Defiant Dames

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Defiant Dames

Young Adult Historical Fiction by Women of Color

To celebrate Women's History Month, I've compiled some fantastic young adult historical fiction written by women of color. 
 
A Spy In the House by Y.S. Lee 
After being rescued from the gallows, orphan thief Mary Quinn is offered a place at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. But this is no normal 1850s London girls' school -- it's a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and they want Mary to pose undercover as a lady's companion to investigate a merchant's missing cargo ships. This novel is first of five in The Agency series. 
 
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Determined to escape from Chinatown, fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong bribes her way into the elite, largely white St. Clare's School for Girls. Mercy struggles with her spoiled classmates, but when a major earthquake strikes San Francisco in April 1906 and devastates the city, they must work together to survive. 
 
The Darkest Hour by Caroline Tung Richmond
After her brother is killed by Nazis, sixteen-year-old Lucie is tapped to join Clandestine Operations -- a secret espionage and sabotage organization of girls in German-occupied France. Her mission is to find and dismantle a secret weapon that could decimate Western Europe if Hitler gets his hands on it.  
 
Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
Octavia and Tali learn about World War II during a cross-country road trip with their grandmother, Mare, who talks about growing up Black in Alabama in the 1940s and lying about her age in order to serve in the African American Battalion of the Women's Army Corps. Told in alternating chapters between the present-day road trip and Mare's past.
 
Flygirl by Sherri Smith
Ida Mae Jones' daddy was a pilot, and all she wants to do is fly planes -- which isn't allowed for a Black woman in 1940s Louisiana. But when America enters World War II, light-skinned Ida Mae passes as white to join the WASPs -- Women Airforce Service Pilots. Is achieving her dream worth it if it means denying herself and her family?
 
Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
In August 1969, 400,000 people descended on Woodstock, NY for three days for one of the most famous music concerts ever. Unsure of what he wants for his future (College or the military? Breaking up with his long-term girlfriend?) Michael comes to the concert to live in the moment. Good girl Cora is volunteering in the medical tent. When they meet, sparks fly. 
 
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
In summer 1977, New York City is dealing with a massive blackout, arson and a serial killer called Son of Sam who shoots young women on the street. All Nora Lopez wants is to go out dancing at the disco with the cute new boy who works with her at the deli, but she's also dealing with her increasingly violent brother and her mom's struggle to make rent.