Travelling Reader: I Spy lots of YA!

When you're a Canadian reader or even an international reader, you know that you're probably not going to recognize the settings of most books. At least not the way you would recognize your home town. New York? Wow! L.A? Nice. But, how about Ottawa? Toronto? Montreal? 

To me this means that every time I go to the US, my eyes are instantly drawn to the little towns we pass on our way to the bigger cities. I pinpoint restaurants, thinking them similar to places my favourite characters visited or worked at.

Misquamicut beach in Rhode Island is almost a replica of the beach in Jenny Han’s Summer series or so it is in my head. It’s a small beach town that I can see Belly having a little cottage in and wearing her bikini trying to get the guys' attention. 

I'm cheating a bit. This picture is one I took of the beach in Atlantic City but it looks similar to Misquamicut.

On the side of the highway in New York State, we passed by a STX Auto Shop. It wasn’t in the bad part of town or anything just a small little auto shop and all I could think of was Alex Fuentes working on some car there. (Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles)

Time Square

This went on throughout my trip. When I reached New York City, the number of books that could be related to the places I was visiting were flying off the handle. Still my largest connection with NYC is Where She Went by Gayle Froman. Adam and Mia's midnight adventures around New York. Walking by the vibrant city life on Time Square and finding little gardens tucked in hidden corners of the massive cement city. Eventually, reaching the ocean and watching as their one night ended with the sunrise.

South Street Sea Port

Despite the similarities between the two nations, Canada and USA, I’ve never connected in a bookish way to a Canadian landmark. But the USA is close to me in that sense. I see it as the setting of the books I read. Most of the books I read are actually set in the US and the authors are mostly American as well. Hence, the country has become my mental retreat.  It’s where I travel to escape from life.

Have You Had Made Connections With Places You Visit and the Books You Read?



  1. Brilliant post Mari. Being Australian, I have problems with trying to imagine where some books are set like small towns in the US. We have small towns here, but it's a big jump between the two. I love books set in Australia and we have quite a few awesome titles. I also find I can relate to them far more, especially with the use of language.

  2. Great post! I recently reread Where She Went and it makes me want to visit New York so bad.


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