Earlier this year I spent a couple of days in New York City. There are a number of great books that take place in New York that exemplify what the City That Never Sleeps truly is. Whether you live there, have visited or dream of going, these books will keep you up all night reading about the City That Never Sleeps.
For The Young Readers
- This Is New York by Miroslav Sasek. First published in 1960, this book introduces young readers to New York with bright illustrations that have a charming and retro feel. This book is part of a series focusing on major cities of the world, like London, Paris and Rome.
- E is for Empire: A New York Alphabet by Ann E. Berg and illustrated by Maureen K. Brookfield. This book takes the reader on a tour of New York, letter by letter. Using rhymes, this book explains the history and culture of New York City.
- Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. Fifty years apart, two children, Rose and Ben both head to New York City looking for something they need. Told in text and drawings, the beautiful illustrations add a great deal to the story, just as they did in Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret. With Rose's story told through drawings and Ben's through words, these two stories slowly intertwine as Ben and Rose find themselves in the Museum of American Natural History. Although not in the way they first imagined, they both find what they were looking for. You can read my review here.
- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. In the original book about children living in a museum, Claudia and Jamie Kincaid run away from their suburban home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Armed with instrument cases filled with clothes, the children try to learn as much about the museum as they can, only to become fascinated by a mysterious new statue. You can read my review here.
- Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. While all of the books co-written by this team could fit on this list, Dash & Lily takes its main characters on a Christmas time chase through New York. Dash and Lily meet by chance when Dash books up Lily's notebook on a shelf at the Strand, challenging him to take part in a series of dares. As they get to know each by leaving the notebook for the other to find, they both wonder if the chemistry to feel on the page could be real. This book features not only the Strand, but also Macy's, FAO Schwarz and Times Square. Definitely a good book to read if you want to be excited about visiting NYC. You can read my review here.
- Where She Went by Gayle Forman. While I'd only recommend this book to those who read If I Stay, this is a book that come people even prefer to the original. It has been three years since Mia's accident, and since then her and Adam's lives have gone done completely different paths, with only music in common. Mia is a Juilliard graduate and budding cello star, while Adam's band's success has made him the star of the tabloids. When Adam goes to Mia's concert, she wants to spend her last day in New York with her former love. As she takes him on a quick tour of her favourite places in the city, from the Staten Island ferry to the bowling alley in the Port Authority, Adam and Mia begin to feel as if they had never been apart. You can read my review here.
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Francie Nolan is a young girl growing up in Brooklyn in 1912. Her family struggles with poverty, Francie delves into her imagination and the books that she reads. As her family goes through adversity, Francie realizes that her family is like the Tree of Heaven that grows nearby her house, in the way that no matter what happens, it still grows.
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Oskar Schell is a nine-year-old boy living in Manhattan’s Upper West Side with his mother and his Grandma. His father died a year ago on September 11th, and Oskar's family is still overwhelmed with grief. When Oskar finds an old key among his father’s possessions, he sets out to find the owner of the key that is his last connection with his father. Oskar has one clue, and finding the key owner will take him through all five boroughs of New York over an eight-month period. You can read the full review here.
- The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. During the Jazz Age, Nick Carraway has just moved to Long Island to start his career. Next door to him lives Jay Gatsby, a mysterious man who holds parties that are attended by most people. Gatsby was once in love with Nick's cousin Daisy, who is now married to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby has come from nothing and become a self made millionaire. Taking place partly in New York city, The Great Gatsby is seen as the Great American novel. Read it now before the movie comes out in December.
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. After Holden Caulfield is expelled from boarding school, he heads home to New York before his family discovers he's no longer in school. As Holden struggles with what is going to happen to him next, he wishes he could protect children like his little sister Phoebe.