Normal Public Library Teens

1800s

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Alone on the brig Seahawk with a mutinous crew and a ruthless, mad captain, thirteen-year-old Charlotte bravely survives a dangerous high-sea voyage—but not before she is wrongfully accused of murder, tried, and sentenced to hang! (M)

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have a habit of coming true, Gemma faces a chilly reception there. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls — and their foray into the spiritual world — lead to? Sequels: Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. (S)

Last Dance on Holladay Street by Elisa Carbone

The year is 1878, and 13-year-old Eva has lost all the family she’s ever known. Eva feels like an orphan—but she’s not. Sadie Lewis, the woman who gave her up at birth, is alive and well in Denver. And Eva sets out to find her, carrying only an address on a slip of paper. But Denver holds more surprises than Eva can bear. When she reaches 518 Holladay Street, she discovers Sadie Lewis’s shocking secret — a secret that lands Eva in a house of ill repute, forced to dance with strangers for her keep. But Eva knows in her bones that she’s free — and that she’s got to escape. (M, S)

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit. When a former slave steals money from Elijah’s friend, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in the South, Elijah embarks on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of the thief, and discovers firsthand the unimaginable horrors of the life his parents fled. (M)

The Braid by Helen Frost

Two Scottish sisters, living on the western island of Barra in the 1850s, relate, in alternate voices and linked narrative poems, their experiences after their family is forcibly evicted and separated with one sister accompanying their parents and younger siblings to Cape Breton, Canada, and the other staying behind with other family on the small island of Mingulay. (M, S)

Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff

Life is hard for poor Irish potato farmers, but 12-year-old Nory Ryan and her family have always scraped by…until one morning, Nory wakes to the foul, rotting smell of diseased potatoes dying in the fields. And just like that, all their hopes for the harvest–for this year and next–are dashed. Hunger sets in quickly, and as her community falls apart, Nory scrambles to find food for her family. Meanwhile, the specter of America lurks, where, the word is, no one is ever hungry, and horses carry milk in huge cans down cobblestone streets. (M)

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden future. (S)

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

As the only girl in an uppercrust Texas family of seven children, Calpurnia is expected to enter young womanhood with all its trappings of tight corsets, cookery, and handiwork. Unlike other girls her age, Callie is most content when observing and collecting scientific specimens with her grandfather. (M)

Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident.  One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live. (S)

The Voyage of the Continental by Katherine Kirkpatrick

As an orphan of the Civil War in 1866, 16 year-old Emeline joins a group of girls heading by ship from Massachusetts to Washington State. Emeline reports in her diary of the journey’s excitement, danger, and unwelcome surprise as she arrives in Seattle. (M, S)

Day of Tears by Julius Lester

When gambling debts and greed enter into the Butler household, Pierce Butler decides to host the biggest slave auction in American history and breaks a promise by selling Emma, his most-valued slave and caretaker of his children–a decision that brings about unthinkable consequences. (M)

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza’s dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady’s maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the intrigue of the servant’s world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?(M, S)

The Devil’s Paintbox by Victoria McKernan

When orphans Aiden and Maddy Lynch first meet trailrider Jefferson J. Jackson in the spring of 1865, they’re struggling to survive on their family’s drought-ravaged Kansas farm. So when Jackson offers an escape—a 2000-mile journey on the Oregon Trail, across the roughest country in the world—Aiden knows it’s their only choice. (S)

47 by Walter Mosley

The life of a young slave named 47 seems doomed until he meets a mysterious runaway slave and finds himself swept up in a struggle for his own liberation. (S)

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson

When 13-year-old Lyddie and her younger brother are hired out as servants to help pay off their family farm’s debts, Lyddie is determined to find a way to reunite her family and earn money to buy back the farm by becoming a factory worker in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1840s. (M)

The River Between Us by Richard Peck

In 1861, Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt’s brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. When the mysterious Delphine arrives one a steamboat bound for St. Louis, Mrs. Pruitt agrees to take both her and her dark, silent traveling companion in as boarders. No one in town knows what to make of the two strangers, and so the rumors fly. Is Delphine’s companion a slave? Could they be spies for the South? Are the Pruitts traitors? (M, S)

Red Moon at Sharpsburg by Rosemary Wells

As the Civil War breaks out, India, a young Southern girl, summons her sharp intelligence and the courage she didn’t know she had to survive the war that threatens to destroy her family, her Virginia home, and the only life she has ever known. A timeless heroine of inspiring drive and bravery, India holds on to her dream of forging a career in science, unheard-of for a woman, in the face of battle, starvation, and tragic loss. (M)

Black Storm Comin’ by Diane L. Wilson

Twelve-year-old Colton takes a job with the Pony Express and risks his life to deliver an important letter that may affect the growing conflict between the North and South. (M)

 
 

Grade Level Interest
M Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 
 
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