YA Books That Take You Places

Escape to Destinations Around the World While Staying Home
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YA Books That Take You Places

Travel may be out the window for a while, but if you’re like me, the desire to escape to a faraway land is still coursing through your veins. And what better option than diving headfirst into fiction? Here are some YA books that will take you places, even though you’re home. 

1. Start Here by Trish Doller 

Where it will take you: On a sailboat trip down the Atlantic Coast

This book is a journey—literally. It’s a story about two college-bound girls who are making half of the Great Loop voyage. (The Great Loop is a coastal waterway that circles the eastern United States via the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River.) Their best friend, Finley, was supposed to join them on the trip, but she passed away from cancer in the spring. So Willa and Taylor are on their own—and at each other’s throats—as they voyage from Ohio to Florida. 

Why You Should Read It
This is a story of friendship and finding yourself on the high seas, and I recommend it for anyone craving a coastal trip, with big city and small town highlights.

4.5/5 Brookie Stars

2. Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

Where it will take you: Doha, Qatar

This book took me somewhere it never occurred to me to go. When Zayneb gets suspended from school for confronting her racist teacher, she heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar for an early start to spring break. There, she meets Adam, who’s visiting home while on break—except he doesn’t plan on going back to school in London after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As they explore Doha, they get to know each other and the reader gets to know them through their journal entries that explore the marvels and oddities of life. Check out my full review here. 

Why You Should Read It
This tale focuses on all forms of love (familial, friend, and of course, romantic) and is both an escape and an experience. 

5/5 Brookie Stars

3. Love & Gelato and Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Where they will take you: Italy and Ireland

In Love & Gelato, Lina fulfills her mother’s dying wish by spending the summer in Italy getting to know the father she’s never met. In Love & Luck, Addie finds herself on a whirlwind road trip around Ireland, with her brother, his cute friend, and an unusual guidebook. There’s also a third in this companion series coming later this year—Love & Olives will explore Greece! 

Why You Should Read It
If you want to travel to Europe via fiction, you don’t have to deep-dive into YA. There are plenty of options. But I selected these two because they focus in on their destinations. Both Tuscany and the Emerald Isle are basically characters in their respective stories, and my desire to travel to both only grew while enjoying these tales.

4/5 Brookie Stars

4. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Where it will take you: Kyoto, Japan

Let’s continue continent-hopping, shall we? Kimi’s on a quest of self-discovery after arguing with her mother about her future. So when her grandparents send her a ticket to visit them in Kyoto for spring break, Kimi travels there hoping to figure out what she’s passionate about—because it’s not painting like her mom wants it to be. Check out my full review here. 

Why You Should Read It
With adventures around Kyoto and sampling the delectable mochi, this story immerses the reader in Japan and Kimi’s quest to find her passion.

4/5 Brookie Stars

5. The Girl from Everywhere duology by Heidi Heilig 

Where it will take you: On a time-hopping adventure through the past

Okay, my final selection takes us someplace we can’t actually go—the past. But sometimes, the past is the best escape from our real world. (Fantasy and science fiction worlds also work, but that could be another whole post!) In The Girl from Everywhere, Nix is the daughter of a time traveller on the hunt for a map in 1868 Honolulu, the year before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. By going there, her father could change the past, and erase her from history. 

Why You Should Read It
The twists and turns in this one kept me on the edge of my seat, and the story was infused with myth, history, and romance. 

5/5 Brookie Stars


What are some of your favourite books that take you far away? Let us know by emailing us here!


Jamie Mitchell

Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.


Favourite book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favourite brunch spot: 1823 Bakehouse


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