Get Your Paper Towns Fix With These Road Trip Reads

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I’m a little bit of a John Green junkie. His quick, witty writing style sucked me in at Looking for Alaska and I haven’t looked back since. Which is why I’m so excited for the movie adaptation of Paper Towns, out July 24th:

The movie promises to capture the mysterious, playful feel of the novel, as we follow Quentin on his search for Margo after spending one perfect night together. The story turns into a pretty epic road trip as he searches for clues, and eventually has to confront the reality of the girl-next-door.

As far back as On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, road trip novels have become synonymous with coming-of-age tales. There’s just something about a long stretch of highway that makes a character start to soul-search. So in honor of Paper Towns, here are three epic road trip books to teach us about love, life, and what it means to finally grow up:

Mosquitoland_FINALMosquitoland, by David Arnold

After Mim Malone’s family falls apart, she finds herself stuck in Mississippi with her newly divorced dad and his new wife. But when she discovers her mother is ill, she decides to ditch the south and travel back to Ohio via Greyhound. Mim meets lots of interesting characters along the way, while also dealing with her own issues: she’s the first to admit that she’s strange or damaged, and the break up of her parents hasn’t helped matters. Arnold’s prose is engaging and unflinchingly honest, putting us in Mim’s head from the very first page.

An Abundance of Katherines, by John Greentumblr_m594prrf331r0yglfo1_400

Did you think Paper Towns was Green’s only road trip book? Think again. Before Q was chasing after Margo, Colin Singleton was chasing after any girl named Katherine. As a child prodigy who turned into a pretty average teen, Colin manages to date 19 Katherines by the time he decides to go on a road trip with his best friend. He spends most of the trip trying to come up with an algorithm for relationships, while at the same time discovering a little more about himself…and maybe even falling in love.

7664334Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

After losing her father to a car accident and having her mother move across the country, Amy Curry has had enough. Her solution? A cross-country road trip with an old family friend named Roger. At first she’s resentful of the company, until she starts to fall for him along the way. Amy’s trip is partially told through mementos from the road: receipts, postcards, handwritten notes. The effect puts us right there in the car with her while she comes to terms with the death of her father, her crush, and the new life waiting for her in California.



Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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