For those of y’all who have never seen this before, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. If you’re a newbie blogger, it’s a really fun one to participate in! It’s a great way to show off your top ten picks for covers, recommendations, and other attributes.
This week’s prompt was “Top Ten Books I’d Recommend for X Person”. My choice was for the traveler. I want to travel so much when I’m older – reading about Prague and South America and France only sparks my wanderlust to go there. In my elementary school library, they used to have all these quotes about how reading is the only way to travel the world without leaving your room.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss
From the romantic depictions of Brazil to the nitty-gritty details of cracked airplane seats and blurred maps, all of my choices below really transported me to another place. Some dealt with the beauty and others with the language; some had romance and others had intense plots dealing with worldwide adventures.
1. Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard
This one is perhaps one of the most talked about books on the list. Filled with lovely drawings, a protagonist who undergoes a stunning transformation, and a down-to-earth depiction of backpacking in South America, this is definitely one that I fell in love with. I’d never thought of backpacking before I read this one but this definitely made me want to go. It’s impulsive and engrossing, with an emotional romance and some lovely descriptions.
2. Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Small Damages is beautiful. It’s sparse and poetic, with fragments of Spanish and gorgeous descriptions of the culture. When Kenzie finds herself pregnant, her mother sends her to Spain where she’ll work at as a cook’s assistant and deal with the inevitable adoption of her baby. Even more than her struggle as a pregnant teenager in a foreign country, she has to deal with the loss of her father. Kenzie had this soft acceptance of her life changing without having any say over it, but gradually grew into herself with more time in Spain and the experiences that she went through.
3. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
North of Beautiful primarily dealt with Terra and her character. She’s never seen herself as beautiful – with the grotesque birthmark on her cheek and the verbal abuse of her father, she finds it hard to find herself when her family isn’t even together. She goes through so much trying to find her voice, but through a quirky boy and a transcending trip to China, she slowly discovers the true meaning of beauty. It’s lovely, different, and has some interesting plot points, geocaching being one of them.
4. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
I recently read a poem about how everything is just well-timed accidents and I immediately thought of this book. While Allyson’s journey around Europe starts with a boy, it ends with disaster that leaves her trying to pick of the pieces of who she is versus who she wants to be. This book is passionate, romantic, elegant, but also sad in a way that makes you wonder if it’s possible to find yourself without losing yourself. This book shows more of the backroads of Europe – little landmarks that you wouldn’t normally see – written in a gorgeous prose that makes it completely captivating. This is definitely one that keeps me thinking.
5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This book is adorable. It’s hilarious, and romantic, and well-written. Anna ends up in Paris for her senior year thanks to her jerk of a dad who spends more time writing crappy romance stories than interacting with his daughter. But thanks to a witty cast of friends and a charming boy who quickly captures her attention, the year promises to something spectacular. Anna’s a funny girl so her commentary as she navigates the streets of Paris is hilarious but the hands-down best part of the book is the relationship between St. Clair and Anna.
6. When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
When You Were Here follows Danny, a sarcastic just-out-of-high-school boy still grieving over the death of his mother from cancer. When he receives a letter from the landlord of her Tokyo apartment, he decides to follow it. So with only a raw voice and emotional wit for company, he heads to China, both to connect with his mother’s memory and to find the pieces of himself that he lost with her. I loved this read – it’s sharp and sweet and did a really great job of exploring some parts of China that were really interesting to read about. I highly recommend!
7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The main focus of this book was not remotely the setting but it might as well have been another character. Lavish details, elaborate mythology, and fascinating characters only enhanced the fantastic descriptions of settings. Karou is currently living in Prague at the time of the book but her travels take her everywhere which were my favorite parts to read. It’s lush and dramatic, emotional and bursting with action. If you’re a fan of paranormal and fantastical creatures, this is a really wonderful read that will definitely absorb you into its world.
8. Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
This book is not so much about the travel but about the wanderlust. Anna actually had a map on the wall of her room detailing all the places that she would love to go. Luckily, with the help of a boy from 2012 San Francisco, that’s possible. Not only does this book delve into the fun of different places, but it also deals with a difficult romance and sweet relationships. First off, I really got to see Anna’s penchant and longing to travel – Tamara Ireland Stone did a fantastic job with the emotions behind her wanderlust. Secondly, it wasn’t just travel to different countries, but there was a fresh time travel element to it that was really nice to read.
9. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
This is my absolute favorite book. I have never read another book that made me feel the way that Revolution did. It’s dramatic and heartwrenching. The level of detail that goes into the French, music DNA theory, complexity of the characters – it’s almost impossibly intricate but startlingly real. This is the book that’s made me cry more than any other. The characters and the history layered behind each word are just phenomenal. Andi and Alexandrine are characters that I will never forget. It has so many different elements – history transcending time and characters dealing with raw grief and the impossibility of circumstances – yet they all work together perfectly. This book is one that I can never do justice to with words. France, the French Revolution…definitely one that will make you forget everything about yourself while you read.
10. Die for Me by Amy Plum
What’s fun about this one is that the setting doesn’t overpower the plot. When Kate’s parents die, she’s sent to Paris to live with her grandparents and soon stumbles upon a surprising underbelly of the city – one with revenants and sword fights and swoonworthy boys named Vincent. I love this book – it’s a really great paranormal with lovely allusions to Paris. It has drama, a well-built backstory, and a ton of romance. This is definitely one for the romantics. If you want an decadent paranormal romance set in another place, this is a great choice.
11. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
I’m more the type of person who wants to read about other countries. Interested in one closer to home? This is a great one – when Amy’s father dies and their family uproots, Amy’s drafted on a road trip with Roger, her mother’s friend’s son. Amy immediately writes it off, but soon ends up on an adventurous detour where she starts to put herself back together again. This is one of my favorite road trip reads; it’s a sad portrayal of grief after the death of a loved one but also a celebration of life, of budding romance, of all the time we have but don’t take advantage of. It’s filled with risks and little extras like photos, playlists, postcards that only add to the overall effect of the book. I absolutely loved everything about this.
What books do y’all read when you have wanderlust?