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Best Medieval Fiction Books for Teens

Updated on November 8, 2015
Abelard and His Pupil Heloise
Abelard and His Pupil Heloise | Source

Renaissance and Medieval Historical Fiction

Welcome, lords and ladies! :) I'm a big fan of young adult historical fiction, especially books about medieval times. So I've put together a short list of the best medieval fiction books for kids and young adults (plus a couple set in the Renaissance for good measure). Whether you're a teenager who loves medieval novels, or a parent looking for a great gift for your teen, you're sure to find some ideas here. Viva Medieval YA!

Wise Child - Monica Furlong

Wise Child
Wise Child

With both her parents missing, Wise Child is taken in by the local herbalist, a mysterious, charismatic woman called Juniper. At first frightened and resentful, she blossoms under Juniper's care, and gains the confidence to face down both an evil witch and a hostile priest. There's more to this book, but I have limited space to rave about it -- suffice to say that it's absolutely beautiful. There's also a prequel, Juniper, and a sequel, Colman, but I still think this is the best of the series.

 

Quest For A Maid - Frances Mary Hendry

Quest for a Maid
Quest for a Maid

Partly a slice of 13th-century life, partly an epic adventure, and partly a historical what-if, Quest For A Maid follows Meg, a Scottish shipwright's daughter, as she finds herself entangled first in polite society and then in international affairs, pitting her wits and pure cussedness against her favorite sister's ambitions. The plot is intricate but never confusing, the writing is vivid and the characters compelling. Notable supporting cast includes Margaret of Norway and the apocryphal Patrick Spens.

 

Adam Of The Road - Elizabeth Janet Gray

Adam of the Road
Adam of the Road

An oldie but a goodie -- first published in the 1940s -- this Newbery Medal winner is the story of a boy's misadventures as he searches England for his stolen dog and missing father. Though the style is a bit dated, it's still a great read, with a thoroughly believable protagonist.

 

Crispin: The Cross Of Lead - Avi

Crispin: The Cross of Lead
Crispin: The Cross of Lead

Avi's trilogy about an outlawed boy depicts a grittier Middle Ages than most of the other books here, while still being suitable for middle grades. Accused of murder, Crispin flees his village in search of safety and clues about his family -- finding one if not necessarily both, and overcoming both his own prejudices and those of others along the way.

 

The Perilous Gard - Elizabeth Marie Pope

The Perilous Gard
The Perilous Gard

When her sister offends Queen Mary, Kate is banished to the remote manor of Elvenwood. There she finds herself knee-deep in a mystery: a Holy Well, a stolen child, a superstitious village, and a bitter young man as sharp-tongued as herself. Before long, hard-headed Kate is up against the Queen of the Fairy Folk herself. Beautifully written, suspenseful, sometimes witty and sometimes downright creepy, The Perilous Gard treads the line between history and fantasy.

 

Alchemy and Meggy Swann - Karen Cushman

Alchemy and Meggy Swann
Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Meggy is sent to London to live with her father, an antisocial alchemist who was expecting a son to run his errands, rather than a daughter with crutches and a pet goose. Left to fend for herself, Meggy learns to navigate the city, makes new friends (and a few enemies), and discovers her own hidden talents. This is easily Cushman's best book yet, lively, hilarious and thoughtful.

 

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Which of these books looks most interesting to you?

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    • kerbev profile image

      kab 5 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I read Crispin a year or two ago. I love Avi.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these great resources.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      The Perilous Gard sounds like it has a little bit of everything. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • damoiselle profile image
      Author

      damoiselle 5 years ago

      @anonymous: It does indeed! Good stuff :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

    • profile image

      angharad 4 years ago

      I've read several of these, great recommendations!

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 4 years ago

      Your "Music to Read By" selections add the perfect atmosphere to this lens. Brava!

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