Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow
What a great start to a new series! Sisters Kimi and Hana want nothing more to become Samurai warriors…something quite impossible in 1216 in feudal Japan. Lucky for them, their father, the Jito, or ruler of the province, teaches them basic fighting techniques, believing that women should be able to defend themselves in case of an attack. However, their training is brief, for girls (especially daughters of the Jitoare meant to practice tea ceremonies and calligraphy, not fighting with swords and daggers.
The girls’ world is forever changed though when their uncle commits the horrifying and treacherous act of slaughtering their father and two older brothers, forcing the girls to flee for their lives. Not knowing if their mother and younger brother escaped, they disguise themselves as peasant boys in order to take shelter at a dojo. Run by Master Goku, it is no only the same dojo where their older brothers had trained to become samurais, but where their cousin Ken-ichi is currently studying.
Will the girls be able to keep the secret of who they really are and avenge their father’s death? Or will Ken-ichi’s father track them down?
Perfect for middle school readers, Sisters of the Sword is just the first in the series, be sure to look for Chasing the Secret and Journey Through Fire