Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Long Promised, Not Yet Complete (But Definitely Getting There): List of Best YA Historical Fantasy

What do you get if you take history and fiction, and add a dash of magic? Fabulous reads rooted in history, filled with mystery and imagination. Time travel, other realms, the 19th century, the 16th or the 20th… possibilities are endless.

Below, I offer you the list of the best historical fantasy.

I will be working on this list in the weeks and months to come, adding more books as I discover them. In the meantime, here we go, in no particular order:

1. “Bliss,” by Lauren Myracle

Amulet Books, 2008

A horror story set in the 1960s about an innocent girl from a hippie commune facing dark magic and a foe who refuses to die. The history is woven subtly into this really, really creepy tale.

2. “Apothecary,” by Maile Meloy

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011

In 1952, the main characters black-listed parents move her away from Los Angeles to England where she discovers alchemy and, using magic,  tries to foil an evil plot that could result in a nuclear disaster. A fascinating take on the dark, paranoid times.

3. “The Book Thief,” by Markus Zusak

Alfred A. Knopf, 2006

During World War II, Death narrates a story about a German girl who steals books from Nazi burnings (and many other places), and whose foster family hides a Jew in their basement. One of those dark, transformative reads that meld fantasy and fact so exquisitely together, you can’t tell them apart.

4.”Revolution,” by Jennifer Donnelly

Delacorte Press, 2012

A dark and yet enlightening story where a modern American girl traveling to Paris with her father discovers a supernatural connection with a long-dead girl who lived in the times of the French Revolution.

5. “The Dark and Terrible Beauty,” by Libba Bray

Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2003

At the end of the seventeenth century, a willful 16-year-old girl is sent from India back to her native Britain to a Victorian boarding school, where she finds access to another realm and encounters both beauty and terror.

(The two sequels to the engaging, original and twisty story are “Rebel Angels,”2005, and “The Sweet Far Thing,” 2007, but I must admit I enjoyed the first one the most).

6. “The Cure,” by Sonia Levitin

Harper Trophy, 2000

The story starts off sounding like a typical dystopian book about a conformist society which punishes dissent by death. But then, unexpectedly, it takes the reader in a shockingly different direction — back in time to 1348 Strasbourg, France, the time of rampant anti-Semitism and widespread plague called the Black Death.

Still to read:

“Dreaming Anastasia,” by Joy Preble

“The Golden Hour,” by Maiya Williams

“The Gathering Storm” by Robin Bridges

“The Humming of Numbers” by Joni Sensel


April 1, 2012 - Posted by | Lists, Writing Mirror |


  1. You’re determined to double my book list aren’t you? 🙂

    I finally got my hands on The Book Thief, (well, my daughter did, which is almost the same thing!) Can’t wait to get the time to read it.

    Comment by sarah1357 | April 1, 2012 | Reply

    • Yes, Sarah, that’s my mission, lol! Sorry, but these are just too delicious, not to share. I hope you love The Book Thief.

      Comment by Katia Raina | April 1, 2012 | Reply

  2. I have 3 and 4, but haven’t read them yet. I am currently reading 5, though. I love it so far. I think I might have to read Bray’s entire trilogy.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | April 2, 2012 | Reply

    • Yes, Medeia, for my part, I couldn’t resist 🙂 I could safely say all of the books on this list are page-turners, so whatever you pick up next, you can’t go wrong…

      Comment by Katia Raina | April 2, 2012 | Reply

  3. I just wanted to let you know I picked you for the Lucky 7 award. Congrats!

    Comment by Ben | April 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Oh, Ben, sorry about replying late to this … thank you! This is great — I stopped receiving your blog posts for some reason. Heading over there now, naturally 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | April 6, 2012 | Reply

      • Hey, no problem! Odd things happen on the interwebz sometimes.

        Comment by Ben | April 6, 2012

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