I love the Olympics! I don’t know what it is, but I love watching top athletes compete in various sports that you usually can’t see on TV. Another thing I like about the Olympics is that it usually introduces me to new information about the culture and customs of the host country. While watching the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I have really enjoyed learning more about modern-day Russia. Though there is a checkered past to the country, the special looks by NBC have been pretty awesome. (One of my favorites was the look at Siberia today.)
All of this got me thinking: there have to be some pretty good books for teens about Russia or that are set in Russia. Check out the list I came up with below. Some are fiction and some are nonfiction. Some are set in modern day and some are set in what was considered the darker times of Russia’s history. Just click on the covers to find them in the Library!
YA STANDIFORD, N.
It is 1982 and nineteen-year-old Laura Reid is spending a semester in Leningrad studying Russian, but when she meets Alyosha she discovers the dissident Russia–a world of wild parties, underground books and music, love, and constant danger.
YA 947.0842 LUG
Recently unearthed in the archives of Stalin’s secret police, this diary offers rare insight into the life of a teenage girl in Stalin’s Russia, when fear of arrest was a fact of life. Nina’s diary offers today’s reader a fascinating perspective on the era in which she lived.
YA WHITCOMB, L.
After 350 years as a Fetch, or death escort, Calder breaks his vows and enters the body of Rasputin, whose spirit causes rebellion in the Land of Lost Souls while Calder struggles to convey Ana and Alexis, orphaned in the Russian Revolution, to Heaven.
YA GRAPH ABADZIS, N.
This is the journey of Laika, the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth’s first space traveler. With the blending of fact and fiction, this story intertwines three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life.
YA BARDUGO, L.
Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.
YA 947.7708 GRI
Although the Iron Curtain is gone, the memory of the high drama, tragedy, and comedy that was life in the Soviet Union remains. Tina Grimberg brings color and perception to a life we think of as gray, impersonal, and foreboding.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
YA SEPETYS, R.
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.
YA DUNLAP, S.
As world war and the looming Russian Revolution threaten all they hold dear, Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, and her family are being held in captivity, where she falls in love with one of their captors, a young man who has espoused the ideals of Lenin.