Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hit the Road

As soon as summer rolls around, I always get the urge to hop in the car, hit the road, and go somewhere, anywhere that isn’t here. Where I live, we get a very small handful of warm/hot months, so a road trip is the perfect way to embrace this short-lived gorgeous weather. And who doesn’t love a good road trip? The operative word here being ‘good’, because I’ve experienced bad: road-tripping with someone who, it turns out, I didn’t know so well (ugh); a car that needed repairs only two hours into our trip (aaaannd we didn’t see that as a sign that we should quit while we were ahead); not nearly enough money in my bank account for the trip in general; not nearly enough money to cover the cost of returning home from the West coast via Greyhound because this POS car decided to break down on the creepiest highway known to man; and then, of course, never really pursuing this friendship any further after. Best. Road trip. Ever.


But I think that’s why I enjoy a good road trip book when I can get my hands on one. It’s like a do-over, a chance to experience an on the road adventure—the good and not so good moments—vicariously through the characters. Of course, the whole road trip thing is all about the journey, growth, finding oneself somewhere out there on the road. Know what I learned about myself on that ill-fated road trip I mentioned? I’m a planner to the core and I don’t do so well with the whole fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thing. (At least not on the big things like accommodations, destinations, cars being properly serviced before striking out on said excursion.) Some would argue that a big part of road-tripping is the spontaneity factor. But I would argue: “I sometimes have a feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think, mmm... better not.” (Thank you, Fat Amy.)

Speaking of Amy, my all-time favorite road trip read has to be Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This book is SO awesome it actually comes with its own Road Trip Tips and Road Trip Mix. How cool is that? I’ve had the pleasure of reading some other great road trip books in the past month or so. Of these, I especially enjoyed How My Summer Went Up In Flames by debut author Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. Here’s the blurb:

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t mean to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with their responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road—Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new....

A fun book with a girl-in-progress main character that you can see grow as a person as the trip goes on. (I wanted to shake her a number of times, but this changed by the book's conclusion.) Three boy characters who are all totally sweet and obnoxious in their own unique ways. Cool destinations that I wouldn't mind visiting. Um...except Cadillac Ranch because, hello! I had that stupid line-dancey song stuck in my head for days after the place was mentioned in the book. Basically, it's an enjoyable summer read for those of us not able to hop in our cars and go cross country. Like road trip books? Take this one for a spin.

But no road trip would be complete without a couple key things:
  1. TUNES - For me, this is an extremely weird mishmash of anything by CCR (oldies but goodies), Sublime (if I just listen to the music and ignore most of the lyrics), Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (fun punky cover songs), the occasional ultra-boppy, ultra-earwormy Top 40 tunes, and my personal favorites (The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Florence + the Machine, Snow Patrol...among many, many others).
  2. TREATS- sour candies, bottled water, the occasional Slurpee, caramel Drumstick ice cream cones (picked up at a gas station pit stop), and something salty like chips.

Seriously, it's all about the tunes and treats. Well, and company that isn't going to drive you around the bend before your car actually gets around the bend. Am I right? In my YA book-reading journeys I've stumbled across a number of road trip reads:

Road Trip Read Recs
Road Trip Read TBR

Do you have any favorite YA road trip reads? 
What about road trip treats and tunes?


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