On this day in 1818, Illinois became the 21st state. To celebrate, we're looking at books that take place in, or written by people from, the Land of Lincoln.
The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes. After the accident, Paige was shipped off to France so her mother could do damage control. Paige is expected to step back into her picture-perfect life when she returns, but she finds it has shifted and moved on without her. From her new prospective, she's not entirely sure she wants to step back into it, anyway, especially when her old friends throw horrible and false accusations at a favorite teacher. Backes lives in Chicago.
Divergent by Veronica Roth. In a dystopian Chicago, every 16-year-old must choose a faction to join. Each faction cultivates a different virtue--honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, and intelligence. Tris needs to decide if she stays in the same faction as her family, or follows her heart to the faction that calls to her. Follow it with Insurgent. Roth lives in Chicago.
The F- It List by Julie Halpern. Alex decides to forgive her ex-best friend just in time to learn that Becca is dying of cancer. Becca won't get to finish her bucket list, so Alex will do it for her. Halpern lives outside Chicago.
Inhuman by Kat Falls. After a disaster, a virus turned people into monsters, making the survivors abandon the US east of the Mississippi. Lane's always lived near the wall, never wanting to cross. But when someone she loves does, she has to follow and discover the truth about what's out there. Falls lives in Evanston.
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez. Carmen is on track to win the Guarneri competition. She's a violin virtuoso, but with an overbearing mother and under intense pressure, she now needs anti-anxiety drugs just to get through lessons, let alone performances. Then she meets her biggest competition, and he's definitely not what she needs, or possibly he's exactly what she needs. (This takes place in Chicago)
Love Drugged by James Klise. Jamie's biggest fear is that he'll be outed as gay, so he starts dating a girl. But she likes him in a way he can't like her-- but her father has developed a drug that will "cure" him. He's all for it, but the side-effects and lies may be too much for him to handle. Klise was born in Peoria and currently lives in Chicago.
Virals by Kathy Reichs. Tory Brennan (niece of Temperance Brennan, star of Reich's adult novels that inspired the TV show Bones) lives on a small island off the South Carolina coast. While exploring the island, they come across a creepy research lab that's doing experiments on parvovirus-- experiments that mean Tory and her friends can (and will) be infected. The first in a series, follow it with Seizure. Reichs was born in Chicago.
Chime by Franny Billingsley. Briony has the sight. She can see the spirits and creatures, she follows the Old Ones. The Boggy Mun is killing the town's children with the swamp fever. Her sister, Rose, is sick. The Boggy Mun tells her if she can stop Mr. Claybourne from draining the swamp, he'll make everyone well. But things are complicated by Eldric, Mr. Claybourne's man-child son, with is mane of hair and easy ways. Billingsley's father was a professor at University of Chicago and she lived in Chicago as an adult.
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. In 1872, Syrenka fell in love with a human and left the ocean. Today, Hester works at a historical reenactment site and fears dying in childbirth, like every woman in her family for generations. Syrenka's decision has consequences that linger, and as the stories intertwine, Hester's determined to figure them out. Fama lives in Chicago (fun fact! Her dad just won the Nobel in Economics!)
For more about Illinois, check out our list of Chicago Stories. What are we missing? Also, HUGE thanks to Molly Backes, for giving me the names of more Illinois authors than I could possibly use. She's the greatest. You should read her book.
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