5 Idaho-Based Novels to Transport You to the Potato State

Idaho can be the perfect setting for all kinds of books. From their beautiful landscapes to hidden secrets, explore the wonders with these five novels.

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Need a new point of view when reading a novel? Here we have five books that are based in Idaho. To commemorate Idaho Civil Rights Day, please give these novels a try.

1. Idaho – Emily Ruskovich

Books based in Idaho. 'Idaho' book cover with white and yellow flowers all over it.
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One day in the hot summer of August, a family drives to a mountain to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of cutting off any small limbs of logs. Wade, the father, stacks all the wooden pieces. Their daughters June (9 years old) and May (6 years old) drink lemonade, swat at horseflies, sing songs, and bicker. But something shocking happens which scatters the family in different directions. This novel is set from multiple points of view. With sharp prose, we learn more about the violence, love, and memory that follows this family.

2. Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson

Books based in Idaho. 'Housekeeping' book cover with a rocking chair surrounded by trees.
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A modern classic, a story of loss and struggling through adulthood. An illuminating tale that expresses overcoming loss and survival.

Ruth and her young sister Lucille grew up haphazardly. First, under her grandmother’s care, then their great aunts, then Sylvie their eccentric remote aunt. Their family house is in the Far West Town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake. This is where their grandfather died from a train wreck and their mother jumped off a cliff. These kids must go through adulthood to process their grief.

3. What Beauty There Is – Cory Anderson

Books based in Idaho. 'What Beauty There Is' book cover with a man and a woman wearing coats.
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Jack Morton only has his younger brother Matty who he’d do anything for. He may even die for him. With their mother now gone, their funds are low and Jack needs to choose: lose his brother to foster care or find the drug money that sent his father to jail. He decides on the money.

Ava Bardem is isolated with only silence to greet her. For seventeen years her father has controlled her. He has taught her to hide her heart and trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money that Jack is trying to find. When he starts to pick up Jack’s trial, Ava must make her own choice: stay silent or help the brothers survive.

4. The Dead Enders – Erin Saldin

Books based in Idaho. 'The Dead Enders' book cover with a group of teens around a house.
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GoldFork is a place where secrets are truly yours to keep. Ana, Erik, Davis, and Georgie know a thing or two about secrets. An intense secret bounds them together; an accident from the past that forges their years of friendship. Years ago in a youth group led by Davis’s pastor mother. They may not agree on much, but they all know what it’s like to be trapped, fated to be in this tourist town for the rest of their lives. Each has a plan to escape, but it’s not easy. When an arsonist is working his way through the town, setting it ablaze, will they be able to escape and stop him?

5. All Over Creation – Ruth Ozeki

Books based in Idaho. 'All Over Creation' book cover with a woman looking over a circle with a shovel and a plant growing from it.
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Warm, witty, agribusiness, and environmental activism are some of the key themes in this novel. Yumi Feller hasn’t set foot in her potato-farming hometown Liberty Falls, Idaho in 25 years. She ran away at the age of 15 and now returns to confront her dying parents, best friend, and conflicting past. But now, she is caught in a new drama: post Millenial farm community is being invaded by agribusiness forces, Seed of Resistance. With the quirky characters, humor, and political resistance, this shows the beauty in the seeds and roots that makes us grow within.


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