According to a quote, every piece of great writing is either a journey or a stranger. Let’s not forget the great literature in which an animal goes on a voyage. — What about this? There is a component of it that I agree with. They are some of the best books ever written. There are so many things to learn about the characters and the world around them thanks to the environment. Characters that are out of their element become more vulnerable when they travel because of the unexpected issues that they encounter. Even if the best part of the journey is meeting new people, most road trip novels have a specific destination in mind.
There are certain books that I wanted to explore that weren’t as well-known, like On the Road or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I’ve taken a road trip through the world of literature, stopping at rest stations to read anything from historical romances to middle grade stories. It’s common for road-trip books to be considered American, but I wanted to disrupt that stereotype as well. The ultimate result of my trip is a really special vacation slideshow, to say the least.
IN THE FACE OF THE SUN BY DENNY S. BRYCE
A story with a parallel timeline and a road journey is right up my alley, so I’m looking forward to reading it. The setting of this novel shifts back and forth between 1968 and 1928 throughout the story. By fleeing her terrible marriage on Route 66, Aunt Daisy saves her pregnant niece, Frankie, from the clutches of her abusive husband. A young Daisy is shown in 1928 Hollywood as she pursues her journalism goals by writing for Black-owned newspapers. Readers interested in the history of African-American families will not want to miss this gripping tale.
HOW MOON FUENTEZ FELL IN LOVE WITH THE UNIVERSE BY RAQUEL VASQUEZ GILLILAND
What if a YA road trip romance novel took place on the bus of an influencer tour? Yes. Because of her renowned twin sister, Moon Fuentes decides to work as a summer merchandising assistant. Having to spend so much time with Santiago, her new antagonist, blossoms into something unexpected in this magically colored book.
THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF THE SHERGILL SISTERS BY BALLI KAUR JASWAL
This book explores the relationship between religious pilgrimage and road trips. The story takes place in India, and it follows the reunion of three sisters who had become estranged as adults. They are at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, fulfilling their mother’s final wish to have her final rites performed there. The three British-born ladies in this sad story manage the complications of tradition and modernity while providing them with unexpected moments of discovery that are both funny and heartbreaking..
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CRAZY HORSE BY JOSEPH M. MARSHALL III
It’s a sad fact that most American road trip novels fail to mention which country they’re actually traveling through. When Jimmy McClean’s grandfather tells him about his Lakota heritage, readers learn a lot about Native American history in this beautiful novel. Their journeys take them to places where Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse, lived and worked.
A WEEK TO BE WICKED BY TESSA DARE
This could be the romantic novel that I take with me on a desert island. From Spindle Cove to Scotland, Colin and Minerva take a romantic road trip while carrying Minerva’s fossil. Because even writing this brief synopsis has me convinced that it’s time to go back and reread the nerdy woman meets charming rake story. If you’ve never read the Spindle Cove series, this one is a great place to start.
ARE YOU LISTENING? BY TILLIE WALDEN
Graphic novels aren’t the only genre to feature road-trip literature. What’s going through your head? the story of Lou and Bea’s trek across West Texas, two women who are dealing with the effects of loss and tragedy. The presence of a cat on the journey adds a dash of magic to the story. This is an example of how a long, lonely trip can create possibilities for connection and genuine listening.
GETTING MOTHER’S BODY BY SUZAN-LORI PARKS
It’s one of my favorite things about a book when two characters with diametrically opposed viewpoints have equally compelling motivations. Upon receiving word that a supermarket will be built on the site where her mother’s corpse is currently resting, destitute and pregnant Billy Beede decides to take action. If Willa Mae Beede was buried with a fortune’s worth of gems, she needs to find out if that’s what happened or not. Willa’s beloved Dill Smiles, on the other hand, is determined to bury her forever. Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is reimagined here, with an emphasis on desire, need, and greed.
ALL MY MOTHER’S LOVERS BY ILANA MASAD
One of my favorite book themes is a character finding that he or she never really knew a person who was close to them on a road trip. As a result, All My Mother’s Lovers is a perfect fit for me. On behalf of her mother, Maggie distributes letters in person. Everything Maggie thought she knew about her family is turned on its head by the people who receive these letters. Grief, identity, and family are all examined in this poignant story.
THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES BY ROBERTO BOLAÑO
This novel’s road trip is depicted in a straightforward manner. For the search of a poet who has gone missing in the desert, Arturo Belano and Ulis Lima set out from Mexico City to find him. However, what begins as a straightforward mission develops into a much more intricate narrative that follows Belano and Lima two decades later. This work is a must-read if you’re looking for a thought-provoking read that will be with you for years to come.
SOMEWHERE IN THE DARKNESS BY WALTER DEAN MYERS
Walter Dean Myers was well aware that children’s literature should contain characters and symbolism that can be understood by even the youngest of readers. The cross-country journey of 14-year-old Jimmy and his father Crab is depicted in the film Somewhere in the Darkness. But Crab is looking for someone who can clear his name so he can return to his normal life. While the road trip doesn’t suddenly solve their relationship’s problems, it demonstrates how understanding and forgiveness may grow from there.
If you’re like me and love a good road trip, you’ll be excited to hear that I’ve got even more suggestions for you. I’ve got thought-provoking and feel-good road trip books. And if you need an audiobook while you’re on a trip, pass me that aux, we’ve got some listening to do. So let’s hit the road. What books do you have planned for your next road trip? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to my list.