If you want to recapture the feelings of youth, there is nothing quite like a novel about teenagers on an unsupervised road trip. Here are a few that stand out. (Links go straight to the library catalog.)
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships. We also have the audio on CD and Playaway.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt. This book is filled with photos, journal entries, drawings, receipts, and play lists, making it like one big fun road trip scrapbook.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt- Jakob’s (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure. Surreal and a bit divisive (we discussed it at the Not-So-Young Adult book group and had very mixed opinions) it is a very unusual book. We also have the audio version on Playaway.
In Honor by Jessi Kirby. Three days after she learns that her brother Finn died serving in Iraq, Honor receives a letter from him asking her to drive his car from Texas to California for a concert, and when his estranged best friend shows up suddenly and offers to accompany her, they set off on a road trip together. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn–but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?
And my current personal favorite, Paper Towns by John Green. One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q’s neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears. Following clues Margo left behind, Quentin ends up taking three friends on a drive from Orlando to New York in hopes of finding her. We also have the audiobook on CD and Playaway.
For even more suggestions, take a look at this extensive list of Young Adult Road Trip Novels on Goodreads. Happy reading, and drive safely!