By Madison Jones
Law of the Universe #76 states that when you are on a vacation with your family things will inevitably turn ugly, usually around day four when everyone is completely sick of spending every waking moment with each other. And the biggest problem with family vacations? You cannot escape, at least in the literal sense.
Good thing such miraculous objects as books happen to exist.
Yeah, family vacation mishaps may turn into fun stories to tell down the road someday, but while the sh-t is hitting the fan, you’d pretty much give anything to be anywhere but there -- or anyone but yourself. With that in mind, here are eight YA novels to help you get through family vacation disasters.
When you’re taking a cross-country road trip in an RV and it breaks down
In the same way love triangles are the clichés of YA literature, family road trips are the cliché of family vacations. Except with road trips (unlike with love triangles,) there is nothing to make you squeal with joy -- although there are plenty of reasons to shriek with frustration. You could not pay me enough to get into a car with my family knowing I will be stuck there for the next four or five hours. And throw a breakdown or a flat tire into the mix -- well, just thinking about it makes me want to cry. Even if reading in the car makes you sick, always bring a book, because you never know when you’ll be stopped for three-plus hours on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck.
My pick: "Paper Towns" by John Green -- it’ll be a nice break from those clichéd love triangles, not to mention from your family. Plus, the movie’s coming out July 24, so you can be one of those cool kids that “read the book before it was a movie.”
When your flight’s delayed and you have to “sleep” in an airport
Good news, your dad’s not making the family drive to Florida this year! Bad news, the flight’s delayed and your dad’s too cheap to get rooms in the airport hotel. "You’ll sleep in the airport," your dad says. "It’ll be fun," your mom says. But between the businessmen on their phones and the hard plastic chairs, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that you’re getting a wink of sleep. I recommend a red eye (coffee with a double shot of espresso) and an intense thriller; you can sleep when you get there.
My Pick: "The Conspiracy Of Us" by Maggie Hall came out early this January -- and, boy, does it take you on a ride you’ll never want to get off of. Secret societies. Check. Ancient Prophecy. Check. Hot boys. Double check.
When you’re at the shore and the forecast is thunderstorms that won’t quit
Beach trips are the best kind of family vacations. There’s sun, there’s sand, and usually you’ll make some friends -- well, if it’s not raining. Good news, the vacation is still salvageable. Regardless of whether it’s summer, spring, fall, winter -- reading when it’s raining is one of the best activities.
My Pick: You can’t really go wrong curling up with any good book, but I suggest "None of the Above" by I.W. Gregorio. A refreshingly honest story about a girl who was born intersex -- which mean means that you were born with differences in your sexual characteristics that can affect genes, chromosomes, genitalia, reproductive organs, hormones and also things like body hair and how much you sweat. (This might be my pick for the entire summer.)
When you’re stuck in massive lines at Disneyworld
I love the Disney parks as much as the next person, but, let me tell you, there was a good reason I only went on weekdays during the school year: You could ride the Matterhorn three times in a row and only had to wait 10 minutes (or less) for Space Mountain. Summer’s a whole other game,
My Pick: Could there be a better book to read in a Disney park than a retold fairy tale? Try this recent retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" that explores what happens after “Happily Ever After.” It's called "A Wicked Thing" and it's by Rhiannon Thomas. Its pacing is a bit deliberate in the beginning -- but you won’t have to worry about jumping on Splash Mountain in the middle of an intense action sequence.
When on a camping trip in an area crawling with bears
I’m really glad I ended up with one of those moms who hates camping -- I wasn’t when I was seven, but after waking up one too many times to the sound of bears pillaging through the campgrounds, it’s nice to know camping is off the table for now. Once a bear wakes you, there is no going back to sleep. So, you’re obviously going to need something to take your mind off of your imminent demise.
My Pick: Any Sarah Dessen novel is probably a good choice for this scenario, because they're fluffy, there’s love, they're a quick read, and at some point you’ll cry -- you know, so if a bear does eat you, you’re already the right amount of sad. My personal favorite is "Just Listen."
When visiting your grandparents who still don’t have Internet... or cable
While you may count your blessings that your Grandma doesn’t comment on your Saturday night selfies on Instagram or that your Grandpa doesn’t write on your wall, it pretty much sucks when you get to their house and there’s only the local channels and spotty cell service. Face it, there are only so many times they can ask you how school’s going and if you’re still dating the guy you took to prom. And unless your grandparents live in a happening town, you’re pretty much stuck twiddling your thumbs for the week.
My Pick: Why not read Cassandra Clare’s prequel series about our favorite bad boy Jace Wayland’s equally sexy ancestor, Will Herondale? Check out "The Infernal Devices" series, which makes the 19th century look... fun?
When on a cruise -- any cruise
To get me on a cruise you would have to take me kicking and screaming and lock me in the brig. What can I say -- I’ve seen "Titanic" (swoon, Leo DiCaprio) and that Netflix documentary, "Why Cruise Ships Sink," one too many times. And even if nothing goes wrong, you’re literally stuck on a floating casino until you dock for the day.
My Pick: If you’re headed out on a cruise there’s nothing better than a good-old sci-fi/dystopian novel, like "The Territory" by Sarah Govett. It’s the first of a new trilogy and there’s a juicy love triangle to help you get over the seasickness.