31 Thrilling Historical Fiction Books For 8th Graders (Age 13)

Historical fiction offers young readers the opportunity to travel through time, immersing themselves in different eras, cultures, and events while enjoying captivating stories. For 8th graders, this genre provides a unique blend of education and entertainment, fostering a deeper understanding of history and human experiences.

In this post, we will explore 31 Thrilling Historical Fiction Books For 8th Graders.

In fact:

The books mentioned in this post are based on comprehensive research and reviews and are considered some of the best Historical Fiction Books For 8th Graders.

Are You In a Hurry?

If you’re in a hurry, your search is over! We have selected three highly recommended historical fiction books.

Overview Of The 31 Thrilling Historical Fiction Books For 8th Graders

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Note: You can purchase these books by clicking on the title link. Please note that the links to purchase these books are affiliate links from Amazon.

Fever 1793


In “Fever 1793” by Laurie Halse Anderson, meet Mattie Cook. It’s the summer of 1793, and Mattie lives above a coffee shop with her mom and grandpa. She wants to make the shop the best. But then a dangerous fever spreads, and everything changes. Mattie’s mom is sick, so they leave the city with her grandpa. But the sickness is everywhere. Mattie has to learn how to stay safe in a sick city. The book shows how Mattie fights to survive during this hard time.

Across Five Aprils


“Across Five Aprils” by Irene Hunt is about a boy named Jethro. It’s set in 1861 when he’s just nine years old. His older brother Tom and cousin Eb go off to fight in a big war. The war divides his family, and Jethro has to figure out how to deal with feelings and problems. This story shows what life was like during the Civil War, how Jethro grows up, and how things were uncertain during that time.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond


“The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare is about a girl named Kit Tyler. She comes to colonial in 1687, leaving her home. She struggles to live in this new area. Kit becomes friends with Hannah, who the people think is a witch. This friendship makes Kit think about what she should do. The book follows Kit as she figures out who she is and how to make hard choices about her feelings.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch


“Carry On, Mr. Bowditch” by Jean Lee Latham is about Nathaniel Bowditch, who knew a lot about ships and math. Even though he was small and people didn’t think he could do anything, He worked hard and wrote a famous book called “The American Practical Navigator.” People were amazed and respected him a lot. This book tells Nat’s story of learning and success.

I Know an Old Lady


In “I Know an Old Lady” by Margaret Standafer, it’s the hot summer of 1972 in Kansas. Teens are having fun with new freedom. They go to the lake. But Billy Tupper’s life is different. He makes a mistake and has to work for Old Lady. As Billy works and looks into things, he learns about her and himself. This story is about growing up and understanding, showing how a family comes together.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle


In “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” by Avi, is set in 1832 during the summer. Charlotte Doyle goes on a sea journey from England to Rhode Island. She was alone with a mean captain and a crew. Things get tense, and Charlotte gets involved in their problems. Her trip becomes tough and scary. Charlotte needs to be brave and face this situation.

Woods Runner


“Woods Runner” by Gary Paulsen is a story about Samuel, who lives on the American frontier. He hunts for food and knows little about the war against the British. Suddenly, the war reaches his home when British soldiers attack. Samuel’s parents are taken as captives, so he sets out to rescue them. He faces danger and meets secret allies who help him. This book shows the bravery and determination of a young boy during a challenging time.



In “Tex” by S. E. Hinton, meet Tex, a happy teenager. He likes his horse Negrito and has a crush on Jamie. Tex lives with his brother Mason. Mason is unhappy about their dad not being home. Mason wants money. Tex often gets into trouble. When things start going wrong, Tex has to find a way to make them better. This story is about Tex’s problems and how he deals with them.

Hattie Big Sky


In “Hattie Big Sky” by Kirby Larson, Hattie is tired of moving around. She decides to move to Montana. She faces tough weather and challenges. Hattie finds a new family in her neighborhood. Hattie’s determination and courage are tested until a sad event makes her question the meaning of home.

The Downstairs Girl


“The Downstairs Girl” by Stacey Lee is about Jo Kuan. She’s a maid during the day for a rich family. But at night, she secretly writes an advice queue. Jo talks about important things. When people start guessing who she is, this puts her in danger. The book shows how Jo is brave as she faces challenges and learns important lessons.

Dark Water Rising


In “Dark Water Rising” by Marian Hale, meet Seth. It’s the start of the 20th century and Seth and his family move to Galveston for a good school. Seth has a job and enjoys his life, but things change when a storm attacks. Huge waves and trash hit the city, causing destruction. Seth’s family fights to survive the disaster. The story captures the challenges they face and their fight for survival.

The Rock and the River


“The Rock and the River” by Kekla Magoon is about Sam, whose dad fights for civil rights. His best friend, Stick, starts to support something stronger. Sam has a hard choice. He joins Stick, which gets risky. Sam has to pick between his dad’s teachings and his own feelings. This book shows how Sam deals with problems in a changing world.

A Land Remembered


In “A Land Remembered” by Patrick D. Smith, the story takes place in Florida. It tells about the MacIvey family over many years, facing the challenges of living in the wild land. With an interesting history and characters, the book shows how they built their lives in the Florida swamp.

Bad Boy


In “Bad Boy” by Walter Dean Myers, the author’s childhood comes to life. He was strong and often got into fights, yet he loved reading and dreamed of becoming a writer. Despite his ambitions, he faced challenges. This book captures his journey, exploring his struggles.



“In ‘Forge’ by Laurie Halse Anderson, Curzon is a slave dealing with tough times in Valley Forge. The story shows how Curzon grows up, makes friends, and tries to find freedom. They all face cold weather and hard challenges, but they never give up.

Calico Captive


“Calico Captive” by Elizabeth George Speare is set in 1754 in Charlestown. When an Indian raid disrupts the town, young Miriam’s life takes a turn. Captured and forced to march during the French and Indian War, Miriam faces problems. The story unfolds as Miriam reaches Montreal, where unexpected meetings change her life.

The Light in the Forest


“The Light in the Forest” by Mary Ellen is a story about a boy who grows up with Indians. John is captured when he’s young and becomes part of the tribe. But after eleven years, a treaty says he must go back to his original family. Now John has to adjust to his old life again.

The Last Mission 


In “The Last Mission” by Harry Mazer, set during World War II, Jack Raab is eager to be a hero. He leaves behind his family and joins the U.S. Air Force. Jack and his crew fly dangerous bombing missions. As the war nears its end, they undertake their final mission, which goes terribly wrong. After being shot down and captured, Jack becomes a prisoner in a German camp. His experiences there are even more terrifying than he could have ever imagined. This novel follows Jack’s journey through challenges during a critical time in history.

The Secret School 


“The Secret School” by Avi tells the story of Ida Bidson, a girl with a strong desire to become a teacher. Her dream faces obstacles when her school closes. Determined to keep the school open, Ida creates a secret school to continue her education. However, a school needs a teacher, and Ida wonders if she can fulfill that role. This novel captures Ida’s determination and her journey.

Love & War


“Love & War” by Melissa de la Cruz tells about the love between Alexander and Elizabeth during the American Revolution. While they are married, the war makes things hard. Alex wants to do something important in the war, and Eliza wants a better future. After the war, they face new problems. They go through tough times, and their love is tested. The book is a story about love and strength during an important time in America’s past.

Stormy Seas


“Stormy Seas” by L. J. Martin is about a young man named Jake Zane who comes to San Francisco. The city is filled with a mix of good and bad people. Jake gets involved with a dangerous gang. He has a friend named Lord who helps him. Jake starts working on ships and learns a lot during his journey. The book follows Jake’s adventures as he navigates through challenges and new experiences.

Two Thousand Grueling Miles


In “Two Thousand Grueling Miles” by L. J. Martin, a young boy named Jake has an important job to take care of his family, while traveling. They face many difficulties, like a very long and tough journey with no proper roads, dangerous animals, and bad weather. Many families are traveling together, but sickness and accidents make things even harder. The story is about how they travel on the Oregon Trail to find a better life.

Under a Painted Sky


“Under a Painted Sky” by Stacey Lee is about a girl named Samantha. She wants to go back to New York to play her music, but it’s hard because she’s Chinese. But when a tragic event changes her life and she breaks the law, she has to escape with Annamae, a slave. But trouble keeps finding them, and life on the Oregon Trail is full of challenges. The story is about their journey and struggles as they try to survive and find a better future.

A House of Night Novella


In “A House of Night Novella” by P. C. Cast, the story is set in 1893. Emily’s life changes when her mother dies. When Emily is Marked by a vampyre and taken to Chicago, she starts a new magical life. The book explores Emily’s journey and transformation in a world of darkness.

Outrun the Moon


In “Outrun the Moon” by Stacey Lee, Mercy Wong is determined to escape San Francisco’s Chinatown. However, when an earthquake hits the city on April 18, Mercy’s life takes a turn. Her home and school are destroyed, and she finds herself in a park with her classmates. Despite the destruction, she becomes strong and helps everyone. This story is about Mercy as she deals with the earthquake and tries to make her broken city better.

Across the Great Barrier


“In Across the Great Barrier” by Patricia C. Wrede, Eff goes on a trip to the West, leaving her city behind. She can be a strong magician, but she’s not sure. People expect great things from her. Her brother Lan is jealous of the attention she gets. Even though she says she’s just a regular girl. This story mixes magic and bravery in the wild west.



In “Rowdy” by Chris Mullen, Rowdy survives a tragic attack that leaves his family dead and his home in flames. Alone and determined to honor his father’s legacy, Rowdy begins a journey along the Mississippi River. He learns the ways of the trade. As he faces challenges from bullying, Rowdy’s strength and bravery are put to the test. With courage and determination, he fights for what’s right and learns important lessons about life and bravery.

Dead End in Norvelt


“Dead End in Norvelt” is about a boy named Jack Gantos. He’s stuck at home for the summer, but then he helps his neighbor write stories about the town’s founders who have passed away. This leads to a strange adventure. The book is funny and full of adventure, taking you on an exciting journey.

Curse of the Blue Tattoo


In “Curse of the Blue Tattoo” by L. A. Meyer, Jacky Faber, a girl who pretended to be a boy on a ship, is now at a fancy school in Boston. She struggles to fit in as a proper young lady after her adventurous life at sea. Her manners and skills are not like other girls. Join her on this journey as she tries to fit in and navigate a world of manners and mysteries.

Where the Broken Heart Still Beats


“Where the Broken Heart Still Beats” by Carolyn Meyer is about Ann Parker, who was taken captive by a group when she was young. She lived with them and even became a chief’s wife. After a long time, she was taken back to her original group. The story shows how different groups of people had conflicts and how Ann faced challenges.



“Bluebird” by Sharon Cameron is a story from 1946. Eva moves from Berlin to New York City with a dangerous secret named Project Bluebird. This secret experiment could change the world’s power balance. Both Americans and Soviets want it. Eva wants justice and struggles to survive. The book is full of suspense and secrets after World War II.


We hope that our list of historical fiction books for 8th graders has given you some excellent options to choose from and your 8th grader will have the pleasure of exploring these historical books.

The historical fiction books recommended in this list have been thoroughly researched and reviewed, and are considered some of the best Historical Fiction Books For 8th Graders. While I may not have personally read all of these books, they have been highly recommended by other readers.

We would love to hear from you about which book your 13 year olds enjoyed the most, or if there is a favorite book that we missed. Please leave your comments and feedback below.

Best wishes and happy reading to you and your family!

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