Summertime, fine.

IMG_0040Have you ever thought about taking a cross-country road trip?  Or even a less ambitious one that involves a couple of states?  If so, you and I have something in common.  Maybe it’s the appeal of the open road, or the idea that every aspect of the trip is your own implementation, from where you stop for bathroom breaks to how fast you speed down the interstate.  Or maybe the appeal is that a road trip is the most accurate manifestation of the saying “it’s not the destination so much as the journey“.  Whatever the reason, a road trip evokes a sense of freedom and camaraderie (if done with friends) or of self-discovery and meditation (if done solo).

Due to all these reasons, it shouldn’t surprise you that the theme of The Road Trip is evident in more than a few Young Adult books.  As a YA-genre-lover, I’ve read a few and I always found it enlightening.  Born to immigrant Asian parents, I would have never been able to go on one of these in my late teens, even early 20s.  So I always felt a tinge of jealousy towards these characters and attributed my inability to “find myself” with my inability to go on a cross-country road trip.  

Now that I’m in my late 20s (and no longer living under my parents’ roof!), my reasons have changed a bit.  It’s no longer because I want to feel liberated and hope to stumble upon some epiphany about myself.  Yes, there are the obvious reasons:  I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans.  It has been my dream to see Drew Brees play for the first time in the Superdome.  I want to prove to myself that I don’t need a significant other or friends to accomplish a personal dream.  It’s all that and more.

I have that itch.  That antsy feeling that comes with being done with school and not feeling particularly competitive in your career to move up.  And maybe it also has to do with being so close to 30, but I just have this gnawing feeling that I didn’t do enough.  I didn’t take enough risks.  I didn’t take a more proactive role into discovering myself.  So yeah, it’s not like I want a second shot at being that lost teen again, but I just want to feel like there is still more to discover.  I want to check out from my 9 to 5 for two weeks and just drive.  Visit new cities.  Eat new food.  Meet new people–not to network or welcome them to the neighborhood but because I’m just passing through.  I want to be that gust of wind that blows into town, soaks everything in, and leaves it a little bit wiser.

Suffice to say, I’ll be going on my first solitary road trip in September.  It’s not cross-country but it’s monumental enough for me to be a bit nervous and a whole lot excited.  7 states, 6 major cities, and the Saints 2015 home-opener.  Close to 3,000 miles in 2 weeks.

So of course, to commemorate this decision and to get me even more pumped in the next 4 months, here is a book list!  A few I’ve read before, others I intend to include in my Summer TBR, all are in my physical and electronic library, all with a road trip that changes the lives of the characters.  Read it along with me if you’d like, and maybe you’ll get the itch to hit the road too 🙂

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Status:
Have Not Read

Characters’ Route:
New York to North Carolina

Emma discovers something about her family and decides to venture to North Carolina to obtain perspective.  She asks Peter to accompany her and he says yes because he’s looking for something that the open road can provide: freedom.

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Status:
Have Not Read

Characters’ Route:
California to Connecticut

 

With her dad recently having passed away, Amy is uprooted from everything she deems familiar and is forced to move to Connecticut by her mother on her senior year of high school.  She decides to do a cross-country drive and is accompanied by Roger, a family friend she barely knows.

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Status:
Read and LOVED

Characters’ Route:
North Carolina to New Orleans to Texas

 

After realizing she doesn’t have much of a home in her hometown, Camryn musters up the courage to take a Greyhound to anywhere but her current location.  On the way, she meets Andrew who is as charming as he is mesmerizing and suddenly her plans are turned on its head.  (This book is NOT Young Adult, more like New Adult, for its sexually explicit scenes.)

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Status:
Read and LOVED

Characters’ Route:
Florida to New York

 

This book is probably the least road-trip-y than the rest but I included it because 1) it’s my favorite John Green book and 2) there is a road trip but the road trip is more the conclusion to the overall journey.  If you want a synopsis, check out the trailer.

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Status:
Have Not Read

Characters’ Route:
Pacific Northwest

 

The plan after high school has been set.  Colby will go with his best friend’s (Bev) band on tour all over the Pacific Northwest and then spend a year in Europe.  Until Bev decides to abandon the plan and start college in the fall instead.

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Status:
Read and it was all right

Character’s Route:
New Orleans to Alaska

 

On her way up to Alaska to see the Northern Lights, Leila comes across 4 other teens whose lives are changed forever by her mere appearance.  Although I didn’t LOVE this book, Let’s Get Lost is the book that really made me consider doing a solitary road trip.  So in that sense, this book, along with the movie Elizabethtown, are the 2 major instigators for my September trip.

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Status:
Have Not Read

Characters’ Route:
26 cities all over the US, starting in Nashville

 

Reagan’s best friend, Dee, is country music’s newest star and for the summer, Reagan is tagging along to Dee’s 26-city tour.  A story of friendship and love, these two best friends are about to experience a lifetime of memories together in one summer.

And just for fun, check out 1,000 Places to See Before You Die as a reference!

Read any of these books?  Have a personal favorite road trip-type novel?  Have you been on one of these life-altering trips?  Comment below!

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