The best YA books to satiate your travel bug

R. Ann Humphries Author Of Sedich: The Annals of Lusiartha
By R. Ann Humphries

Who am I?

I’m a YA fantasy writer, and I’ve been addicted to stories of adventure for as long as I can remember. My love of story filled me with a heart for other worlds and realms and a fondness of reading things that challenged my heart and mind here in the real world. Stories are what make us human, and we storytellers are tasked with challenging readers’ assumptions about how the world, life, love, and humanity works. My obsession with story-telling led me to write my YA fantasy series The Annals of Lusiartha


I wrote...

Sedich: The Annals of Lusiartha

By R. Ann Humphries,

Book cover of Sedich: The Annals of Lusiartha

What is my book about?

Enslaved since the age of six, Rilan Crendu lives at the bottom of the Regiment hierarchy, working in the fields of his small island home. Lusiartha is a world divided into those who have power and those who do not, where disobedience means swift retribution and personal choice does not exist. Rilan craves freedom, knowing that there is more to life than the labor forced upon his dark-skinned people. But unknown to Rilan, a secret society exists that struggles against the Regiment. This group, motivated by ancient prophecy, captures Rilan and takes him to their hideout. There, Rilan learns of the sedich, a centuries-old stone imbued with the power of the Creator, and takes its power into himself. 

The books I picked & why

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A Wizard of Earthsea

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of A Wizard of Earthsea

Why this book?

Growing up, I always dreamed of what it would be like to sail from island to island, exploring the simple villages and quiet meadows of a natural, peaceful world. A Wizard of Earthsea drops the reader into such an idyllic world, but then takes us on a complex journey that explores the morality of great power and the challenges of growing up. A timeless take on the hero’s journey, A Wizard of Earthsea is sure to stay with the reader throughout their life, regardless of how old you are when you read it. 


The Merchant of Death

By D.J. MacHale,

Book cover of The Merchant of Death

Why this book?

As a kid, I loved all kinds of fiction—sci-fi, fantasy, realistic, historical—pretty much anything I could get my hands on! D.J. MacHale’s Pendragon series magically captures the best of every genre. In The Merchant of Death, Bobby Pendragon, a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy, finds himself pulled into an alternate dimension ruled by a magical tyrant. Bobby learns he is a Traveler, someone gifted with the ability to travel between alternate dimensions (called Territories) and his destiny is much bigger than he could ever have imagined. The Merchant of Death is a thrilling start to a captivating YA adventure!


The Invasion

By K. A. Applegate,

Book cover of The Invasion

Why this book?

The Animorphs series combines two things I was fascinated with as a child—aliens and animals! In The Invasion mind-controlling aliens called Yeerks invade Earth. A group of teens accidentally sees proof of this invasion and are given the power to turn into animals in order to fight the Yeerks! Most adventure series take you to different worlds, but I really enjoyed how The Invasion was set in the real world. While Jake, Cassie, Marco, Rachel, and Tobias struggle with a powerful alien force bend on world domination, they’re also dealing with the typical challenges and stresses of teenage life like exams, parents, and prom! The Invasion also offers fascinating viewpoints of what it might be like to live as the animals that surround us. 


Galax-Arena

By Gillian Rubinstein,

Book cover of Galax-Arena

Why this book?

As a big sci-fi fan, I often loved exploring the idea of what would happen if the human race ever met aliens. In Galax-Arena, three children are kidnapped and forced to perform death-defying circus stunts in order to entertain their captors. Not only does the story contain some riveting descriptions of acrobatic feats and tricks, the story explores fascinating concepts of slavery, trust, and what it means to be a child in comparison to an adult. 


Unwind: Volume 1

By Neal Shusterman,

Book cover of Unwind: Volume 1

Why this book?

Unlike the other books on this list, Unwind is set in a modern dystopia, a world where unwanted children and teens can be “unwound”—their organs harvested and given to others with their parents' permission. This book taught me that adventure isn’t just on salt-scented shores, alien planets, or alternate dimensions—sometimes our challenges are right here at home, with our own families and friends. 


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