Growing up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, I always thought it was neat to read books about where I lived and the places I frequented.
Now, as an adult and Amazon bestselling author, I have used my hometown and city as the location for a number of my books, but I know I’m not alone. (I mean, this list proves it!)
I figured it was worthwhile to put together a booklist based on the Steel City if there are others who are interested in references to Kennywood, the Pirates/Steelers/Penguins, yinzers, Primanti Brothers, etc.
Take a look and let me know if I’ve missed any or what else I should add!
1. The Extended Summer of Anna and Jeremy
Is one summer enough time to change everything?
Anna Wright is always on her best behavior — turning in homework assignments early, keeping her head down during disagreements, and living life vicariously through action movies.
Faced with the reality of her reputation as a lame, high school cliché, she decides now is the time for a change, so when hotshot basketball player Jeremy Blake interrupts her late-night plotting over a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, she convinces him to help.
As they explore the summer together, Anna can’t help but wonder what else will fall into place as autumn approaches.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
A years-long #1 New York Times bestseller, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and Best Book for Reluctant Readers, and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.
3. Ways to Disappear
Deep in gambling debt, the celebrated Brazilian writer Beatriz Yagoda is last seen holding a suitcase and a cigar and climbing into an almond tree. She abruptly vanishes.
In snowy Pittsburgh, her American translator Emma hears the news and, against the wishes of her boyfriend and Beatriz’s two grown children, flies immediately to Brazil. There, in the sticky, sugary heat of Rio, Emma and her author’s children conspire to solve the mystery of Yagoda’s curious disappearance and staunch the colorful demands of her various outstanding affairs: the rapacious loan shark with a zeal for severing body parts, and the washed-up and disillusioned editor who launched Yagoda’s career years earlier.
4. Metallic Red (The Royally Human Vampire #1)
Mina Byron wants to be just like every other high school senior, but as one of the only half-human, half-vampires in existence, she’s far from normal.
After having the first eighteen years of her life dictated by whatever is best for the vampires around her, she wants to embrace her humanity.
When her uncle, the vampire King of Appalachia, agrees to send her to a private high school and integrate into the culture of the living and breathing, it’s not without sacrifice on her part. As she attempts to find herself, love, and friendship in the human world, she has to reconcile the future he has planned for her in the vampire one.
5. Greenhorn on the Frontier
Just before the Revolutionary War, nineteen-year-old Harry and his twenty-three-year-old sister, Sukey, move their few possessions by hand cart to start their own farm on the western Pennsylvania frontier. A realistic portrayal of frontier life in colonial America that follows the adventures of two teenagers struggling to survive. Replete with references to the colonies, relations with the Delaware and Shawnee tribes, and a frank look at slavery, this novel deals with all of the important issues of the Revolutionary War era.
Stephen King’s ultimate evil vehicle of terror, Christine: the frightening story of a nerdy teenager who falls in love with his vintage Plymouth Fury. It’s love at first sight, but this car is no lady.
Evil is alive in Libertyville. It inhabits a custom-painted red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine and young Arnold Cunningham, who buys it.
Along with Arnold’s girlfriend, Leigh Cabot, Dennis Guilder attempts to find out the real truth behind Christine and finds more than he bargained for: from murder to suicide, there’s a peculiar feeling that surrounds Christine—she gets revenge on anyone standing in her path.
Can Dennis save Arnold from the wrath of Christine?