Saturday, August 15, 2009

Historical Fiction: Do teens read it?

I have always been a history nerd. I taught history for two years in Maryland. I am lucky to live in a historically rich section of the country. So many things happened in Upstate New York. The house I live in was built in 1850. My barn has old school construction. I just love history. It's my love of history that brought me to historical fiction novels.

However, as I sit back and read a YA historical fiction novel I think....would a teen enjoy this? Do teens enjoy historical fiction? I went to a historical fiction conference and was told NO teens hate historical fiction. That made me sad because I am writing a historical fiction YA book.

So my questions to my readers are:
  • Do you enjoy historical fiction?
  • Or do you think its really dull?
  • Have you ever read it?
  • And if you have what do you like about historical fiction.

I would love to hear your input not only as librarian but a struggling wanna be author.


Donna said...

I love historical fiction. I'm also a history nut so that always helps. I just love being transported into the past and, of course, I can't think of any YA HF off the top of my head but I think t6hat conference was off the mark about teens hating YA fiction. What about The Luxe Series? The Season (I think it's called)? I know there are a few Regency HFs out there in the YA world. If they hated it, it wouldn't be on the shelves.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I didn't really like historicl fiction as a teen, but I enjoy it now, although I have to be in the right mood for it.
It doesn't circ all that much at my library, but I have a few teens that really enjoy it. It's not the most popular genre.
I like when an author can make me feel like I'm the time period they're writing about.

Kelsey said...

Hi, I just found your blog, it's great (:

My answers:

- I love historical fiction, it's one of my favorite genres. Young adult historical fiction is amazing, can't get any better than that!
-I've read so many YA historical fiction books I can't even count.
- One of my favorite things is stepping back in time and experiencing what the character is. I learn a lot about the time period and the clothes they wore, etc. I'm reading Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink right now- I think that's historical fiction..?

Anyway, don't be discouraged- I know plenty of teens who love YA historical fiction, including me!

Rebecca Herman said...

I have loved historical fiction since I was a preteen, for a while it was ALL I read. I first became interested from the Little House and American Girls books, and later the Dear America series. I'm 24 and I STILL love YA historicals, and in fact prefer them over adult ones, I think it's because I find the coming of age in a historical era story so fascinating and that's often missing in adult books.

Lana said...

I'm not a teen anymore, but I've read historical fiction ever since I got my grubby hands on my first Ann Rinaldi book. I thought she really made history come alive because she wrote about the actual people involved and why they were doing what they did. I'll never forget Time Enough for Drums - I've already worn out two copies!

And with The Luxe series, The Season (Sarah MacLean), Bewitching Season (Marissa Doyle), Michelle Moran's new book Cleopatra's Daughter etc., it would seem that SOMEBODY thinks there's a market for teen historical fiction :)

Good luck!

Linna said...

I read histotical fiction and it's more memeroable and entertaining than history class. The only problem I have with historical fiction is its language. Since I'm not a native speaker and I read to learn english, I prefer modern language. But I know some may argue that it would lack the accuracy and immediacy.

MeganRebekah said...

I am no longer a teen (26 creeping closer to 27 everyday) but I can remember all too well what I was reading at 16. And it was historical fiction. Except there was no historical fiction in YA (there wasn't even really YA) so I turned to the romance genre.

Then again, I went on to major in history in college and taught middle school history for two years after that. So I might be the exception here.

Ms. I said...

Wow. Thanks for the comments everyone. They were encouraging.

Lana, I'm also looking forward to Michelle Moran's book.

Donna, Thats true. It seems the Luxe series is very popular, doesnt it?

GreenBeen, it doesnt circulate in my library either, thats why I posed the question. Some students will read it.

Kelsey, glad you like the blog! I'm on a waiting list at the library for that Sisters book. I can't wait to read it.

Rebbecca, thats an interesting point about the coming of age issues. That gives me some ideas.

Linna, Thats an interesting point that you bring up. I struggled with what type of language I should use in my manuscript. Keep it historical or try to be more modern.

MeganRebekah, I can't remember a lot of HF for teens when I was a kid either. I got my fix by reading Little Women and other Alcott books.

deewana said...

i think the problem may lie in the fact that popular culture conditions teens to think that anything older than last week IS ancient history. the sad part is the old truism about not knowing history and repeating it. if you're a teen or know one who likes to read, try a book by Eugene Kachmarsky, just published, called Let Slip the Dogs of Love (Suburban Legends of the Living and the Dead). it contains a couple of stories of historical fiction, but written with modern, colloquial dialogue and description. it's online at amazon and barnesandnoble.

Laina said...

Oooh, pretty dress.

Anyways, I do read a fair bit of historical fiction. It tends to be, ahem, tacky romance novels, but I read some YA historical fiction, and really ought to read more.