Planes are great, but I love traveling by car. The scenic views, the spacious privacy, and the ability to stop and actually see the places you are traveling through- these aspects make me always down for a little getaway. But then again, there’s the long, potentially boring hours of highway road, fighting for the aux cord, and the horrid, yet seemingly inevitable, leg cramps. So what if you could experience a road trip without having to leave the house? Thanks to reading, you can! There are tons of books out there that will leave you feeling like you just went on a big city adventure. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready because there are some great book recommendations about 1 mile (or scroll) ahead.
New York City, New York
The Sun is Also a Star By Nicola Yoon
We’re going to start our (not entirely realistic) road trip in the Big Apple! Meet Daniel and Natasha. Daniel is prepping for his Yale interview and Natasha is trying to stop her family from being deported to Jamaica. That is until Natasha almost gets hit by a car, Daniel saves her, and the two of them meet. Over the course of one day, they will change each other’s lives. The novel takes place throughout NYC and has many references to some of the city’s iconic locations and features.
2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas By Marie-Helene Bertino
Our road trip journey will now take us to Philadelphia and one very special Christmas Eve. As our story begins, we meet nine-year-old Madeleine Altimari, an aspiring jazz singer. After a tough day at school, Madeline decides to search for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she hopes to make her on-stage debut. At the same time, Madeline’s fifth-grade teacher, Sarina, is nervously awaiting a dinner party that will reunite her with her high school crush. While all of this is taking place, the owner of The Cat’s Pajamas finds out that the club may have to close forever- unless they can quickly raise $30,000. As the three explore love, music, and the Philly streets their lives will be forever changed.
Eligible By Curtis Sittenfeld
As we drive into Ohio, we’ll find it may feel like we went back in time as well. Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible is a modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice that takes place in Cincinnati. Liz and Jane live in NYC, working as a magazine writer and yoga instructor, respectively. When their father has a health scare, they return to Cincinnati and find their home in shambles, compared to what it used to be at least. Mrs. Bennet is focused on how to marry off her daughters when Chip Bingley arrives in town. Chip is a doctor who recently appeared on the reality TV dating show ‘Eligible’. Chip brings his friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, to a BBQ, and…well you know the rest.
The Art Of Secrets By James Klise
Welcome to Chicago, Illinois! Here you may run into the Khan family, who are rebuilding their lives after a mysterious fire that burned down their apartment. To support the family, Saba Khan’s classmates plan a fundraiser. But when an art collection, rumored to be painted by a famous artist, goes missing, questions begin to circulate. Who started the fire? Should the family really get all this money? What happened to the art? Through interviews, emails, journal entries, and more the full picture of the events is uncovered. With tons of Chicago references, this book will have you saying whodunit in the windy city.
Sabrina & Corina By Kali Fajardo-Anstine
We now move into Colorado! This collection of stories takes a look at the indigenous ancestry of its characters and the land they inhabit. It is a look at the harsh realities for many women in this mountainous region. Gentrification, violence against women, and land disputes are a few of the topics this book tackles. This debut story collection is a haunting look at a city that is often only noted for its mile-high land and pretty views.
Los Angeles, California
Little and Lion By Brandy Colbert
Our road trip wouldn’t be complete without a meaningful pitstop in the city of angels. Here we find Suzette: a 16-year-old bisexual black Jew that has just returned to LA for the summer after a year at boarding school. While Suzette is home, she must confront how she has been affected by her brother’s diagnosis with bipolar disorder, the homophobia she endured at school, and the fact that she and her brother have a crush on the same girl. With a diverse cast of characters and an intriguing plot, Colbert conveys misconceptions about mental illness and intersectionality.
San Francisco, California
At the Edge of the Haight By Katherine Seligman
Drive about 6 hours north and you’ll find yourself at our next destination. At the Edge of the Haight follows Madlynne Donaldo, a 20-year-old homeless woman living with friends in Golden Gate State Park. She knows where to be and what to do to survive. When she witnesses a murder and is seen by the perpetrator, she is thrust into conversations with everyone from the police to the victim’s parents. Through this experience, Maddy must decide whether or not she will reunite with her own family or continue her free lifestyle.
Today, Tonight, Tomorrow By Rachel Lynn Solomon
Last but not least – It’s time to rustle through your bags for an umbrella folks, we’re heading to Seattle. Enemies-to-lovers is not the most unique trope, but when mixed with a high school setting, an intense competition- it’s sure to be an interesting story. Today, Tonight, Tomorrow follows Rowan Roth and Neil McNair, high school rivals that begin to spend more time together during a senior class scavenger hunt throughout Seattle. Once they finally get to talking, they realize they have a lot in common. With the scavenger hunt element, it’s almost inevitable that this novel will have you feeling like a Seattle traveler in no time.
I hope you enjoyed this stay-at-home road trip adventure! Which place will you choose to visit from the comfort of your own home?
For audiobooks that are perfect for a road trip, click here!