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As readers, we’ve always reveled in this idea that we can travel incredible distances without ever leaving the comfort of our own home. We’re taking that sentiment to heart these days – especially now that international travel feels like a fantasy and taking a plane or train anywhere is an unnecessary risk. To celebrate the summer vacations we’re not taking, we’ve gathered some of our favorite books – books where the international setting truly feels like another character. Go the extra mile by reading each of these books with a friend or family member. That way, you can “travel” together.

 

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

Lucy Tan takes us on a journey through Expo 2010, a major world expo held in Shanghai, China, in her beautiful debut novel What We Were Promised. In Tan’s Shanghai, readers experience the perspectives of both the Zhen family, a wealthy family of ex-ex-pats who recently arrived home in China after years of chasing the American dream, and their housekeeper, Sunny, who wouldn’t dare question the family’s actions, lest she lose her job. It’s an exquisitely woven story, one that will put Shanghai at the top of your travel wish list before you’ve even finished reading.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert takes us to the picturesque Nottinghamshire, England in both of her Brown sisters romance novels, but we’re here to talk about Take a Hint, Dani Brown and the luscious university campus our imagination gets to parade through as we read this thrilling novel. Hibbert’s Nottinghamshire has its own viral social media, stage fright-inducing TV interviews, and apartments that even a PhD student can afford. What’s not to love? Forget armchair vacations; can we armchair move in? 

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Maureen Goo’s young adult novel Somewhere Only We Know takes us on a journey through Hong Kong, China – almost exclusively at night or hidden in the shadows. It’s a Hong Kong that we’d probably never see even on a real vacation – one filled with celebrities trying to pass as plebes and teenage paparazzi doing everything in their power not to get caught. It’s glamorous. And who doesn’t want a glamorous vacation?

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel Homegoing takes her readers on a dual journey: one that follows two half-sisters and their family lineage through hundreds of years. Effia marries the British governor in charge of Cape Coast Castle, and family line remains in Ghana for several generations. Esi is held captive in that same castle’s dungeon, and her family is enslaved in the United States. As these locations and stories weave, Gyasi takes her readers on an epic journey – one that spans generations and countless locations. It’s both incredibly heartbreaking and sweepingly beautiful.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop

 

 

Saints for all Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for all Occasions takes her readers on a journey through two locations: a village in Ireland that her protagonists cannot wait to escape, and their new lives in Boston. And even in the itching to get out tone that the Ireland chapters hold – and as brief as they are – we can’t help see everything in luscious greens and a hometown that’s full of family. It’s an Ireland tinged with nostalgia, like a good vacation gone wrong.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop


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Danielle Mohlman's picture

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.