This is my first future reads post! I’m excited to look at upcoming books but also dreading how neverending my To-Be-Read pile looks. The struggle is forever at this point.
In this post, I will be listing a few upcoming YA historical fiction books that have caught my eye. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Title: The Downstairs Girl
Author: Stacey Lee
What It’s About: By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.
While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.
Why I am Excited: I have been a fan of Stacy Lee’s writing for some time so I am ready for her next novel! I also like that it seems to be a story of quiet defiance and a search for identity and meaning.
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Title: The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan
Author: Sherry Thomas
What It’s About: CHINA, 484 A.D.
A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.
Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.
A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling–the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.
Why I’m Excited: I have always loved the story of Mulan. Whether there is a magical guardian dragon or not, it doesn’t actually matter to me. Her story of courage and determination has always inspired me. I am happy to see that this new interpretation is by a Chinese-American author. I’m also a fan of Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series so I’m excited to read this.
Release Date: September 10, 2019.
Title: The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
What It’s About: Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
Why I’m Excited: It’s another book by Ruta Sepetys, and I feel compelled to read it to see how she will tell this story. I also don’t know much about the Spanish Civil War so I am interested to see what this book reveals about it.
Release Date: October 1, 2019.
Title: The Light in Hidden Places
Author: Sharon Cameron
What It’s About: One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make…
It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemsyl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio — a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish.
But everything changes when the German army invades Przemsyl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio’s brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania’s house for the German army.
With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make.
Why I’m Excited: This one is based on actual events and an actual person. Like so many of the quiet heroes of war, we aren’t familiar with every single one. I have been interested in reading WWII stories a lot this year so I’m looking forward to learning more about Stefania and Helena Podgorska.
Release Date: March 3, 2020.
Title: The Silence of Bones
Author: June Hur
What It’s About: 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.
But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.
Why I’m Excited: This will be the first historical fiction book I read that takes place in Korea so that is a new experience I am chasing. I also have to admit that the mystery at the center of this story has lured me in.
Release Date: April 21st, 2020.