8 Noteworthy YA Books by International Authors

The Head of the Saint by Socorro Acioli (Brazil)

After the death of his mother, Samuel arrives in a dying village in order to exact his revenge on the father who never returned.  While he searches, he takes shelter in the abandoned head of a giant statue of St. Anthony.  Inside he can hear the voices of the women who pray to the saint.  And he decides to make a prayer come true.  But when the villagers begin believing in his “miracles,” Samuel must decide what it is he believes.  An original, character-driven story.

The Letter to the King by Tonke DragT (The Netherlands)

Sixteen-year-old Tiuri is keeping vigil before he is knighted.  He cannot speak to anyone all night, nor can he open the chapel door. But when he hears a voice outside asking for help, Tiuri opens the door and soon finds himself on the run, a letter for a neighboring king hidden in his shirt.  Tiuri hopes that he can deliver the secret message in time.  But he also hopes he has  not destroyed his chances of ever becoming a knight.  A classic heroic quest.

Maud by Melanie Fishbane (CAnada)

Maud Book CoverFourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery dreams of attending college and becoming a writer, but her grandfather does not believe in higher education for women. Worse, when she finally goes out west to be with her father again, her new stepmother treats her as nothing more than a nanny. Will Maud ever find a way to follow her dreams? Or will she grow old feeling that her world has grown increasingly smaller?  A charming tale based on the life of the author of Anne of Green Gables..

The Book of Pearl by Timothée de Fombelle (France)

Joshua Pearl was once a prince in love with a fairy.  But a jealous and wicked king sundered the two.  Now Joshua is exiled to our world, grief his only link back to his home.  As he endures WWII and the loss of his only home, he begins to collect the pieces that might break the spell.  But time is running out and he worries he will never see his love again.  A haunting tale of loss and heartbreak.

Vango: Between Earth and Sky by Timothée de Fombelle (France)

Nineteen-year-old Vango is about to be ordained as a priest when the police come for him.  Now on the run, Vango crosses Europe by train, by boat, and by airship, desperately seeking for the secrets of his past.  Only then will he learn why he is a wanted man.  A gripping, genre-blending adventure sure to have readers screaming for the sequel.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (UK)

Faith Sunderly and her family move to a small island in the wake of scandal; her father has been accused of forging fossils. When he dies, Faith believes it is murder and set out to find the killer by using the legendary Lie Tree–a tree that feeds on falsehoods and provides secrets in return  A gripping story about a science-loving teenager trying to survive in a man’s world.

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge (UK)

A Skinful of Shadows

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has long managed to fend off the spirits who would possess her.  But then once sneaks past her guard. Can her terrible secret save her family in a nation about to be torn apart by civil war?

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbo (Spain)

Librarian of Auschwitz

When fourteen-year-old Dita Kraus is imprisoned at Auschwitz, she is asked to guard the eight volumes the other prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards.  This is a moving tale sure to please fans of historical fiction, though some may find the pacing a bit slow.  Based on a true story.

18 thoughts on “8 Noteworthy YA Books by International Authors

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I own a copy of The Librarian of Auschwitz, but I haven’t had a chance to crack the cover yet. In two weeks is Yom Ha’Shoah, the Holocaust Remembrance holiday Jews around the world celebrate – I hope to start reading it then. I’ve heard of The Book of Pearl, but the rest are new to me. I love that you’re highlighting international YA authors! We don’t see enough from them.

    Which of the books above you’ve read is your favorite?


    • Krysta says:

      Briana’s read The Librarian of Auschwitz, but I haven’t yet. There are too many great books out there for me to read! But reading it for Yom Ha’Shoah sounds like a wonderful, reflective way to honor the holiday.

      So far Vango is my favorite! So much action and adventure! I love that there are all these random things thrown in like high speech car chases and airships and mysterious islands!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I think I found The Head of the Saint through School Library Journal. They report on the United States Board on Books for Young People’s list of worthy international titles.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Frances Hardinge is one of my favorite contemporary writers of YA fantasy–and so underrated!

      Maud was fascinating, as well. I’m surprised the Montgomery lovers of the world didn’t make this one popular. Maybe being an international author is just really hard. I don’t know.


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