Let's Take a Road Trip!

Mt. Pleasant LibraryStaff Picks

Let's Take a Road Trip!

YA Books to Inspire You to Hit the Road

Summer time and road trips go hand in hand. There is something about the warm weather that draws us out and makes us want to look for adventure. The magic of the open road and the wide variety of sights, sounds, and smells has made for many great stories. The collection of characters, the big moments, and the quiet in between the miles set the stage for fun, reflection, and the unexpected. 

Recently, many YA novels have used this platform to share strong coming of age stories, stories about friendship and love, loss and letting go. If you're looking for some adventure this summer, check out one of these books. I guarantee you'll enjoy following these characters on their journeys and you might even be inspired to pack a bag and hit the road yourself. 

Mosquitoland by David Arnold 
Mim is a fascinating character to follow on her somewhat bizarre journey from Mississippi to Ohio. She grapples with her broken family, her mental health, and her whole idea of home. There were so many moments in this book, some sweet, some special, some sick, some sad, and some a bit confusing. They all pieced together to form an interesting read that will leave you thinking about Mim and where she ends up long after you've closed the book.

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Just after high school graduation, Colby is on the road with his best friend Bev and her band as they travel through the Pacific Northwest playing shows in small bars and clubs. The plan has always been that after the tour he and Bev will take off and explore the world, but when Bev reveals that she's planning on heading to college in the fall Colby must face the realities of growing up, leaving home, and saying goodbye head on. Although the cover might look like a fun in the sun road trip with spots on beaches, there is a lot more depth to this coming of age story. Both stories culminate in a cross country road trip that provide some answers and closure.

Paper Towns by John Green
No YA picks list would be complete without John Green. His witty writing and vivid characters will draw you in. Paper Towns follows a group of high school seniors in central Florida as they near their graduation day. The excitement and sadness they feel over leaving  their high school years behind them feels honest and true. When one of their own, the infamous Margo Roth Spiegelman, decides to escape high school a few weeks early, you'll be just as curious about what happened to Margo Roth Spiegelman as her friends are. It's reminiscent of Green's Looking for Alaska which also follows a teenage boy and his friends dealing with love, heartbreak, and their impending adulthood on the road.

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
This book is reminiscent of John Green's Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns. Seventeen-year-old Leila drives on a road trip to Alaska with hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. On her journey she encounters Hudson, Bree, Elliot, and Sonia who are all dealing with life's big questions in their own ways. Their stories intertwine in an interesting narrative that examines life, love, and loss.

Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
So, this one isn't exactly a YA coming of age novel like the rest of the books on this list. However, it is a memoir of a young woman coming to terms with her mother's death, the dissolution of her family, and her past transgressions against herself and those she cares about - all themes you'll find written about widely in YA literature. Cheryl Strayed's journey includes some time on the road, but mostly consists of her time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Her consistent solitude is broken by a cast of characters that she meets on the trail, giving the reader short vignettes into the lives of the people who have touched our narrator and influenced her trip.