There was a lot of interest expressed in books set in Canada or by Canadian authors on my Canadian Reading Challenge post, so I decided to repost this guest post that I originally did for Marie Landry’s Canadian Reading Month. Be sure to check out all the other great posts (reviews, guest posts, and lists) that were featured on her blog here!
Before we get started however, I have a confession to make - I haven't read anything by Margaret Atwood or L.M. Montgomery (although I plan to!), and I’ve only read one Kelley Armstrong book ... So where do I get off telling readers about great Canadian books you may ask? Well, as a Canadian I've read a lot of books by Canadian authors (or books set in Canada) and I think I can offer a variety of recommended reads from different genres so that everyone can find a Canadian book they will enjoy! Below are some Canadian historical fiction & YA books that I’d recommend to a friend because I’ve read and enjoyed them myself.
Filled with details as compelling as they are surprising, this story of a Nova Scotia midwife is an unforgettable tale of the struggles women have faced to have control of their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine. - The Book Depository
Reading can be a great way to learn more about the history of a country – especially your own! Ami McKay's debut novel, The Birth House, is a masterpiece that brings to life women's experiences giving birth in Nova Scotia during the early to mid-1900s. The story deals with the conflict between medicine, and midwifery (among many other themes) and is absolutely beautiful and engaging!
Three Day Road was my university’s recommended read my freshman year and I quite liked it. The story it tells is one Canadians don’t often hear about – the contributions of Aboriginal peoples in World War I. You may think you’ve read all the books out there on World War I, but if you haven’t read this one, then you really haven’t. The story between two Cree best friends, Xavier and Elijah,and their experiences on the warfront will both warm your heart and horrify you. However, the horror isn’t left on the battlefield, as racism is once again faced by Aboriginal heroes upon returning home. This one gave me chills while reading because of the imagery, symbolism and prose were just that good.
by Lawrence Hill
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Abducted from her West African village at the age of eleven and sold as a slave in the American South, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom. After escaping the plantation, torn from her husband and child, she passes through Manhattan in the chaos of the Revolutionary War, is shipped to Nova Scotia, and then joins a group of freed slaves. - The Book Depository
In this fantasy, Gabrielle is a bonemender, a healer, who falls in love with a man whom fate seems to have forbidden her, but they must both think about war before they can think about love. - The Book Depository
I first read the titular novel of Bennett's series in 2007, as it was nominated for a White Pine Award and I was reading it as part of my high school’s reading challenge. I loved this YA fantasy series about a princess with special healing gifts who is determined to help on the battlefield when war breaks out. It incorporates a lot of Irish lore and is fast paced and engaging!
Dead-End Job: When it turns out the boy Frances has met at her job working the nightshift is a stalker, she realizes she may be in serious danger.
Truth: When a prominent local adult is killed at a teen house party, the whole school seems to know who is to blame, but no one will go to the police.
Sticks and Stones: After developing an unearned reputation as a slut, Jujube finds a novel way to take on her tormentors and help a group of girls win back their self-esteem. - All from The Book Depository
Do you ever read a book and years later you can’t remember exactly why you loved it, but you get these glimpses and feelings? Well that’s what my love for this book is like. This was another White Pine read I believe, and I remember being mesmerized by it. It’s very much a romantic fantasy or fairy tale, with the plot revolving around Keturah buying time from Lord Death with her storytelling abilities, only to have to find true love within a day if she wants to live. I remember that feeling of being enchanted by the beautiful writing and being swept away by the story. I think this one would have wide appeal for YA readers as it could be classified as fantasy, historical fiction, paranormal, AND romance.
Want more great Canadian YA fiction? Check out these White Pine award nominees lists by year.
What are your favourite historical fiction and YA books by Canadian authors and/or that are set in Canada?