Road Trip Reading Recommendations

By Ashley Owens

‘Tis the season to go traveling!

Guess who finally took a vacation! That’s right – my partner, our little one, and I went up to the Washington mountains in the Pacific Northwest for over a week! We went to the beach, did some book shopping, hit a couple of breweries, went hiking multiple times, and also just relaxed & did nothing in the family house! My daughter discovered her love of the beach, and macaroni & cheese. It was a beautiful time.

Because I’m a bookworm, and also because I’m hecka extra, I packed 6 books AND my kindle. We drove up to Washington from California – a 12 hour drive in total – but split it over 2 days and stayed in Oregon on our way there and back. So I feel like I was totally justified in bringing all of those books! That’s a lot of time in the car! And that doesn’t even include all of our smaller trips when we were actually in Washington. Plus I’m a mood reader, so I like to have many options available to me while I’m away to make sure I have a good time while I’m reading.

This got me thinking though, about which books may be more conducive to road trip reading. So without further ado, here are some road trip reading recommendations!

Penryn and the End of Days series by Susan Ee

I have definitive proof that this trilogy is very much readable on a road trip; my best friend read ALL 3 BOOKS when we were driving home from Washington to California (yes, I clearly make this trip a lot). They’re short, gripping, full of action, all-consuming, and clearly totally addicting. And lots of the plot takes place on the road… albeit walking & hiking through a post-apocalyptic world, but still!

This series follows Penryn Young, a 17-year-old San Franciscan, as she tries to navigate the world that has suddenly come apart around her as a result of fallen angels feuding with each other. She’s a badass heroine, who also happens to be a super loyal older sister and falls (reluctantly) for one of the afore-mention fallen angels, named Raffe.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This is another book that I can vouch for it’s road trip readability, as I read it on a road trip to Lake Tahoe in May! 2 months later and I am literally still thinking about this book every damn day. It’s a super cute, fun, quick read that still manages to hit you in the feels. The main characters talk like real people – something I feel like never happens in YA or NA books – which makes it relatable as heck. I laughed, I cried, what a time I had.

This book is about Alex and Henry, the first son of the US and the Prince of England respectively, in a sort of alternate reality where a female is the President of America. That’s right – it’s gay! (are you shocked) It features one of my all-time favorite tropes: the hate-to-love romance.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Is it cheating to include a book about a road trip in this list? Even if it is, I don’t care because this book is the only road trip book I have ever actually liked.

This book is both cute and sad at times. It’s one of those Young Adult books that actually has substantive writing and characters. I liked the ways I got to know Amy and Roger, Roger in particular is so crush-worthy to me. The story’s pacing is one you can completely fall into and follow along with well. Amy is a very thoughtful character and that shows in the writing, but there are also these super adorable little “road trip” themed moments specifically that make this great for a car ride: playlists, grocery shopping lists, car games, etc.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

I would actually recommend this audiobook specifically for a road trip. The narrator is superb, and the silliness & adventure of the book comes across as this adventure story being told to you by a story-teller. It’s got everything; pirates, queer characters, science, robberies, smut. It’s amazing.

The Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

Or really any of his books. They’re fantastic and like a slightly older Harry Potter but full of Greek mythology. Like, it’s my favorite series of all time, so I don’t know how else to sell you on them, but I guarantee you will be hooked.

Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger

Why are these books not more well-known?! They are a riot! And they have history and fantasy and steampunk and steamy times. They make for some amazing stories to get engrossed in and laugh out loud at, and just have a great time with it while stuck in the car.

My Lady Jane by Cythnia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Very similarly to “Gentleman’s Guide,” this book is surprisingly hilarious. I would also recommend this as an audiobook too! The absurdity of this book and the funny lines will keep you entertained on your road trip!

Blood For Blood trilogy by Catherine Doyle

This is the most addictive series I have ever read, without question. It’s basically Romeo & Juliet but with the Italian mafia in Chicago in modern days. Like, these books are ridiculously dramatic, and I LIVE for it. I guarantee you that you will not want to do anything but be consumed with these books when you read them! The love triangle alone is enough to engross you.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

So the first appealing thing about this book is that it’s short – so no matter how long your car ride is, you can probably finish it within the trip. Secondly, it’s FULL of plot twists… so to say that you will be hooked is an understatement And thirdly, just holy cow is this a page turner!

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10 Suggestions for Young Male Readers

By Sean Frankel

The struggle is real when it comes to finding books for the young male reader. They have these stipulations that it can not be too girly, or they don’t want to be seen with a pink book. So, we decided to come up with a list of books that we suggest they get in to outside of Rick Riodan, John Green, Dav Pilkey and Erin Hunter’s books.

1. A Place of Shadows by Dave Lafferty

This book is incredibly captivating. Dave has this very unique writing style that grabs you back in to the book every couple of pages. It has some very chilling moments, but what do you expect from a ghost mystery thriller?! I highly recommend this book.

2. Scythe, Thunderhead, and Dry by Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman writes some really fantastic books. His Arc of Scythe series is only three books in, but they are so incredibly written. The concept of the storyline is that people can not die on their own, and the only people who can take a life is a ‘Scythe.’ Dry is a novel that is basically about the California wildfires before they happened. His book is obviously more dramalized and fictional, but it is ironic that it takes place in some of the areas that have been on fire around the same time the book was released.

3. James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard series

Being stripped of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit to be a normal teenager; two teens are stripped away from the life they had by the “New Order” and stuck in a prison. Only to find out they have some kind of magical powers.. This series is very fast paced and very captivating. James Patterson did a really good job at giving us another great series that anyone can enjoy. I am still wondering why it hasn’t hit the big screen yet…

4. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl

Speaking of books that had yet to hit the big screen. Artemis Fowl is going to be a major motion picture coming August 9th of this year. To be honest, I don’t know why it took this long for the books to hit the big screen. It should almost be a kid’s classic because the books are extremely well written, fast paced, captivating, and the character development is beautiful. Maybe Eoin Colfer was a little before his time, but hey, he finally got on the big screen!

5. Jason Reynold’s Track series

This is a very strong series about self discovery, resilience, and learning how to forget the past. Each book really follows each individual main character on the track team. Telling us more about who they are and what they are all about. Each book expands the story line and develops the characters more and more in each book. Which leaves you WANTING MORE with each cliff hanger!

6. Margaret peterson haddix’s shadow children series

Being the first child was the best thing that could ever happen to you, but being the second was a life sentence. In Haddix’s incredible series, she creates a world with population control laws that state each family is only allowed to have one child. Every child after this is considered illegal and treated like an abomination and a waste of space. The main character is unfortunate to be a second child hiding in the attic –until he is found out and taken away. This thrilling series follows a captivating timeline of rebellion, post-apocalyptic society, and freedom. Haddix does such a wonderful job writing these books that you almost can not put them down.

7. Obert Skye’s Levin Thumps series

Just another book about a fourteen year old trying to save the world. A boy who lost his parents, and lives with his horrible aunt and uncle–no, no it isn’t Harry Potter, promise. But this is a good mix of everything you love about books like the Golden Compass, Harry Potter, and Narnia. It really packs in to a magical world that anyone would enjoy.

8. Holly black & tony diterlizzi’s spiderwick series

Okay we could not leave these out. Spiderwick is such a beautiful fantasy world, and when it was brought to the big screen –I was in awe. All of my imagination was on the big screen because the vivid imagery this book has is incredible. Not to mention the intense story line and how fast paced the series is.

9. Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Fantastically written books with an amazing story line mystery. Following the grim tale of three orphans and their horrible uncle. I highly recommend this series as the twists, turns, and imagination in these books are incredible. Plus, who doesn’t love reading about an self-absorbed uncle?

10. Sarah J. Maas throne of glass series

So is Lara Croft a descendent of Celaena Sardothien or what? This series is about another powerful female character who kicks butt and takes names. Following through this very thrilling story line that never misses a beat, and has one of the greatest cliff hangers of all time. It also has very strong character development, and a lot of action. Even Drizzt Do’Urden can’t keep up.