I love traveling. Unfortunately, I am on a bit of a budget and have limited vacation days. Oh, and yeah, I’m trying to save enough money to purchase a pooch of my own. So, that’s why I’m not planning any Parisian vacation anytime soon. That doesn’t mean, I have to abandon my traveling dreams though. I can always read you know…
Or binge watch Rick Steves which I actually do a lot.
You’ll notice in this post that most of the books I’ve listed are limited to Europe. I’d like to do future posts where I feature books from other regions of the world. The problem is, when I was thinking about this post I realized how limited the genre is on books that don’t take place in the Western world. While there are a fair share of books that take place in Asia, which I’ll discuss in a later post, finding books that took place in Africa or Latin and South America is more. Which is a shame because those regions of the world have a lot to offer.
This makes me realize how much the We Need Diverse Books campaign needs to expand. Because while having diverse characters is important. It’s also important to showcase different cultures and locations as well.
The British Isles:
Everyone and their mother is familiar with the UK. If you’re an English major, you’re probably an anglophile by nature. And why wouldn’t you be. There are so many characters that have their origins in British literature. YA does a fair job with this culture past and present. Here’s a few of my picks.
Yeah, I know it’s technically New Adult/Adult, but this one takes a part of British culture that anglophiles go gaga over-the royalty. I don’t know what it is about the British monarchy that sets it apart from all other monarchies, but somehow they’re the prince and princesses that everyone remembers. Besides from having a Kate Middleton fantasy, the book also does a fair job portraying how modern UK life is.
Want a book about a contemporary British teen, look no further. There’ s lots and lots of British awkwardness with this one. And bonus points for it, it has travel in it.
Harry Potter is often someone’s first taste of British literature. And yes, I’m calling Harry Potter literature because you so know people are going to read and enjoy it years from now while they’ll be wondering if Fifty Shades of Gray was the most expensive toilet paper known to man kind. Young readers get exposed to words such as snog and mum. Of course, the US version is dumbed down on the British lingo. But it’s still nice to say bloody and have your parents not realize it’s a curse word.
France is actually a country I’d like to see exploited more in YA. There are a few books that take place in this wonderful country, but a lot of them are limited to Paris. So, I sort of cheated on here by putting one New Adult/Adult book on here. I list it as a New Adult/Adult because it’s really a New Adult book written before New Adult was actually a genre.
Another obvious one. But this book really does a great job exploring the city that is Paris. Even if Anna and St. Clair drive you bonkers, you’ll fall in love with the city. And in the end, I think that’s what made this book so awesome the use of setting. And macaroons of course too.
There’s actually a lot of traveling in this book. However, I put it on this lists because of the French section in the novel. I liked that Cabot focused on rural France rather than Paris. Because Paris is great and all, but there’s other parts of the country too.
While the part of France that this book takes place in, technically isn’t yet France. It’s nice to see Northern France get a chance to shine a bit. Especially a region of France that normally doesn’t get that much attention.
With a country with such a rich history, culture, and with food that has created half a dozen bad American chains this is a country that everything and anything can happen. And of course, there are quite a few books set here because of this.
While not a lot of this book actually takes place in Italy, there are some nice scenes in Florence that give you a Roman Holiday feel except not in Rome.
Touristy. That’ s how I would describe this book. Very touristy. If you want what you stereotypically think of as Italian-gelato, vespas, and suave men this is your book.
I just noticed that all of these Italy themed books have Vespas on their covers. What’s up with that? And that girl’s almost dressed exactly the same as the girl on Love, Lucy. Heck, it might be the same cover but slightly altered. Whatever. This is another one of that features a tourist coming to Italy for school. I remember being mildly intrigued with this one, but not enough where I read the sequel. But it did have vespas in it. And art.
If you’re looking for a World War II historical, finding a book that takes place in Germany is very easy. I couldn’t really find anything in modern Germany though. Which is a shame, because the country and area is really fascinating. I sort of want there to be a Cold World era thriller that takes place in East and West Germany with dual protagonists. That book would be awesome. Of course, I haven’t found one yet. Just books about Hitler and how he ruined a country. Which I enjoy reading about because I think it’s important to know what a horrible dick Hitler was, I just wish that other areas of the country’s rich history and culture were explored more.
Yes, it takes place pre-World War II and Hitler has a starring role as the sadistic bastard that he is. But it is a good book and you really do experience Germany in that time period. Again, I love all the World War II oriented German themed stories, but sometimes I just wish I could find a book in Germany that didn’t have Hitler or Nazis in it.
Not a lot. Unfortunately. I love this region though. There is rich culture, history, and the region is just so diverse. There are parts of Spain that have its own language and are almost separate from the rest of the country as well.
There are some lovely scenes in Barcelona in this book. Unfortunately, they don’t make up the bulk of the book. But the time spent in Barcelona, was probably the best part of the book.
I’m not usually a fan of teen pregnancy in YA, but this one takes place in Southern Spain. Specifically Seville. Which is gorgeous, so I might have to pick it up.
Like Italy, there’s a fair amount of books that take place in Greece. Again, this might be because there’s a fair amount of Greek myth retellings. But I also think that there’s this romantic feeling of stepping back in time with Greece. Plus, it makes for a pretty book cover.
There’s a large arc of this series that takes place on and off in Greece and there are some really romantic moments that take place in the country.
A boarding school for the descendants of the gods that takes place in Greece. Sweet. Honestly though, the Greece setting is not used as much as it should. The kids at the school speak perfect English and other than a couple of Greek pastries this book might as well be taking place in California or wherever.
This one is being pitched as an Anna and the French Kiss in Greece. If that’s the case I’m going to eat this one up. Because Greece is one country I want to explore.
I was surprised to find that I was able to find a fair amount of Russia set YA books. I didn’t think I would, but there seem to be a fair amount of books set in this area which is good because it’s such a fascinating place.
Set during the Russian Revolution, there’s some magical realism thrown in here for good measure. It didn’t, however, feature near enough Romanovs.
I haven’t read this one, but Cold War era USSR. Let’s just hope that Putin is not the hero in this novel. I mean, it could happen in the era it takes place in he’d be about the right age and we know he loves to take his shirt off.
That’s it for this time. The next one of these posts I do, I hope I’ll be able to do one on Asia. There’s a fair amount of books that take place there and I’m hoping that with input and some research I’ll be able to find books that take place all over the world.