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Teen News & Updates

YA Fiction for Armchair Travelers

February 18, 2017
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Are you longing for a change of pace? A reprieve from Maine’s snowy landscape? Lose yourself in one of these novels set in foreign lands….

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (2010)
France
An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy–Louis Charles, the lost king of France.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (2013)
France
Sparks fly when American good girl Allyson encounters laid-back Dutch actor Willem, so she follows him on a whirlwind trip to Paris, upending her life in just one day and prompting a year of self-discovery and the search for true love.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)
Afganistan
Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant’s son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill (2012)
England
During an educational trip to London, away from her friends and the boy she thinks she is fated to love, Massachussets high school junior Julia Lichtenstein is paired with her nemesis, Jason, and begins seeing many things differently.

Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll (2005)
China
The posthumous papers of Rebecca MacKenzie document her adventures, along with her brother Doug, in 1920s China as the teenaged siblings are sent to live aboard their uncle’s ship where they become involved in the dangerous activities of a mysterious secret society called the Honourable Guild of Specialists.

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet (2011)
England
In 1960s Norfolk, England, seventeen-year-old Clem Ackroyd lives with his mother and grandmother in a tiny cottage, but his life is transformed when he falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy farmer in this tale that flashes back through the stories of three generations.

In Darkness by Nick Lake (2012)
Haiti
In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, fifteen-year-old Shorty, a poor gang member from the slums of Site Soleil, is trapped in the rubble of a ruined hospital, and as he grows weaker he has visions and memories of his life of violence, his lost twin sister, and of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who liberated Haiti from French rule in 1804.

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (2004)
Australia
Three female students from Ashbury High write to three male students from rival Brookfield High as part of a pen pal program, leading to romance, humiliation, revenge plots, and war between the schools.

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai (2005)
Sri Lanka
Although life for fourteen-year-old Amrith in 1980 Sri Lanka seems rather uneventful and orderly, things change in a hurry when his male cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith finds himself completely enamored with his new visitor.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith (2012)
England
Seventeen-year-old Hadley’s father is getting remarried, and while Hadley is (much) less than thrilled about it, she’s traveling to England to be a part of his wedding. After missing her flight to London by just four minutes, Hadley gets rebooked on another flight…where she meets Oliver.

Sekret by Lindsay Smith (2014)
Russia
A group of psychic teenagers in 1960s Soviet Russia are forced to use their powers to spy for the KGB.

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan (2013)
Tanzania
A Tanzanian albino boy finds himself the ultimate outsider, hunted because of the color of his skin.

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (2015)
Ethiopia
Having moved to Ethiopia to avoid the prejudices of 1930s America, Emilia Menotti, her black adoptive brother Teo, and their mother Rhoda, a stunt pilot, are devoted to their new country even after war with Italy looms, drawing the teens into the conflict.

The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb (2009)
Russia
After 350 years as a Fetch, or death escort, Calder breaks his vows and enters the body of Rasputin, whose spirit causes rebellion in the Land of Lost Souls while Calder struggles to convey Ana and Alexis, orphaned in the Russian Revolution, to Heaven.

Wildlife by Fiona Wood (2014)
Australia
Two sixteen-year-old girls in Australia come together at an outdoor semester of school, before university–one thinking about boys and growing up, the other about death and grief, but somehow they must help each other to find themselves.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)
Germany
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

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