Just because summer is over doesn’t mean vacation is! These books will take you to beautiful places as you relax in the comfort of your own home. No need to spend time on long plane flights. Just open a book and read away...
Young Adult Book Recommendations
Travel to: South Korean ~ A Kdrama turned into a book: XOXO by Axie Oh
Cello prodigy Jenny's goal is to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets Jaewoo in her uncle's Los Angeles karaoke bar, it's clear he is the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. In a moment of spontaneity she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure-- before he disappears without a word. Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she is shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she's enrolled for the semester. He is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world-- and he is strictly forbidden from dating. Just how much is Jenny willing to risk for love?
Travel to: Tuscany, Italy ~ Came for Gelato and left with Love: Love & Gelato by Jeanna Evans Welch
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn't in the mood for Italy's famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She's only there because it was her mother's dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn't around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home. But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina's uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother's footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It's a secret that will change everything Lina knew about her mother, her father -- and even herself. People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
Travel to: Antarctica ~ "Follow the sun and you’ll always be where you’re meant to be." : Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo
Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything or anyone get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to. Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station... in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.
Destination: Doha, Qatar ~ A marvel and oddity collides: Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s.
Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.
Adult Book Recommendations
Travel to: The area between Life & Death ~ "“You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.” : The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets? In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
Destination: A small Pacific Northwest beach town ~ Exiled but make it trendy: It Happened one Summer by Tessa Bailey
Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar... in Washington.
Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.
Destination: Tuscany, Italy ~ A love that spans generations: The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman
When the fiercely independent and mysterious Paulina "Poppy" Fontana invites her great-nieces and fellow second-born daughters, Emilia and Lucy, to visit her birthplace of Italy, she makes a wild declaration. On her eightieth birthday, Poppy claims she'll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral and put an end to the Fontana Family Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.
The Fontana Second-Daughter Curse is probably nothing but a coincidence, a self-fulfilling prophecy, an old-world myth. Even so, nobody can deny that for centuries, not a single second-born daughter in the Fontana family has married. But twenty-nine year-old Emilia actually appreciates the curse--some may even say she hides behind it. What might happen if the supposed curse is actually broken, and she's expected to find love? Reluctantly, the trio of second-born daughters embark on a journey to fulfill Poppy's last wish. Against a backdrop of lush Italian countryside and rich landmarks, Poppy shares family secrets and tales of forbidden love that threaten to upend every belief her young nieces have held to be true.
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
Destination: Hawaii ~ It's not their honeymoon but it's a free trip: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs. Will Olive and Ethan survive pretending to be a newlywed couple? Or will playing pretend backfire on them?
This blog was written by Kathy P. and first appeared August 2021.