Niles-Maine District Library


Teen Lit Road Trips


If the increasing number of YA novels turned into movies is any indication, then Hollywood has suddenly remembered that teens (both male and female teens) go to the movies. Big shock, I know. This isn’t a  a post about movies, but about places in the movies (and the books they’re based on). Maybe we can’t go to fictional places like The Glade or Panem in real life (and really, who would want to?), but we can go to the real places that stand in for them. Here are a few literary/cinematic destinations, arranged by the time it would take to get there:

If I Stay: Vancouver, BC – Canada stands in for Portland, OR in the movie version of Gayle Forman’s tearjerker, which opens everywhere August 22. A 33-hour cross-country odyssey will bring you there, while 31 hours will get you to Portland (just remember to head west and not east, to Portland, ME). Or, you could just watch a few episodes of Portlandia.

Maze Runner: Baton Rouge, LA – 8 acres of a 2,000 acre farm just outside the city became The Glade for the movie based on James Dashner’s dystopian action thriller, which opens September 19. The drive south is just under 14 hours.

Mockingjay: Atlanta, GA – 11.5 hours of solid driving will get you to the Swan House, which also featured in Catching Fire. To get that fascist police state feel, filmmakers have also been shooting in Berlin. Germany’s a bit more of a hike, though.

The Fault In Our Stars: Amsterdam, Netherlands – You can sit on the same bench that Hazel and Gus did, just don’t steal it! If plane tickets to the Netherlands are out of your price range (round-trip tickets on an 8.5 hour nonstop flight run $1,200+), than consider the 3-hour drive down I-65 to Indianapolis, author John Green’s home base and the city where most of the story takes place. As a bonus, you can also visit the Kurt Vonnegut mural downtown.

Perks Of Being A Wallflower: Fort Pitt Tunnel in Pittsburgh – After a 7 hour drive (longer if you hit traffic on I-90) you can drive through the same tunnel as Charlie and Sam. Just don’t stand up like Emma Watson did in the movie. Seriously.

Divergent: Downtown Chicago – Only have a little money and time? Take the L train to the lake. Walk from Navy Pier to the Bean, over to Willis (Sears) Tower and back up to the Hancock. Riding the Ferris wheel and visiting both buildings’ observation decks would take a bite out of your wallet, but any one of them will provide you with spectacular views.

In addition, many more teen novels are currently in development or production, so keep an eye out for news about: Paper Towns, The 5th Wave, Looking for Alaska, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

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