As much as I love the young adult genre, there seems to be an underlying note that historical fiction is either a hit or miss for readers. In some cases, it depends on the reader’s tastes. Sometimes they mix in a hint of fantasy, because authors are given the liberty to put small twists on some fix points. Exploring history can be quite fun if you find the right person to retell it for you. But in some cases, it could be disastrous. I always have room to read such books because not only do I love the young adult genre, but I am a sucker for historical fiction.
Fear not, with the right characters, one can develop a story that is unique and different than any other book out there. Which is why I created this list of historical people who would be amazing to cast as the leads for a young adult book. Inspired by Legacy of Kings written by Eleanor Herman, I decided to list down the top 4 historical figures that I want to see in YA literature. I believe that these historical figures are worth writing a book about, and despite being tricky, is all but worth it with the stories that they hold in their years as a young adult.
Note: Years indicated below are the years of their respective tenures on the throne/job.
Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland (1558 – 1603)
As one such as myself that is ridiculously fascinated by the Tudors, it is still unclear to me on how Elizabeth I managed to carry herself when she was declared a bastard and an illegitimate heir to the throne of England all while she is in her teens. We already got a sense of Edward VI’s POV in My Lady Jane, but I want to read more about this lady and how she became one of the most famous monarchs in Britain’s history. Is it possible that what developed in her years as a teen led to her brilliant ways of thinking and led England reach it’s golden age? There are tons of possibilities, and mind you, I am aware that there is a movie. But I need more!
Elagabalus, Emperor of Rome (218 – 222)
Controversial, yes. A new spin on your usual history book? Most definitely, yes. Elagabalus is a controversial figure for being an emperor of the largest empire the world has ever seen. Rome, in the hands of a teenager? Elagabalus was barely fourteen when he was given an empire to rule. Calling him eccentric is a bit… off. I really want to see a YA book that focuses on him entirely. It is just ridiculous if you think about it, but his story will definitely be the most refreshing historical take that will ever exist in the genre. He can be the villain, or he could be this misunderstood boy who got misguided by the people around him.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer (1762 – 1791)
If you have written a concerto at the age of four, a symphony at the age of seven, and a full scale opera at 12, I bet my cents that your life is nothing but extraordinary. Based on what I know about Mozart so far, being a child prodigy took him across Europe. It is no easy feat, because it can be quite intriguing to know what kind of a teenager he was. What went on in his life? And how majestically twisted is that brain of his? I have much to believe that his rise to fame happened while he was a teenager. I guess I don’t believe everything that I saw in the movie Amadeus…
Marie Antoinette, Queen Consort of France and Navarre (1774 – 1791)
Imagine being queen of France at a young age? Not only that, but being the daughter of one of the largest dynasties is an extraordinary place to be. I might not want to imagine the pressure she’s on, but those are tasks that are too heavy to put on a teenager’s shoulders. Not only that, she’s being judged because she is a foreign consort. The Marie Antoinette movie that starred Kirsten Dunst is a favorite guilty pleasure movie of mine, but wouldn’t a book detailing it be a great idea?
And that’s about it, guys and gals. Who are your favorite historical figures? Would they fit the bill as an amazing lead ? Share your thoughts below!
P.S. I’m saving Alexander Hamilton for a later date, just you wait. 😉