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    15 YA Books To Read If You Really Miss Traveling

    Bummed that travel is largely on lockdown? See the world through your bookshelves.

    1. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (2019)

    Scholastic / Via, CapozKnows Photography / Via

    Head out on a fashionable jaunt to Japan in Kuhn's YA debut about an aspiring designer named Kimi who moves in with her grandparents for spring break after getting into a fight with her mom. In Kyoto, Kimi's exposed to a million new sights, sounds, and tastes, all of which combine to make the perfect fashion inspiration. But she also finds unexpected romance — as well as a better understanding of where her mother's come from.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    2. Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo (2016)

    Random House Books for Young Readers / Via, Toni Pinto / Via

    If you really want to beat the summer heat, there's no cooler destination (both literally and figuratively) than the one depicted in Longo's thoughtful and immersive sophomore novel: Antarctica. As you may have gathered from the title, it's about a ballet dancer — or at least that's who Harper was until her plans were thrown into upheaval. Now she's wormed her way into an Antarctic expedition while she works on figuring out her future, which means there's no escaping coming to terms with the past.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    3. Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (2018)

    Penguin Random House / Via, Afsoneh Khorram / Via

    This Morris Award winner has so much going for it, from mental health representation to the beautiful friendship at its heart, and it's also a great way to "visit" Iran, just as Darius does with his family to spend time with his sick grandfather. Darius is geeky, clinically depressed, and sure he's going to feel even more out of place in his ancestral land as he does at home, but then he meets a boy who helps him fit in and find lots to love in his new experience, including a more confident version of himself.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    4. Hope is Our Only Wing by Rutendo Tavengerwei (2019)


    When Shamiso's journalist father is killed in an accident, she and her mother move back to Zimbabwe. It would be a culture shock for Shamiso under any circumstances, having grown up in London, but 2008 is an especially difficult time, between the political upheaval and the massive economic downturn. She doesn't fit in, she's still grieving her father, and the one friend she does make is suffering too, diagnosed with cancer. Everything seems hopeless — at least until Shamiso finds a lifeline to the truth that may not ease her pain, but will help her make more sense of it.

    To extend your trip around Africa through both past and future, check out Dream Country by Shannon Gibney, partially set in 19th century Liberia; When the Ground Is Hard by Malla Nunn, set in 1960s Swaziland; Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn, set in 2011 Egypt, and Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi, set in 2014 and 2172 Nigeria, respectively.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    5. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen (2020)

    HarperTeen / Via, Olga Pichkova / Via

    If summer in Taiwan sounds like an ideal vacation, check out Wen's debut about a girl named Ever whose parents send her to its capital to study Mandarin. There, Ever finds an experience that definitely isn't the serious education her parents had in mind, but is a whole lot more fun — if also a whole lot more drama.

    For more glimpses into Taiwan, check out Cindy Pon's sci-fi Want and Emily X.R. Pan's The Astonishing Color of After.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    6. The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse (2019)

    Hachette Book Group / Via, Via

    What better way to enjoy Europe than on a dream trip with your best friends, experiencing tons of beautiful sites and the awesomeness of cross-continent train travel? Well, if that trip is complicated by secret feelings, betrayal, miscommunication, and more, it might get a little less fun (for the characters, not the readers, obviously). Still, Audrey, Rae, Clara, Jonah, and Gabriel have one last summer to untangle their hearts before they part for good, and with cities like Prague and Paris as their backdrops, how can they not enjoy the journey?

    For more fun, romantic picks full of European travel, try Wanderlost by Jen Malone, Points of Departure by Emily O'Beirne, or Just One Day by Gayle Forman!

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    7. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali (2019)

    Salaam Reads / Via, Andrea Stenson / Via

    Get a sweet romance and a trip to the Middle East in this sophomore novel about two Muslim teens who meet when they both travel to Doha, Qatar, for very different reasons. When Zayneb clashes with an Islamophobic teacher at school, she heads out early to spring break at her aunt's, and the last thing she expects is to meet a cute boy. But then there's Adam, sweet and charming and grappling not only with his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis — but also how to break it to his family. It feels like a miracle to both of them to have met among all their messiness, but can they keep it going once spring break ends and they have to leave the magic of Doha behind them?

    To continue around the Arabian peninsula, check out A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena and Driving by Starlight by Anat Deracine, both of which are set in Saudi Arabia.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    8. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (2016)

    Simon & Schuster / Via, Maggie Herbst/Echo Photography / Via

    A summer in Italy might be a dream for most people, but not Lina — not when she's there to get to know her deadbeat dad as a result of her mother's dying wish. But using her mother's old journal from her time in Italy as a guidebook, Lina learns to fall in love with the beautiful Tuscan countryside... and, okay, a little bit with a new guy, too.

    For more European adventures by the same author, check out the Ireland-set Love & Luck, and the upcoming Love & Olives, which takes place in Santorini. If you want to spend a little more time in Italy, check out Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    9. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite (2019)

    Inkyard Press / Via,

    Alaine gets an unexpected education when her presentation goes awry and she's sent to Haiti for two months, where she'll be living with both her aunt and the mom she rarely gets to spend time with. It's an opportunity to learn as much as she can about her culture and history, as well as the country's past and present. But when she finds there's also more to be learned about her own family, she realizes she might get a bigger lesson than she can handle.

    To continue sailing around the Caribbean, try A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry, set in Puerto Rico, and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, set partially in the Dominican Republic.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    10. Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas (2020)

    Via, Kenzi Tainow Photography / Via

    Hungry for delicious food and travel? Look no further than Cuevas's tasty debut about a girl named Isabella who's in for the experience of a lifetime when she moves in with her father and stepmother in Lyon, France, and becomes an apprentice to a famous chef. (And yes, there is a sweet and spicy romance, too!)

    For even more culinary adventures set in Western Europe, treat yourself to With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, set partially in Barcelona, or Love À La Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm, set in Paris.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    11. Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha (2020)


    Step into Brazilian life with this debut novel about three boys living in Rio de Janeiro, each grappling with HIV in a different way. For Ian, it's a new diagnosis. For Victor, it's a the relief of a negative test result combined with an uncertainty about how to proceed in a relationship with the boyfriend who never told him he was positive. And for Henrique, it's been a fact of life for years now, and one that may have lost him the guy he loves — even as it gains him a new friend.

    For more YA set in Brazil, keep an eye on the forthcoming Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins. You can also hop on over to Argentina with Yamile Saied Mendes's upcoming Furia.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    12. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (2019)

    Penguin, Stefania Curto / Via

    This massively critically acclaimed contemporary takes readers into the Philippines under President Duterte's regime, where Filipino America Jay has just traveled following the murder of his cousin amidst Duterte's war on drugs. With no one willing to tell him the truth about the killing, Jay goes on his own journey, reconnecting with his culture, his family, and his past.

    For more glimpses into Southeast Asia, try Agay Llanera's Another Word for Happy or Hanna Alkaf's The Weight of Our Sky, set during the 1969 race riots in Malaysia.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    13. Wildlife by Fiona Wood (2014)


    When a group of teens signs on for a term at an outdoor education camp in the Australian wilderness, they have no idea what truly lies ahead. Between dealing with old friendships, new romances, lingering grief, and more, they'll have to figure out how best to move forward, who they want at their sides for the journey, and what it really means to survive out there.

    For more YA set in various parts of Australia, check out Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Stolen by Lucy Christopher, or A Story of Now by Emily O'Beirne!

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    14. Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins (2019)

    Macmillan, Bethany Carnes / Via

    Robin and Kat are both struggling with life at present, but things get put into perspective when they meet on a service trip to Kolkata that has them working with human trafficking survivors. As they spend time side by side, bonding with both each other and those they meet through their service, they manage to find some healing in the life-changing friendship that forms between them.

    Continue the trip around South Asia with A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman, also set in India; Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed and The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan, both set in Pakistan; and The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi, set in Afghanistan.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    15. Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy (2018)

    Sourcebooks / Via, Via

    Iris isn't the massive fan of her grandmother's fantasy series the rest of the world seems to be, but when the film adaptation starts production in Ireland, you can bet she's along for the ride. Not that Iris is interested in there being a movie adaptation — what she wants is to get it all shut down so she can stop dealing with all the fans and frenzy. But between the gorgeous setting, the gorgeous star, and the infectious enthusiasm of the crew, Iris realizes she just might be falling for the hype.

    Can't get enough luck o' the Irish? Check out There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones, The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth, and The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.