Throwback: Teen Novels set in the 60’s

Sekret

Sekret by Lindsay Smith

YA SMITH, L.

A group of psychic teenagers in 1960s Soviet Russia are forced to use their powers to spy for the KGB.

Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

YA SCHMIDT, G.

During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom, where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.

I'm Glad I Did

I’m Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil

YA WEIL, C.

In 1963 sixteen-year-old JJ Green, a songwriter interning at New York City’s famous Brill Building, finds herself a writing partner in Luke Silver, a boy who seems to connect instantly with her music, and they start cutting their first demo with Dulcie Brown, a legend who’s fallen on hard times, with a secret past.

LookingJackKerouac

Looking for Jack Kerouac by Barbara Shoup

YA SHOUP, B.

In 1964, Paul Carpetti discovers Jack Kerouac’s On the Road while on a school trip to New York and begins to question the life he faces after high school. Then he meets a volatile, charismatic Kerouac devotee determined to hit the road himself. When the boys learn that Kerouac is living in St. Petersburg, Florida, they go looking for answers.

WhatWeHide

What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn

YA JOCELYN, M.

Told from multiple viewpoints, high school Junior Jenny of Philadelphia spends a semester at a Quaker boarding school in Sheffield, England, near where her brother is avoiding the Vietnam draft, and where everyone carries close-held secrets.

TightropeWalkers

The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond

YA ALMOND, D.

Coming of age in the shadow of northern England’s shipyards, young Dominic is torn between the extremes of his shipbuilder family’s lifestyle, a complex bully to whom he finds himself irresistibly drawn, and the tightrope-walking girl he loves.

Bliss

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

YA MYRACLE, L.

Having grown up in a California commune, Bliss sees her aloof grandmother’s Atlanta world as a foreign country, but she is determined to be nice as a freshman at an elite high school, which makes her the perfect target for Sandy, a girl obsessed with the occult.

Jasper Jones book cover

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

YA MY SILVEY, C.

In small-town Australia, teens Jasper and Charlie form an unlikely friendship when one asks the other to help him cover up a murder until they can prove who is responsible.

LifeExplodedDiagram

Life: an Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

YA PEET, M.

In 1960s Norfolk, England, seventeen-year-old Clem Ackroyd lives with his mother and grandmother in a tiny cottage, but his life is transformed when he falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy farmer in this tale that flashes back through the stories of three generations.

SammyJuliana

Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

YA SAENZ, B.

As a Chicano boy living in the unglamorous town of Hollywood, New Mexico, and a member of the graduating class of 1969, Sammy Santos faces the challenges of “gringo” racism, unpopular dress codes, the Vietnam War, barrio violence, and poverty.

MyNameNotEasy

My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson

YA EDWARDSON, D.

Alaskans Luke, Chickie, Sonny, Donna, and Amiq relate their experiences in the early 1960s when they are forced to attend a Catholic boarding school where, despite different tribal affiliations, they come to find a sort of family and home.

BeforeWeWereFree

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

YA ALVAREZ, J.

In the early 1960s in the Dominican Republic, twelve-year-old Anita learns that her family is involved in the underground movement to end the bloody rule of the dictator, General Trujillo.

DeathComingUpHill

Death Coming Up the Hill by Chris Crowe

YA CROWE, C.

Douglas Ashe keeps a weekly record of historical and personal events in 1968, the year he turns seventeen, including the escalating war in Vietnam, assassinations, rampant racism, and rioting; his first girlfriend, his parents’ separation, and a longed-for sister.

NotoriousPaganJones

The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry

YA BERRY, N.

Pagan Jones went from America’s sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night a car accident killed her whole family. Pagan was behind the wheel and driving drunk. Nine months later, she’s stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt-not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Pagan Jones.

SummerofKings

A Summer of Kings by Han Nolan

YA NOLAN, H.

Over the course of the summer of 1963, fourteen-year-old Esther Young discovers the passion within her when eighteen-year-old King-Roy Johnson, accused of murdering a white man in Alabama, comes to live with her family.

TellMeLies

Tell Me Lies by Patrick Cooper

YA COOPER, P.

In England in 1969, nineteen-year-old Stephen leaves his conservative home, where he is haunted by a troubled past and dread of the future, and is drawn by an old friend to a commune, whose charismatic leader speaks of finding freedom to live in the moment.

MyOwnRevolution

My Own Revolution by Carolyn Marsden

YA MARSDEN, C.

In 1960s Czechoslovakia, Patrik participates in and rebels against the communist regime, knowing that anyone could become an enemy in the blink of an eye.

rock and the river

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

YA MAGOON, K.

In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father’s nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.