Hey all! It has been a little while since I wrote a literary road trip post and I feel like it is time again. Here is a journey for us to France (mostly Paris). In doing some research, I came to discover that there are not as many YA books set in France as I would have thought… as in, I thought it would be a much more popular setting, especially for English books as I feel France is highly romanticized in US books, movies and media.
Either way, there are still a lot of choices. Some very obvious, popular books and some other lesser known selections. From contemporary to history to paranormal twists, there is something here for every YA lit enthusiast.
Off we go!
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.
Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank
Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.
Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn’t support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.
Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.
Eventual Poppy Day by Libby Hathorn
Painstakingly researched and extremely well written, this is a novel that moves deftly and easily from one time period to another and yet still allows the novel to retain an overall sense of cohesion. Respected YA author Libby Hathorn has drawn on family history and done extensive research to write a fascinating book that profiles two young protagonists, both seventeen years of age, who are related: Maurice, who went to Gallipoli and the Western Front and his great-great nephew, Oliver, who is trying to deal with difficult family circumstances but whose discovery of Maurice’s WW1 diary changes the way he sees the world. The balance of the historical and contemporary points of view makes this title perfect for use in the classroom, but also appealing to the YA reader.
The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc by Nancy Goldstone
“Attention, ‘Game of Thrones’ fans: The most enjoyably sensational aspects of medieval politics—double-crosses, ambushes, bizarre personal obsessions, lunacy and naked self-interest—are in abundant evidence in Nancy Goldstone’s The Maid and the Queen.” (Laura Miller, Salon.com)
Politically astute, ambitious, and beautiful, Yolande of Aragon, queen of Sicily, was one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages. Caught in the complex dynastic battle of the Hundred Years War, Yolande championed the dauphin’s cause against the forces of England and Burgundy, drawing on her savvy, her statecraft, and her intimate network of spies. But the enemy seemed invincible. Just as French hopes dimmed, an astonishingly courageous young woman named Joan of Arc arrived from the farthest recesses of the kingdom, claiming she carried a divine message-a message that would change the course of history and ultimately lead to the coronation of Charles VII and the triumph of France.
Now, on the six hundredth anniversary of the birth of Joan of Arc, this fascinating book explores the relationship between these two remarkable women, and deepens our understanding of this dramatic period in history. How did an illiterate peasant girl gain access to the future king of France, earn his trust, and ultimately lead his forces into battle? Was it only the hand of God that moved Joan of Arc-or was it also Yolande of Aragon?
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Coming soon: June 27, 2017)
An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love
Felicite Found by Julia King
Seventeen-year-old Pierre Rousseaux witnesses a young girl take a near fatal plunge off Pont Neuf Bridge into the freezing water of the River Seine in Paris, France. After diving into the racing river himself, he is able to rescue her from a watery death, but only after her head is bashed into the river wall. Upon reviving her from unconsciousness, Pierre realizes she doesn’t remember her past at all.
The girl struggles to recall anything from before she may have tried to commit suicide, not only once but possibly twice. The few glimpses into her life are discovered through dreams that can only suggest her past was horrific and jaded by intense anger.
Her memories may force her to lose everything she has grown to adore, especially the boy she loves more than anything in the world: Pierre.
The girl, Félicité Moreau, must decide if the life she desires is enough to make things from her past right. Pierre struggles to resolve if Félicité means enough to him that he will fight for her, regardless of her past and despite his own personal demons.
With a paranormal twist, Félicité Found is Julia King’s debut Young Adult novel—a horrific love story.
That’s all for our journey this week! Where should we go next?