Retro Reads, Young Adult

Retro Reads Thursday: Young Joan

My hometown library was one of my favorite places growing up. I knew exactly where to go to for awesome books, which shelves to look on. In fact, in the nearly 20 years since I first started going to that library, that section hasn’t moved an inch.

Which is a little sad considering how much the young adult genre has exploded, but I digress.

One of the first books I remember checking out from the young adult section at the library was a book about Joan of Arc as a young girl, before she became a hero (and later villain) of France.

This Thursday’s Retro-Read is Young Joan by Barbara Dana. 

Like Zel, I checked this book out over and over. The librarian should have just gave it to me because I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the history of the library to have ever checked it out.

If you like it all that much, it’s yours!

As I said, Young Joan tells the story of Joan of Arc before she was of Arc. She was just a simple farm girl living in a small village in France. There was no thoughts of war, of freedom… of anything other than what all young girls think of. Friends. Growing up. Love.

There’s even one scene where they discuss their periods. Which, as a young girl, I found very cool that girls from medieval times discussed their periods.

The book is written with Joan as the narrator, telling her story of growing up. She talks of her daily life, the things that go on that don’t make her special. It isn’t until she begins to hear the angels talking to her that things change.

I loved seeing her hesitancy towards the angels. Knowing what I did of Joan of Arc at the time, I just thought it was a fact that she heard the angels and that was that. But there’s more to it than that. Young Joan shows us the pain she goes through as she begins to accept her fate, the fear she has for leaving her world for the unknown.

Although written about one of the more famous historical figures, this book is mostly about a girl who finds courage, who finds her convictions and does great things.


3 thoughts on “Retro Reads Thursday: Young Joan”

  1. I had totally forgotten about this book, but I loved it, too! I was super Catholic as a kid and I loved this book with all the religious stuff and also because I was a huge fan of historical fiction and biographies. I think this may have inspired me to contemplate teenage sainthood, but uhhh, things didn’t quite work out that way for me. haha!


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