Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

The Revenant – Sonia Gensler

*Not the nonfiction book or it’s adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Gensler, S. (2013). The revenant. New York: Ember. ISBN:978-0375861390. Paperback. $7.16.

Annotation: Willie never thought she’d be a teacher on an Indian Reservation, but running away never leads where you expect. She starts to hear a voice of a spirit, a revenant they call it, in her room, and her only option is to finish what the spirit started.

What is a Revenant? That’s something Willie finds herself asking after she starts to hear a moaning voice in her room on the Indian Reservation. See, Willie has running away from her New England home and gone to teach on the Reservation. When the spirit of a boy who recently died seems to be haunting her Willie has to try and find a way to get him to move on. But there are secrets on the Reservation, like how this boy died and who does he have unfinished business with? Willie knows it isn’t her, but she is the only one who seems to be listening to the Revenant.

I enjoyed this spooky historical fiction ghost story not only because it shows us a time period we rarely see in teen fiction, but also because was based historical events and culture. I am not generally a fan of ghost stories as you will see in my video, but this one had so much meaning behind it. I actually think anyone who enjoys a good mystery and historical fiction will like this one, although, I know ghosts aren’t for everyone, which is why it falls into the horror category. Since this book is harder to find and is loosely a part of a series, I would get it from the library first to make sure you actually like it!

Awards & Nominations: 2014 Intermediate Sequoyah Masterlist, 2012 Oklahoma Book Award for Young Adult Fiction, 2012 Parent’s Choice Silver Award, 2012 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Finalist, 2011 ABC New Voices Extended List.

Sonia Gensler can be found on her Facebook, on Twitter, and Instagram


The Official book trailer for The Revenant.


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Filed under Ghost Stories

A Spy in the House – Y. S. Lee

Lee, Y. S. (2016). A spy in the house. St. Ives, Great Britain: ISBN13: 9780763640675. Paperback. $6.39.

Annotation: It’s the nineteenth century and women, like Mary Quinn are underestimated all of the time. When Mary takes a job as a maid in an upper class household she’s really trying to find who has been selling drugs on the black market.

It’s 1850 in London, England and Mary Quinn is a spy for the crown. Before she started working for The Agency, Mary was an orphan and a thief. Saved from the gallows for her crimes, Mary goes to Miss Scrimshaws Academy for Girls, where she learns to be a spy. After all, who would ever suspect a young servant woman as a spy in their house? No one would, especially in high society London in the nineteenth century. When she takes a position in the Thorhold household as a Lady’s companion, she starts her investigation into Mr. Thorhold’s suspicious shipping company. She meets James Easton, a man who always feels like Mary is more than she claims. In the end, Mary discovers more about her heritage, cracks the mystery, and figures out that no one is ever who they seem.

A historical mystery set in London, A spy in the house, is a part of a four book series (so far) called The Agency. I enjoyed how much the story balances, from gender equality, race in London society, slavery, and class position. Although there are some fun liberties taken, like an all girls spy school, there is also commentary on how Mary is seen or not seen by people because of who she is, how she looks, and how she acts. I also enjoyed that it was a mystery along with a historical fiction story. There’s even a little love story in there and some great British banter. Mary is realistic in her opinions, and it’s refreshing to me to see a fictional perspective of young biracial woman in London society. I would suggest teens buy this book since it is only $6, but it can be hard to find in store, so the library would be a great resource for students who cant find it or the other books in the series. I think teens in junior or senior year would like it more, because the historical vocabulary and jokes might make more sense then.

Awards: Agatha Award Nominee for Best Childrens Young Adult (2010), John Spray Mystery Award (2011), OLA Forest of Reading Red Maple Award Nominee for Best Fiction (2011).

Did you know that women played a large role as spies in the 19th century and even earlier in history. Here is a podcast called “Stuff You Missed in History.”http://www.howstuffworks.com/embed/894762

There are also lots of pin boards about the nineteenth century and women. Check out the fashion!

You can check out Y.S. Lee’s blog, which she regularly updates. Here is an awesome Fan trailer for A spy in the house:

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Filed under Historical, Realistic Teen Fiction