List of the Week: YA Books NOT set in the US


Most of the YA books published in any given year are set in the US. But the world is so much bigger than the 50 states and fiction should reflect that. Here are 10 books set across the globe, outside of America.

city of saints and thieves book coverCity of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
Publisher: Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 24, 2017
After fleeing the Congo as a refugees, Tina and her mother arrive in Kenya to build a new life. After her mother finds work for a prominent family as a maid, Tina learns the truth behind the fortune of this family: that it was all made from a life of corruption and crime. When her mom is shot at work, Tina knows who did it. Four years later, Tina she finds her way back with revenge on her mind.

salt to the sea book coverSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Joana, Emilia, and Florian’s paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.But just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people–adults and children alike–aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Release date: April 14, 2011
Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset.

up to this pointe book coverUp to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release date: January 19, 2016
Harper has one goal; to become a professional ballerina. And she refuses to let anything get in her way. Harper is also a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica.

a girl like that book coverA Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Release date: February 27, 2018
Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. But when she and a guy who’s had eyes for her end up dead in a car crash, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned.

queen of water book coverThe Queen of Water by Laura Resau and María Virginia Farinango
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 8, 2011
Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta – stupid Indian – by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.

this dark endeavor book coverThis Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1) by Kenneth Opel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: August 23, 2011
Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein and inseparable until Konrad falls gravely ill. In the forbidden Dark Library, Victor finds an ancient formula, and seeks an alchemist to recreate the Elixir of Life. With friends Elizabeth and Henry, he scales highest trees in the Strumwald, dives deepest lake caves, and each sacrifices a body part.

the girl with the red balloon book coverThe Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers #1) by Katherine Locke
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company
Release date: September 1, 2017
When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

jellicoe road book coverJellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: August 26, 2008
Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again. And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

the gentleman's guide to vice and virtue book cover The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide #1) by Mackenzie Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: June 27, 2017
When British lord Monty makes a reckless decision that turns his trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

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About Author

Tara Hackley

Tara is a twenty-something with a love of writing, animals, and life. She's usually reading or writing but if she's not, she's out finding her next great adventure.

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