Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ten Historical Fiction Books Everyone Should Read Immediately

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme: Top Ten All-Time Favorite Books of X Genre.

It's no secret that my favorite genre is historical fiction. I love it to pieces, especially books set in America. As an aspiring American Studies major, it's basically my job. And I'll admit, I get a little disappointed that it seems to be a genre without a big following in the YA community, at least that I've seen. Sure, people read historical fiction books and like them, but I never see people shouting their love for historical fiction from the rooftops like they do for fantasy or contemporaries. But I digress.

I'm always trying to get people to read my favorite historical fiction books, I was surprised by how difficult it was to create this list - it was very easy for me to come up with not ten, but TWENTY amazing historical fiction titles, and I've somehow (after much agonizing) managed to get it down to these top ten all-time favorites. I don't know how I did it and I don't think I could do it again, and if you somehow want more than ten recommendations, I DEFINITELY HAVE THEM.

This list is by no means in any kind of order, and each and every book comes with my highest recommendations. Here are my top ten historical fiction books.

(Also: separate from the top ten books, I have to give shout-outs to the American Girl and Dear America books, which kickstarted my love of history. None of them individually were incredible enough to put on this list, but I owe a lot to these books.)

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein: I pretty much never shut up about this book. If you force me to pick a favorite book, this will be the one I inevitably choose. I'm long overdue for a reread, but I don't think I'm quite ready for it to destroy my life again.

LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Robin Talley: I had high hopes for this one, and they did not disappoint. It took my breath away from the very first chapter. I read it almost two years ago now, but there are individual scenes that are so powerful that I still get emotional thinking about them.

A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis: I couldn't put this book down! I wasn't even really sure that I'd like it, but it was just so brilliantly plotted and so intriguing that I just lost myself in it. Perfect if you're looking for something that's just a little bit creepy.

THE CROWN'S GAME by Evelyn Skye (The Crown's Game #1): Another book that I couldn't put down. This one's actually more of a historical fantasy, but for the purposes of this list, I'm not counting that as a separate genre. There were so many twists and turns, and the magic was so creative.

THE MARVELS by Brian Selznick: Here's one of the books where I have a bit of a black sheep opinion - I think this is the best Brian Selznick book by far. A lot of people didn't think that this one's plot was as good as his other books, but I loved it. It made me sob, though.

WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1): I don't know whether this was just a California thing, but in elementary school, the Gold Rush was a huge deal for a while. Wagon trains went along with that, so I've always had an interest in books about westward expansion. And this one has an interesting fantasy element - the main character can sense gold - that felt so natural I never questioned it.

WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin (Wolf by Wolf #1): I still can't believe that I almost didn't read this book. It's now one of my favorites, and the sequel is one of my most anticipated releases for the rest of the year! Fast-paced plot plus beautiful writing equals me barely being able to stop reading.

THE BOOK THIEF by Marcus Zusak: I'm pretty sure that everyone's read this one already, and everyone's recommended it, but I can't make a list of amazing historical fiction books without including this.
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr: I'm just realizing that a huge number of books on this list have made me cry. What is it with me and heartbreaking books? Anyway, my very short review for this book was "All of my hopes and dreams for these characters were crushed, but it was done beautifully" and I think that pretty much covers it.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee: Ending things with a classic - it's been far too long since I've read this, so I can't talk about any details, but it pretty much blew my mind when I first read it. Atticus Finch is one of my favorite characters of all time (and no, I frankly don't care about Go Set a Watchman), and it has such a powerful message that I still find myself thinking about it a lot.

What's your favorite historical fiction book? Do we share any? What's your favorite genre, and which book from that genre do you tend to shove in people's faces? Tell me in the comments! 

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