Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the USA.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish where we get a new topic for a top 10 list.

Books have a tendency to make my wanderlust go wild. While I love books that are set in the US, there’s always something refreshing about reading a book that explores a different country, lifestyle and culture. So here are my top 10 books that are set outside of the USA.

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1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Hello Australia. This book still gets to me and remains to be one of my all time favourite contemporaries. Jellicoe Road is both mysterious and emotional and the characters are an absolute delight.

2. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin: The first of my Germany based books. This book is predominantly set in Germany and explores a post-war society under Hitler’s rule. However, the motorcycle race takes us on a cross continental experience as Yael’s journey to the finish line takes us from Germany to Tokyo and along the way Yael has to maneuver herself through some tough scenarios. 

3. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore: Two rival families, a forbidden romance and a touch of magical realism. What more could you want? The families themselves hail from two different cultures. The Corbeau’s from France and the Paloma’s from Spain. It was through the family dynamics that we really got a sense of the cultural exploration, with both families embodying certain stereotypes we associate with the two cultures. 

4. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: Four individuals with four different backgrounds. One from Lithuania, another from Poland, East Prussia and Germany. World War II has reached its peak and together these characters come together fleeing from war in hopes of finding sanctuary among the Wilhelm Gustloff. Little did they know that this ship would later become one of history’s worst maritime tragedies of all time.

5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: This book embodies all the cultural wonders of the beautiful city of Prague. Laini did a great job at capturing the essence of this city’s history and culture. I felt like I was being transported there myself and it made me wish I could simply hop on a plane to visit the location.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: The title says it all. Anna’s journey takes us to Paris, France. Here we get to explore the streets of Paris in all it’s beauty. I loved this aspect of the book and again it made my wanderlust go wild. 

7. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshai Chokshi: Magical. This book is based on Indian Mythology with a sprinkle of Greek mythology. Chokshi’s world building ability is phenomenal and well and truly captures this magical Indian culture. 

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Fancy a trip to China, this is the book for you. This is first installment to the Lunar Chronicles as we’re introduced to a world of cyborgs, androids and the colonization of the moon.

9. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken: We only spend a small amount of time in present day New York. The rest of the book takes us to several different locations through history. From England to France and even Damascus, this book takes us on a fascinating journey through time. 

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: How could I not mention this book? Not only is it among my all time favourites but The Book Thief dives into the realities of war. Narrated by Death, we get to explore humanity at it’s best and worst. It’s undoubtedly one of the most moving tales I’ve ever read.

Those are my 10 non USA based books.
Which books made it to your list? Which countries would you like to see represented in books?

32 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the USA.

  1. I’m so glad you included Jellicoe Road!! It’s one of my all-time favorite books ❤ Melina Marchetta is such a gifted writer, especially when it comes to giving her characters depth and making the reader really feel all of the emotions that the characters are experiencing. Besides, the setting sounds so beautiful that I can't help but wish I could visit sometime 🙂 Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could not have said it better myself. Melina Marchetta’s understanding and exploration of human nature is so amazing. She really gets down to the core of her characters and they’re always so layered and relateable. She’s definitely one of my all time favourite authors.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, Wolf by Wolf and TSTQ! I’d say that the latter probably explores the setting a bit more; I feel like Wolf by Wolf was more about the plot (which is great, in my opinion).

    And The Book Thief, oh god. That book is the longest-standing title on my TBR. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wolf by Wold was definitely more plot driven, which suited the novel and the pacing of it really well. I wonder where Blood for Blood will take us. I have so many theories and no answers and it’s driving me mad haha.

      *gasps* You simply must read The Book Thief. You won’t regret it. It’s just that good. 😀


      1. I’m super excited for Blood for Blood too! Not too long, now. 😀

        I know, I know. The Book Thief is probably THE book I’ve meant to read since forever but haven’t gotten to yet. I even have a physical copy, so the only thing stopping me is… well, nothing. I’m intimidated by it, I think. No one has said anything bad about it and I… am scared? 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah I get it. There’s an expectation for the book to deliver and if it doesn’t it’ll be even more disappointing because of all the positive hype surrounding it.


    1. The Book Thief has to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. I love how it explores the realities of World War II and German society under Hitler’s rule. I still get choked up when I think about Rudy and Papa’s fate.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you approve of this selection haha. The Lunar Chronicles is such an epic series full of shippy goodness. Plus the Rampion crew are basically squad goals!! 😛 Wolf by Wolf remains to be one of the best books I’ve read this year and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel. 😀


  3. So many great books on your list. I absolutely adore Wolf by Wolf, The Book Thief, Cinder, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And, of course, the most wonderful piece of literature, Jellicoe Road. Such beautiful settings, would love to visit them all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a fine taste in book 😉 Jellicoe Road will always have a piece of me. I want to re-read it but I’ve not gathered the courage to do so yet. All the destinations are on my to visit list – I just need to actually go there now haha. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I need to re-read it as well, but with so many books on my TBR list, it is hard to find time. Ill probably do it in a few years when Ill forget certai details and will read it as new.
        Definitely need to visit so many locations, why it has to be so expensive

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The Book Thief and Salt to the Sea are such beautiful but haunting books, and their settings are fantastic. And Wolf by Wolf and Cinder amazing too. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I recommended Between Shades of Gray (another Ruta Sepetys book), and I have Salt to the Sea sitting on my bookshelf at home, waiting to be read. You’ve just reminded me to pick it up already!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The mythology in TSTQ was great and the writing was stunning but I did feel like the secondary characters fell a bit flat. Hopefully the second book will pick up the momentum on that front.

      The Book Thief is definitely a must read!


  6. Glad to see ‘Anna’ on this list (it’s almost a “must” for this week’s topic) and I’m still curious about ‘Passenger.’ At some point I simply MUST read that one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha yes, Anna was an automatic choice for this weeks topic. Passenger is a great time traveling novel but it’s not perfect in terms of pacing but I hope you enjoy it. 😀


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