When I was younger, summer time meant road trips across the country to either visit family or to go to a new place we had never been before. As an adult, longer road trips have gone to the wayside, but I long to start them up again. To help me get my road trip fix, I have gathered a list of road trip and travel themed books. The ones I gathered all mostly deal with American road trips, but they are all fiction titles that haven’t been talked about on the blog before. Descriptions are provided by the publisher or author.
He Started It by Samantha Downing
Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.
But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.
It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory, a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.
But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.
This title is also available in large print and as a Libby eBook.
In the Face of the Sun by Denny S. Bryce
1928, Los Angeles: The newly-built Hotel Somerville is the hotspot for the city’s glittering African-American elite. It embodies prosperity and dreams of equality for all—especially Daisy Washington. An up-and-coming journalist, Daisy anonymously chronicles fierce activism and behind-the-scenes Hollywood scandals in order to save her family from poverty. But power in the City of Angels is also fueled by racism, greed, and betrayal. And even the most determined young woman can play too many secrets too far . . .
1968, Chicago: For Frankie Saunders, fleeing across America is her only escape from an abusive husband. But her rescuer is her reckless, profane Aunt Daisy, still reeling from her own shattered past. Frankie doesn’t want to know what her aunt is up to so long as Daisy can get her to LA—and safety. But Frankie finds there’s no hiding from long-held secrets—or her own surprising strength.
Daisy will do whatever it takes to settle old scores and resolve the past—no matter the damage. And Frankie will come up against hard choices in the face of unexpected passion. Both must come to grips with what they need, what they’ve left behind—and all that lies ahead . . .
This title is also available as a Libby eBook.
Mrs. Nash’s Ashes by Sarah Adler
Millicent Watts-Cohen is on a mission. When she promised her elderly best friend that she’d reunite her with the woman she fell in love with nearly eighty years ago, she never imagined that would mean traveling from D.C. to Key West with three tablespoons of Mrs. Nash’s remains in her backpack. But Millie’s determined to give her friend a symbolic happily-ever-after, before it’s (really) too late—and hopefully reassure herself of love’s lasting power in the process.
She just didn’t expect to have a living travel companion.
After a computer glitch grounds flights, Millie is forced to catch a ride with Hollis Hollenbeck, an also-stranded acquaintance from her ex’s MFA program. Hollis certainly does not believe in happily-ever-afters—symbolic or otherwise—and makes it quite clear that he can’t fathom Millie’s plan ending well for anyone.
But as they contend with peculiar bed-and-breakfasts, unusual small-town festivals, and deer with a death wish, Millie begins to suspect that her reluctant travel partner might enjoy her company more than he lets on. Because for someone who supposedly doesn’t share her views on romance, Hollis sure is becoming invested in the success of their journey. And the closer they get to their destination, the more Millie has to admit that maybe this trip isn’t just about Mrs. Nash’s love story after all—maybe it’s also about her own.
Nevada by Imogen Binnie
Maria Griffiths is almost thirty and works at a used bookstore in New York City while trying to stay true to her punk values. She’s in love with her bike but not with her girlfriend, Steph. She takes random pills and drinks more than is good for her, but doesn’t inject anything except, when she remembers, estrogen, because she’s trans. Everything is mostly fine until Maria and Steph break up, sending Maria into a tailspin, and then onto a cross-country trek in the car she steals from Steph. She ends up in the backwater town of Star City, Nevada, where she meets James, who is probably but not certainly trans, and who reminds Maria of her younger self. As Maria finds herself in the awkward position of trans role model, she realizes that she could become James’s savior—or his downfall.
One of the most beloved cult novels of our time and a landmark of trans literature, Imogen Binnie’s Nevada is a blistering, heartfelt, and evergreen coming-of-age story, and a punk-smeared excavation of marginalized life under capitalism. Guided by an instantly memorable, terminally self-aware protagonist—and back in print featuring a new afterword by the author—Nevada is the great American road novel flipped on its head for a new generation.
This title is also available as a Libby eAudiobook.
Off the Map by Trish Doller
Carla Black’s life motto is “here for a good time, not for a long time.” She’s been traveling the world on her own in her vintage Jeep Wrangler for nearly a decade, stopping only long enough to replenish her adventure fund. She doesn’t do love and she doesn’t ever go home.
Eamon Sullivan is a modern-day cartographer who creates digital maps. His work helps people find their way, but he’s the one who’s lost his sense of direction. He’s unhappy at work, recently dumped, and his one big dream is stalled out—literally.
Fate throws them together when Carla arrives in Dublin for her best friend’s wedding and Eamon is tasked with picking her up from the airport. But what should be a simple drive across Ireland quickly becomes complicated with chemistry-filled detours, unexpected feelings, and a chance at love – if only they choose it.
A Thousand Miles to Graceland by Kristen Mei Chase
Grace Johnson can’t escape the feeling that her life is on autopilot—until her husband announces he’s done with their marriage. Grace has a choice: wallow in humiliation . . . or reluctantly grant her outlandish mother’s seventieth birthday wish with a road trip Graceland. Buckle up, Elvis. We’re on our way.
Now the two are hightailing it from El Paso to Memphis, leaving a trail of sequins, false eyelashes, and difficult memories in their wake. Between spontaneous roadside stops to psychics, wig mishaps, and familiar passive-aggressive zingers, Grace is starting to better understand her Elvis-obsessed mama and their own fragile connection. She may even have another shot at love. Apparently the King really does work in mysterious ways. But after all these years, will it ever be possible for Grace and her mom to heal the hurts of the past?
The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley
Twenty-one-year-old Tanner Quimby needs a place to live. Preferably one where she can continue sitting around in sweatpants and playing video games nineteen hours a day. Since she has no credit or money to speak of, her options are limited, so when an opportunity to work as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman falls into her lap, she takes it.
One slip on the rug. That’s all it took for Louise Wilt’s daughter to demand that Louise have a full-time nanny living with her. Never mind that she can still walk fine, finish her daily crossword puzzle, and pour the two fingers of vodka she drinks every afternoon. Bottom line: Louise wants a caretaker even less than Tanner wants to be one.
The two start off their living arrangement happily ignoring each other until Tanner starts to notice things—weird things. Like, why does Louise keep her garden shed locked up tighter than a prison? And why is the local news fixated on the suspect of one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history who looks eerily like Louise? And why does Louise suddenly appear in her room, with a packed bag at 1 a.m. insisting that they leave town immediately?
Thus begins the story of a not-to-be-underestimated elderly woman and an aimless young woman who—if they can outrun the mistakes of their past—might just have the greatest adventure of their lives.
This title is also available as a Libby eBook.
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry’s enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven’t spoken since.
Today, Dylan’s and Addie’s lives collide again. It’s the day before Cherry’s wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland—he’ll never get there on time by public transport.
So, along with Dylan’s best friend, Addie’s sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart—and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all.
This title is also available in large print and as a Libby eBook.
The Trackers by Charles Frazier
Hurtling past the downtrodden communities of Depression-era America, painter Val Welch travels westward to the rural town of Dawes, Wyoming. Through a stroke of luck, he’s landed a New Deal assignment to create a mural representing the region for their new Post Office.
A wealthy art lover named John Long and his wife Eve have agreed to host Val at their sprawling ranch. Rumors and intrigue surround the couple: Eve left behind an itinerant life riding the rails and singing in a western swing band. Long holds shady political aspirations, but was once a WWI sniper—and his right hand is a mysterious elder cowboy, a vestige of the violent old west. Val quickly finds himself entranced by their lives.
One day, Eve flees home with a valuable painting in tow, and Long recruits Val to hit the road with a mission of tracking her down. Journeying from ramshackle Hoovervilles to San Francisco nightclubs to the swamps of Florida, Val’s search for Eve narrows, and he soon turns up secrets that could spark formidable changes for all of them.
This title is also available in large print, as a CD audiobook, and as a Libby eBook.
West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge
Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave….It’s 1938….The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to become Southern California’s first giraffes. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.
Do you have a favorite travel book? Are you planning a road trip? Let us know in the comments!