Around the World: A Book for Every Continent


As fiction fans know, through books, you can travel to whole other worlds from the comfort of your couch. Has it occurred to you, though, that you can also explore the depths of this world in the same way? Through fiction, you can learn a lot about how life works in other cultures. There are almost 200 countries out there to read about, so here is a book set on each continent to get you started.

Antarctica: A Suffragist’s Guide to the Antarctic by Yi Shun Lai

Set in 1914 and based on real events, A Suffragist’s Guide to the Antarctic is about an 18-year-old American girl named Clara. Under the British activist Emmeline Pankhurst and the Women’s Social & Political Union, Clara plays her part in the suffragist movement. When the war breaks out, Clara disagrees with her fellow suffragists on putting the war efforts first. Instead, she joins the crew of the legendary HMS Resolute as the only female crew member in order to show what women are capable of. The Resolute is on an exploratory voyage to Antarctica, but along the way, the ship gets stuck in ice. Stranded, Clara finds herself fighting for survival, all the while fighting for women’s rights amongst a crew that does not respect her.

Australia: The Mystery of the Missing Tea Drinker by Bryl Davidson

Country: Australia

Alex’s life is not easy lately, especially in having to deal with a little brother, Ollie, who has frequent meltdowns due to his disability. The siblings have recently been living with their father because their mother abandoned the family years prior, and their grandma is moving into assisted living. When their father goes missing, it’s up to the siblings to follow the clues and to find him. Though Alex loves Ollie, Alex expects him to be a sort of burden on their quest. It is to Alex’s surprise that Ollie has a lot of thoughts and ideas that can help the pair find their dad and reunite their family.

Europe: The Circle by Mats Strandberg and Sara B. Elfgren

Country: Sweden

After the supposed suicide of Elias Malmgren, Minoo and five other girls from her school are mysteriously brought together at a deserted theme park under the light of a blood-red moon. There, one of the girls named Ida is temporarily possessed by a being who warns the girls that they are being hunted. They are informed that they are the “Chosen Ones”: witches meant to save the world from an evil that means to destroy them first. Over the following weeks, the girls discover their individual powers while also dealing with their vastly different social circles and real-world teenage issues. Despite their differences, the six have to join forces, for Elias’s “suicide” was only the beginning.

Africa: My Totem Came Calling by Blessing Musariri and Thorsten Nesch

Country: Zimbabwe

As a wealthy teenager in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, you could almost say that Chanda’s life is easy—if not for her recent struggles with memory loss. On top of that, she has been hallucinating a zebra in places she definitely should not be seeing a zebra. The doctors are confused by her case, and Chanda and her parents worry she’s going crazy, but her aunt, Tete Frasia, reassures her. She suggests Chanda visit Gumindoga, the village in which Chanda’s father was born. In fear of being sent to live in a hospital, Chanda follows her aunt’s suggestion, venturing off to her family’s homeland. A rural village like Gumindoga is not an easy place to live for a city girl like Chanda, but there, she learns about her family’s history and how it connects to the zebra she has been seeing. In finding her roots, Chanda learns who she really is.

South America: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Country: Argentina

Camila Hassan has a secret: She’s a talented soccer player referred to as “La Furia.” Her team gets into the South American tournament which, if she’s good enough, could get her a scholarship at a school in North America. However, all of this is a secret from her parents. Her mother has her own plan for Camila, and her chauvinistic father believes that soccer is a sport meant only for boys, which is why he is training Camila’s brother to be a soccer star. They would never let her play, and yet she needs their approval to continue, especially when scouts get close to exposing her secret. All the while, Camila’s childhood friend Diego is back in town after having made his own way as a world-renowned soccer player, but she has no time for hot distractions as she takes La Furia as far as she can.

North America: Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks by Nathan Burgoine

Country: Canada

Cole Tozer has a plan that involves graduating high school and progressing towards his career very, very soon. Aside from being considered a “freak,” everything is going moderately fine—until one day he opens a school door that is somehow the door to an aviation museum eighty kilometers away. This is strange enough, but another open door and thoughts about school lead him back, though it lands him in somewhat of an awkward predicament. So, he can teleport now. That’s interesting. Oh, and another cool fact is that Malik, Cole’s crush, seems to be into him! Unfortunately, thoughts are hard to control, and therefore so is teleportation, and Malik’s shower has a glass door. As Cole adjusts to his new ability and develops a closer relationship with Malik, he starts to notice that no matter how far he travels, the same strange people seem to follow. They’ll do anything to get him to stop teleporting, which means he’ll have to be clever about his escape.

Asia: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Country: Japan

As a Japanese American in a predominantly white town, Izumi “Izzy” doesn’t feel like she belongs. That should be okay because, as it turns out, her father is the Crown Prince of Japan! Suddenly, Izzy is off to Japan to live the life of a princess, which comes with more drama and rules than she expected—oh, and one particularly attractive bodyguard. Her Japanese heritage had affected how she fit in in the United States, but Izzy quickly finds that her American upbringing affects how she is seen in Japan, putting extra pressure on her as a princess. In a story described as a mixture of The Princess Diaries and Crazy Rich Asians, Izzy has to discover who she is and decide who she wants to be, combining the worlds she is and has been a part of.

Read our full review of Tokyo Ever After here!

Abby Ballas, Pine Reads Review Writer & Editor


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