(in which I cheat and use books that aren’t YA at all…!)
A fantastic blogger, theorangutanlibrarian, tagged me to do this one many moons ago (November – I know, I know, I am shameful!) and I am finally rising to the challenge! Before you read on, please go check out her blog, because her reviews are excellent, and her blog is one of my favourites!
The rules of this tag are to choose a selection of countries, and pick your favourite YA book set in each country.
I had a mosey around my bookshelves and concluded that my YA library was pitifully undiverse (is that a word? My laptop doesn’t seem to think so!), so I’ve decided to break the rules (naughty) and complete this tag using a mixture of books, some YA, but mostly not, so I can imaginarily (apparently that one IS a word) travel to further flung corners of the globe!
So, without further ado, I’m off on an adventure. First stop…. India!
Gif source: Giphy
India: The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter
If you’re looking for a total escape read, this book is a good place to start.
Recently heartbroken Ruby takes a spontaneous trip to visit her sister in India, but when she arrives, Ruby finds her sister has run off to marry her yoga instructor, a man she’s known for all of five minutes! Desperate to stop her sister making a big mistake and getting her heart broken too, Ruby sets off across India to track her down and stop the wedding, with the help of a crotchety but handsome American man she meets on the train.
We get to travel all over India in this novel, and it’s portrayed with so much vibrancy and colour that the descriptions will make you want to drop everything and run away this minute!
Nepal: The Lie by C.L. Taylor
This is a fantastic, twisty novel about a group of women who go travelling in Nepal.
They arrange to spend several weeks at a remote retreat up in the Himalayan mountains, run by a charismatic man named Isaac they can’t help but be instantly charmed by on arrival. Everything seems blissfully idyllic for the first few days, but Emma, the protagonist, quickly starts to realise something isn’t right about the place, and that Isaac may not be as perfect as he seems…
The way the tension and creepiness builds in this novel made it unputdownable, and the location descriptions were breathtaking.
Romania: Follow You Home by Mark Edwards
Another creepy book on my list: this is the story of a couple who, whilst travelling in Eastern Europe, have their passports stolen, and are thrown off their train by the Romanian Authorities in the middle of the night. They plan to walk through the forest until they reach the nearest town, but something happens that night in the woods that leaves them utterly traumatised; when they return to London, they refuse to ever speak of the incident again.
What happened to leave them both so afraid? This novel will keep you guessing (and up all night!)
Turkey: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
This book takes you on an adventure through a number of different countries including France, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, but the place painted most vividly in my mind was Turkey.
The story follows a young woman who finds a curious book in her father’s library, containing no words, but simply a woodcut emblem of a dragon at the centre. We soon discover that the book (which mysteriously made its way into her father’s possession one late night at the library) has a connection to Vlad the Impaler (also known as Dracula) and that her father is not the first person to have discovered such a book!
All of the characters who come across these rather menacing books seem to become fixated by the idea of finding out more about Dracula, and one by one, their research leads them off to Instanbul, and all over Europe, in pursuit of the man himself, whom they are convinced is still alive… in some sense of the word! But as each character takes this journey, somebody is following in their footsteps, and it seems the deeper they become embroiled in Dracula’s story, the greater the threat posed to the people they care about most…
This book was atmospheric and sinister throughout. My only criticism is that it dragged in places and could benefit from some serious pruning down – it took me almost a month to read! Kinda like this super-long summary, you’re probably thinking!
Canada: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
I read this book a long time ago, but I remember absolutely adoring it.
The novel takes place in 19th Century Canada: in a small town called Dove River, a man is found murdered in his home, and a 17-year-old boy becomes the number one suspect when he disappears shortly after the body is found. His mother refuses to believe her son is a murderer and, determined to prove his innocence, sets off across the harsh snowy landscape of the tundra to find him and bring him home.
I enjoyed the murder mystery aspect of this book, and the descriptions of the tundra are stunning. It’s also an emotional read, so be prepared to blub your eyes out at the ending!
Morocco: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor
I had to include at least one YA book on this list, and this seemed like the perfect choice because technically it’s three 😉
Most people remember the Czech Republic when they think of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, because the first book opens in Prague and brings it so magically to life, but for me, the sections of the series set in Morocco spring to mind. Laini Taylor conjures the chaos and liveliness of the market towns, full of chattering and bartering, perfectly, and she is one of the few authors who truly makes me feel I am right there in the middle of it all.
As this is a trilogy, attempting to summarise it will probably result in an essay, but if you haven’t read these books, check them out here!
I tag the following people:
*** But there’s no obligation to do this tag if you’re busy, or have already done it, or just don’t want to! 🙂 ***
Annelise @ Anneliselestrange
Codie @ Reader’s Anonymous
Tanaz @ Bookish Freaks
Laura @ Lala’s Book Reviews
Ellie @ Belle Infini
Ariana @ The Quirky Book Nerd
Have you read any of these books? What are your favourite books set in other countries?