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Best Medieval Fiction Books for Teens
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.