Holly Bourne’s ‘Normal’ series continued this year with ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ which she explains here was always supposed to be a roadtrip novel.
This list takes a detour through America and fantasy-lands before coming back round to the UK. Read on, bookish beans! Read on!
What is it, about young people getting into cars, that makes for such a good story? I LOVE road trip books – the romance of the open road, the ‘journey’ metaphors, how close confinement usually leads to people getting it on.
‘How Hard Can Love Be?‘ was always supposed to be a road trip novel. However, as I was writing it, I found Kyle and Amber just kept Not Getting Into The Car. Their journey as characters totally deviated and detoured and the end-point became very, very different from what it was when I set out…kind of like the best kind of road trips.
Here are my top 5 favourite road trip YA books. NOTE: Because of legal driving ages, a lot of these books are American.
1. ‘Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour’ by Morgan Matson
How do you drive across America when you’re too scared to get behind the wheel of a car? You get a hunky HUNK to drive for you. On first glance, this book may look like just your run-of-the-mill romance, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about grief, it’s about letting go, it’s about letting cuts fade into scars. The fact the book is littered with photos and receipts and other nicknacks Amy and Roger pick up along the way, makes it even more cute and compelling.
2. ‘The Sleeping Prince’ by Melinda Salisbury
You don’t always need a tank of gas and a pair of converse sneakers to go on a road trip. In Eriin’s case all you need is a stolen horse, some blackmail, and an entire kingdom to save. Mel’s heroine is kick-ass and this a turbo-charged fantasy of epic proportions. The road trip in this is so grand, it even has a map! I also love the quiet political statements Mel makes about the current refugee crisis, and the hypocritic brutality evoked by war.
3. ‘Paper Towns’ by John Green
On the list mainly for the great scene where Ben keeps needing to pee.
4. ‘Vivian Versus The Apocalypse’ by Katie Coyle
This is a gem of a book, with a great lead and brilliant cast of diverse characters… on a road trip through post-Apocalyptic America. It’s scary yet funny. With political bite.
5. ‘The Last Summer of Us’ by Maggie Harcourt
It’s a Welsh road trip!! I guess the thing that struck me most about the book was it made me feel 18 again. It brought back that summer before university where all my friends and I were in utter denial about the fact our lives were about to change forever. And how we used to drive aimlessly around places, still excited by one of us having a car. Maggie’s writing just transported me right back there – on the cusp of everything, feeling sad, scared and excited in equal measures.
Which is your favourite roadtrip book? Tweet us @maximumpopbooks
You can get your own copy of ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ right here, right now.
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