This group of 15 original short stories, penned by a mix of authors both well-known and relatively new, places young women of racially diverse backgrounds at the centers of fictional narratives throughout American history.
The stories present protagonists using physical skills such as J. Anderson Coats’ Joe, disguised as a boy on a pirate ship, or Marie Lu’s Yakone, mushing through the Alaskan wilderness; however, primarily, it is their wits and daring that get them through. Some of the stories are historical fantasy, such as one about three Mexican sisters that places the Fates in post-annexation Texas, by Leslye Walton. Andrea Cremer offers a tale from the Civil War era that positions supernatural creatures on either side. Another, more traditional story from that same time by Caroline Richmond finds a teen spy at odds with her own family. The collection is enhanced by the unexpected, such as one from Kekla Magoon about the Black Panthers in a surprising setting. A few stories are based on actual people and events, but what each story does best is anchor the narrative securely in its time. The young women do heroic things, but there is little that is anachronistic. There is range and balance in tone, voice, and approach, a challenge for anthologies. Placing the stories in historical order allows readers to move smoothly through, and a helpful author’s note follows each selection.
Readers of historical fiction and adventure need look no further. (Historical short stories. 14 & up)