Sunday, March 3, 2013

Destination YA: London

Reading is an escape. To places seen or unseen; to places real or imagined. Usually when I decide I need a little escape, I want to travel elsewhere. Away from the dreary, wintry Midwest and to… pretty much anywhere else. A Carolinian beach, a dark and stoic European city or another world entirely. So, I’ve decided to take a look at teen books that travel. Maybe they take place in another city, another time, another world or maybe it’s just about the journey. Road trip, anyone?

This post begins (what I hope will become) a monthly trip around the country, abroad and out of this world. This week: London, England!
London is Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Will & Kate. It’s Victorian yet mod with a kick of Winston Churchill’s “We shall never surrender.” It is centuries of history, from Londinium to Jack the Ripper (see below) to the 2012 Olympics. Here are a few YA novels that will take you there:

Red Ruby: Kerstin Gier
London plans a central role in this time-traveling tale. It’s the setting for Gwyneth’s adventures, not only in this century, but in centuries past as she tries to decipher who she can trust. The rest of the trilogy: Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green (yet to be released in the US) also take place in London.

The Name of the Star: Maureen Johnson
Rory arrives in London the same day a Jack the Ripper copycat begins terrorizing the city. She is caught up in the whirlwind of modern London’s fascination with the killings, and is soon in danger herself. The sequel, Madness Underneath (just released!) also ventures into rainy London.

Pastworld: Ian Beck
Victorian London becomes an amusement park for 21st century tourists in this thrilling journey. When a Jack the Ripper attraction goes horribly wrong, the park becomes dangerous and only Eve, a native of the park, can make sure that the theme park fun doesn’t become all too real.

And a few more London-based adventures:
Devil’s Kiss: Sarwat Chadda
London Eye: Tim Lebbon
Ruby in the Smoke: Philip Pullman
Happy Travels!


  1. Sounds like a fun series of posts! It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure I really liked Ruby in the Smoke. But then, Philip Pullman has always been a favorite...

  2. I have to admit I haven't read that one, nor any Philip Pullman! They're on my novel of a to-read list haha. I have read the rest of the London-based books though, and I'm pretty excited about this series! Hope I can manage to keep up with it and compile some interesting travels!