I live on an island that is 22 miles long and 7 miles wide, it takes about two hours to travel from the east end to the west side and the only way to get off this island is by air or sea. Thanks to my lovely parents I have been travelling away from home long before I can remember and I love to do it. Honduras, Miami, New York, Jamaica and The Bahamas, I have been to all of these places and a few others but it’s not enough. I have a long list of places I want to see and every few months I get the travel bug, grab my passport and hit the airport. Here are three YA books that not only take my mind around the world but make my body want to travel there too.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Anna Oliphant has been sent to spend her senior year of high school at an American school in Paris, and although Anna is initially against the idea of spending her last year of school away from all of her friends and family, in a foreign country where she doesn’t even speak the language she eventually comes to appreciate and fall in love with the City of Lights. A city that is much more than delicious pastries and an iconic tower. Anna learns to see the city through the eyes of the locals and enjoy all that Paris has to offer. Before reading Anna and the French Kiss I mainly wanted to see Paris for the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre but now I also wish to see it’s multitude of movie theatres (apparently you can find them in clusters around the city), it’s delicious coffee which makes the stuff us westerners drink taste like sludge, and just really bask in the normally overcast romantic atmosphere.
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon –In Infinity Nick’s already hard life seems to go from bad to worse when he is attacked by his friends for stopping a mugging. Lucky for Nick before his "friends" can finish him off, he is rescued by Kyrian, a mysterious, ultra-rich bachelor with odd sleeping patterns. To pay him back Nick becomes Kyrian's assistant but this arrangement is the least unusual thing to occur in Nick's life. People are turning into zombies, werewolves are on the football team and Nick's new friends are not all entirely human, oh and he's destined to destroy the world. You think with a plot brimming with this much fun and chaos the setting would take a back seat but really New Orleans was a character all in itself the way Sherrilyn Kenyon features it in her books. I would love to stop by all the streets and venues mentioned in this series, eat a beignet and tour one of New Orleans' grand cemeteries.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – Told from two main points of view, Leviathan is a steampunk novel set during an alternate World War I. Alek is an Austrian prince on the run seeking neutral territory so he can avoid being captured by those responsible for his parent's murder. Deryn is a girl disguised as a boy on board a British royal air ship escorting a scientist to the east. Both characters start off in two different parts of Europe and both characters journeys lead them across the continent towards each other. However, before that happens remember there is a war going on and with war comes danger and adventure. This novel took place in three different countries and each country in Europe is as distinctive as their languages. In this series Scott Westerfeld not only did a great job with the story and characters but with describing and showcasing all the different cultures of the countries the story visits. Before, when I thought of a trip to Europe, it was the home of the romance languages that always came to my mind but after Leviathan it would be a crime to not add Austria and Switzerland to my list.
Readers normally pick up a book to not only enjoy themselves, but to escape the real world for a couple of hours. However, there are also novels out there, like the three above, despite their genre that can also inspire a reader to take a closer look at the real world and explore what it has to offer.
Sandy is a junior technical analyst by day and a book junkie by night, when she is not working or obsessing about books you can catch her watching her favourite characters on TV or sitting in a dark room catching the latest movie release. Scribing Shadows is a blog that features speculative fiction for lovers of middle grade, YA, adult books, and graphic novels.