The best young adult contemporary romances that take you abroad

The Books I Picked & Why

Two Summers

By Aimee Friedman

Book cover of Two Summers

Why this book?

This charming parallel universe story is like two contemporary realistic novels in one. Fifteen-year-old Summer Everette makes a choice at the beginning of the book (no spoilers, here!) that will either take her to France or keep her in upstate New York for the summer. So why not see what would happen in both worlds?

This book has all the elements I love. A relatable protagonist, two adorable love interests, and tons of heart. Add the French countryside element and voila! Parfait!


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Love & Gelato

By Jenna Evans Welch

Book cover of Love & Gelato

Why this book?

Let’s take this European adventure to Italy. Like most of the books on my list, Love & Gelato doesn’t go heavy on the romance, which is an aspect I really appreciate. Lina, the sixteen-year-old protagonist, comes to terms with grief and uncertainty in this beautiful, tender story. The fact that it’s set in Italy is a big bonus.

Jenna Evans Welch has written similar books with settings in Ireland and Greece. She has a great voice and takes the reader to some of my favorite settings in the world. That’s amore!


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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

By Jennifer E. Smith

Book cover of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Why this book?

As much as I adore learning new languages, books that transport me to English-speaking countries across the pond are some of my favorites. I love romantic comedies set in Great Britain. 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight takes us to England, although much of the story is about getting there, which I didn’t mind at all. (Life is about the journey.) This is another fun, young adult romance with more than just fluff, and tons of heart. 


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Anna and the French Kiss

By Stephanie Perkins

Book cover of Anna and the French Kiss

Why this book?

I’d be remiss not to include Anna and the French Kiss on a list of YA books set abroad. This one includes a boarding school, Paris, and a cute international love interest. Oui, oui, oui. 

Although I would have reacted the complete opposite to the way Anna did when she was forced to live in Paris (my dream scenario, even as a teenager), I could understand her predicament and thoroughly enjoyed her story. A charming read for teens (or YA loving people of any age) with wanderlust.


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Kisses and Croissants

By Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Book cover of Kisses and Croissants

Why this book?

I picked up this book because of its cover, and it didn’t disappoint. It was refreshing to read a novel by an author who is equally skilled in both French and English, and really knows her subject matter.

As a Francophile, I loved the setting, but I also learned a lot about dance and art. When a book can both entertain—and teach you something new and interesting in the process—I’m all in. 


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