking forward to the most about The Bird and the Blade is that it's set in China and the  Mongol empire, which I feel are still underused settings in historical YA, + it involves political conspiracies + unlikely alliances. I'm hoping against hope that there's not love triangle (*sigh*), but if there is one, I hope the author pulls it off spectacularly.

The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland (June) // This book is a little nostalgic for me because, like, some of the first historical fiction I loved were set in the French Revolution and/or were fictionalised accounts of historical figures as young people. It's based on a year or so in the life of Hortense de Beuharnais + the complications that come with growing up in the aftermath of the Revolution + as Napoleon's stepdaughter. The author has also written novels based Josephine Bonaparte's life, so I feel she would have a good handle on this time period.

are you also looking forward to any of these? 
what are some of your most anticipated 2018 releases (any genre)?


  1. I haven't heard any of these, but I adore historical YA! Also, question: do you listen to Anastasia? BECAUSE THE TITLE REMINDED ME OF THAT.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

    1. I wholeheartedly agree: historical YA is so wonderful! And, yes, this post's title is straight out of Anastasia; I cannot (nor do I want to, haha) get the Broadway Cast Recording out of my head! It's so sweet.

      Thanks for stopping by, Abigail. :)


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