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The best road trip books to read (since you can't go on one yet)

Road trips are a summer rite of passage. You get to take in breathtaking scenery, load up on gas station junk food, and get closer to your fam or BFFs. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s best to postpone your road trip until next summer. While you wait for your next adventure, you can read the heartfelt and relatable stories of fictional road trips gone wrong and right. Here are a few of the best road trip books to tide you over.

Road Trip by Gary & Jim Paulsen

Co-authored by famous adventure writer Gary Paulsen and his son Jim, Road Trip follows Ben, his dad, and his dog Atticus on an unexpected adventure to save a border collie. Ben and his dad face several mishaps, from their car breaking down to rescuing a waitress. Tension builds when Ben finds out his friend Gus, who tagged along on the trip, is on the run.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

The humorous ‘novel in cartoons’ series was turned into four movies, the most recent of which is 2017’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. The ninth installment in Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series follows the Heffley family as they drive to a county fair, a beach, and a water park. A strange bearded man and a pet pig make this story a lively adventure, told with Greg Heffley’s trademark sense of humor.

The Last Grand Adventure by Rebecca Behrens

Rebecca Behrens’ first two novels are considered a masterclass in blending history and realistic fiction. Her 2019 novel, The Last Grand Adventure, continues the tradition. The book follows a twelve-year-old girl named Bea on a quest to help her grandmother find her long-lost-sister: the famous real-life pilot Amelia Earhart. It takes place in the late ‘60s, as the family members journey from California to Kansas and learn truths about each other as well as their history.

Amelia’s Are-We-There-Yet Longest Ever Car Trip By Marissa Moss

The classic nineties Amelia series follows ten-year-old Amelia on a road trip through the American Southwest to visit a friend. With quirky illustrations and laugh-out-loud writing, Amelia Hits The Road by Marissa Moss is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries. As a fan of the series, I can attest to how perfect the books convey a love/annoyance relationship with a sibling like Amelia’s sister Cleo. If it sounds worth a look, the latest print can be found under the title Amelia’s Are-We-There-Yet Longest Ever Car Trip.

Drive Me Crazy By Terra Elan McVoy

Strangers Lana and Cassie are in for a real journey when their grandparents marry each other, and the girls are put in the back of a Subaru to travel from California to Maine. The cross-country trip might, as the title suggests, drive the girls a little crazy, but by the end a true friendship might bloom. The book alternates between Lana’s and Cassie’s perspectives, so you can see both sides of the story.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Companion to the #1 New York Times bestseller Smile, Sisters chronicles author Raina Telgemeier’s road trip from San Francisco to Colorado with her two younger siblings. Raina and Amara aren’t the closest sisters, but their baby brother and the suspicion that something’s off with their parents bring them together along the way. With skillful artwork and humor that masks deeper emotions, Sisters is a must-read for any road-trip wannabe.


Image Credits: Scholastic, Goodreads

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by Bailey Bujnosek | 6/25/2020
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