On this day in 1778, James Cook "discovered" Hawaii (I mean, it's not like the people who were already living there didn't know about it!) So, today's list are books that take place in the Aloha state! And they might make a good book-based getaway in these cold and dreary days.
Name Me Nobody by Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Emi-Lou struggles with her weight and her changing relationship with her best friend. When Von finds a girlfriend, Emi-Lou struggles both with Von's sexuality and with the fact she has someone else in her life. Emi-Lou's narration is filled with local slang and customs, showing a different side to the islands.
Blue Skin of the Sea by Graham Salisbury. Salisbury is probably the most prolific Hawaiian writer for young people-- I had a hard time choosing which of his books to include. In this one, Salisbury tells a story in interconnected short stories about Sonny Mendoza, a boy who comes from a long line of fishermen, but is terrified of the sea.
Eddie Would Go: The Story of Eddie Aikau, Hawaiian Hero and Pioneer of Big Wave Surfing by Stuart Holmes Coleman. Written for adults, teens will enjoy this biography of Eddie Aikau, a major surfing pioneer. In addition to big wave surfing, Eddie was part of the movement to explore and celebrate Hawaiian identity.
Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story by Joyce Moyer Hostetter. In 1860, Pia is torn from his home and family and sent to a remote island, because he's sick. In the leprosy settlement, he has to put his survival skills to use in order to survive.
Strange Relations by Sonia Levitin. Marne (a secular Jew) is excited to spend the summer with her aunt in Hawaii. She has plans to hang out on the beach and meet cute boys, but when she gets there, her aunt's family is not what she thought. Her aunt, uncle, and 7 cousins are Chassids, and Marne has to adjust to their way of life.
A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer. Adam has just moved to Hawaii when Pearl Harbor happens. Located near the bombing, Adam is quickly drafted in the rescue and recovery effort, all while desperately searching for his father, who was on board. The first in a series, the next one is A Boy No More.
To Hawaii, with Love by Michael P. Spradlin. On the outside, Rachel is a spoiled Hollywood brat shipped off to boarding school to avoid scandal. In reality, the school is a training school for spies. Simon Blankenship things he's a reincarnation of a Roman god and that Rachel is the reincarnation of his nemesis. He's stealing artifacts hidden by ancient Centurions, unless Rachel can stop him. The second in the Spy Goddess series, readers may want to start with Spy Goddess, Book One: Live and Let Shop.
Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore. Nick is a biologist studying whales off the coast of Hawaii who has spent a little too much time in the sun. He's convinced that he saw the words "Bite Me" written on a whale's tail. And that the whales are calling his donors and ordering lunch. But when his lab gets trashed and photos go missing, something weird is going on. Written for adults, older teens will love Moore's smart, outrageous, laugh-out-loud sense of humor.
What books am I missing that take place in Hawaii or are written by Hawaiians?
Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.