Rural Book List

The books are then large groups corresponding to the buttons below and then into subgroups by authors. Click a button to go to that particular list. The list is ever-growing, so please let me know if you have a suggestion for a book I should add to the list. If you would like to learn more about a book on this list, check the Book Lists & Reviews page to see if it has been reviewed or featured in a book talk series.

Just a Note

I recognize that there are multiple and various rural realities and experiences and just as many identities. The books on this list are grouped and curated in a way that will hopefully help you find stories and experiences that either reflect the students’ identities in your classrooms or provide an invitation for exploration of a rurality (or reality) different from theirs. Organization: First, major category or identity marker. Then by authors name (alpha order by last name). In the second column I have also provided the state (where possible) in which the stories take places as well as other themes/topics of note for a particular book. Wherever possible, links to authors’ pages have been provided.

YA Fiction

*Indicate Whippoorwill Award Winners
Christopher Barzak
The Gone Away Place*
#Midwest
#Natural Disaster
#Ghosts
Joan Bauer
Hope Was Here
#Wisconsin
#Food
#Cancer
Nina Berkhout
The Mosaic
#Montana
#Mental Health #Veterans
Amy Jo Burns
Shiner
#West Virginia
#Mining
#Loss
Jimmy Cajoleas
The Good Demon*
#American South
#Speculative
#Religion
#Drug Addiction
#Loss
Nora Shalaway Carpenter
Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions about Small-Town America

The Edge of Anything




#Anthology
#Divers Ruralities
#Diverse Genres

#North Carolina
#Grief
#Mental Health
#Friendship
Betty Culley
Three Things I Know Are True
#Maine
#Gun Violence
#Grief
Sandra Dallas
Someplace to Call Home*
#Dust Bowl
#Historical
#Great Depression
Rebecca Fjelland Davis
Slider’s Son
#North Dakota
#Historical Fiction
#Great Depression
#Mystery
Sarah Dessen
The Rest of the Story
#Lake
#Parent Loss
#Grief
#Class
Ashley Elston
This Is Our Story
#Louisiana
#Hunting Accident
#Mystery
Shea Ernshaw
The Wicked Deep
Winterwood*
#Oregon
#Magic
#Fantasy
John Green
An Abundance of Katherines
#Tennessee
#Math
#Oral History
Jenny Han
The Summer I Turned Pretty
It’s Not Summer Without You
We’ll Always Have Summer
#North Carolina
#Series
#Love Stories
Michael Harmon
Last Exit to Normal
#Montana
#LGBTQIA+
#Relocation
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town
#Alaska
#Colorado
#Sexual Abuse
Peter Brown Hoffmeister
Too Shattered For Mending
#Idaho
#Mystery
#Family
E.K. Johnston
Exit, Pursued by a Bear
#Canada
#Cheerleading
#Rape
AS King
Me and Marvin Gardens
#Pennsylvania
#Farm Loss
#Friendship
#Magical Realism
Daniel Kraus
The Monster Variations

Rotters






Scowler
#A Small Town
#Murder Mystery
#Horror

#Iowa
#Relocation
#Parent Loss
#Horror

#Family Farm
#Horror
#Blood and Gore
Claire Legrand
Sawkill Girls
#Island Setting
#Horse Farms
#Speculative
Cynthia Lord
Touch Blue
#Maine
#Island
#Foster Care
#Relocation
Jennifer Mathieu
Moxie
#Texas
#Zine
#Feminism
Mindy McGinnis
The Female of the Species
#Ohio
#Rape Culture
#Violence
Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal
The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek
#North Carolina
#Speculative
#Illness
Emma Mills
Famous in a Small Town
#Midwest
#Band
#Family
#Secrets
Jean Mills
Larkin on the Shore*
#Nova Scotia
#Arson
#Belonging
Jake Mosher
The Last Buffalo Hunter
#Montana
#Wilderness
#Family
Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Dairy Queen
#Wisconsin
#Family Farming
#Football
Julie Murphy
Dumplin’


Puddin’


#Texas
#Beauty Pageant
#Body Positivity

#Texas
#Friendship
#Body Positivity
Rainbow Rowell
Pumpkinheads
#Nebraska
#Graphic Novel
#Divers Characters
Kristin Russell
A Sky For Us Alone
#Appalachia
#Drug Addiction
#Family
Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter

Trouble


#Maine
#Foster Care
#Teen Parenthood

#Maine
#Car Accident
#Racial Tension
Angie Smibert
Bone’s Gift* 
Lingering Echoes
The Truce
#Appalachia
#Series
#Historical Fiction
#Speculative Elements
Tim Tharp
Knights of Hill Country
#Oklahoma
#Football
#Blended Family
Lillie Vale
Small Town Hearts
#Maine
#Tourism
#Friendship
#Love Story
Vince Vawter
Paperboy


Copyboy*
#Tennessee
#Historical Fiction
#Stutter

#Mississippi River
#Historical Fiction
Sandra Neil Wallace
Muckers
#Arizona
#Football
#Historical Fiction
Suzanne Williams
Bull Rider
#Nevada
#Rodeo
#Impact of War
Alecia Whitaker
The Queen of Kentucky
#Kentucky
#Farming
#Identity
Darcy Woods
Smoke
#Michigan
#PTSD
#Marijuana
Melissa Wyatt
Funny How Things Change
#West Virginia
#Leaving for College
#Love Story
Jeff Zentner
Serpent King



In the Wild Light





#Tennessee
#Class
#Religion

#Tennessee
#Class
#Grief
#Drug Abuse
Middle Grades Fiction
Ann Braden
The Benefits of Being an Octopus
#Vermont
#Class
#Gun Debate
Peggy Brooke
Jake’s Orphan
#North Dakota
#Farming
#Historical Fiction
Leslie Connor
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
#Apple Orchard
#Loss
#Learning Disability
Jean Craighead George
My Side of the Mountain


On the Far Side of the Mountain

Frightful’s Mountain
#New York
#Wilderness Survival
#Running Away

#Sequel
#Siblings

#Animal Conservation
#Human/Animal Relationships
Kate DiCamillo
Because of Winn Dixie
Raymie Nightengale
Beverly Right Here
Louisian’s Way Home*
#Florida
#Series
#Friendship
#Loneliness
#Loss
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Shouting at the Rain
#Cape Cod
#Loss
#Family
Jennifer Jacobson
The Dollar Kids
#A Struggling Small Town
#Family
#Community
#Shooting Death
Kekla Magoon
The Season of Styx Malone
#Indiana
#Foster Care
#Entrepreneurship
Julie Murphy
Dear Sweet Pea
#Texas
#Divorce
#Friendship
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Blizzard’s Wake
#North Dakota
#Historical Fiction
#Parent Loss
Anne Nesbet
The Orphan Band of Springdale*
#Maine
#Relocation
#Historical Fiction
#WWII
Wilson Rawls
Where the Red Fern Grows
#Oklahoma
#Hunting
#Dogs
Jason Reynolds
as brave as you
#Virginia
#Disability
#Guns
#Courage
Chris Rylander
Codename Zero
#North Dakota
#Adventure
#Crime-Fighting
Gary D. Schmidt
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
#Maine
#Race Relations
#Friendship
#Historical Fiction
Native/Indigenous Rural Experiences
Sharon Creech
Walk Two Moons


Chasing Redbird


#Ohio
#Loss
#Storytelling
#Relationships

#Kentucky
#Family
#Loss
Eric Gansworth
Give Me Some Truth*



Apple: Skin to the Core




If I Ever Get Out of Here


#New York
#Music
#Love Story

#New York
#Memoir
#Poetry

#New York
#Music
#Friendship
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
The Smell of Other People’s Houses
#Alaska
#Class
#Teen Pregnancy
Michael Hutchison
The Case of Windy Lake*
#Canada
#Environmental Issues
#Mystery
#Middle Grades
Witi Ihimaera 
The Whale Rider
#New Zealand
#Environment
#Conservation
Kent Meyers
The Work of Wolves
#South Dakota
#Horse Training
#Love Story
Dawn Quigley
Apple in the Middle
#North Dakota
#Race Relations
#Relocation
Marcie R. Rendon
Murder on the Red River
Girl Gone Missing
#NorthDakota
#Series
#Mystery
Black Rural Experiences
Kacen Callender
Hurricane Child* 




King and the Dragonflies




#US Virgin Islands
#Queer
#Speculative
#Middle Grades

#Louisiana
#Loss
#Queer
#Abuse
Tami Charles
Muted
#New York
#Music
#Class
#Abuse
#Queer
Leah Johnson
You Should See Me in a Crown
#Midwest
#Queer
#Class
#Prom
Varian Johnson
The Parker Inheritance
#South Carolina
#Mystery
#History
#Middle Grades
T.R. Simon
Zora and Me
Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground*
Zora and Me: The Summoner
#Florida
#Series
#Mystery
#Historical Fiction
Latinx Rural Experiences
David Bowles
They Call Me Guero*
#Texas
#Queer
Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore
Miss Meteor
#Oregon
#Queer
#Magical Realism
#Beauty Pageant
Laura Taylor Namey
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
#England
#Relocation
#Food
Asian American Rural Experiences
Linda Sue Park
Prairie Lotus
#Dakota Territory
#Historical Fiction
#Middle Grades
Muslim American Experiences.
Tahereh Mafi
A Very Large Expanse of Sea
#A Small Town
#9/11
#Islamaphobia
Queer Rural Experiences
Becky Albertalli
Simon Vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda
#Georgia
#Blackmail
#Love Story
Jaye Robin Brown
The Key to You and Me
#North Carolina
#Horseback Riding
#Love Story
Emily Danforth
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
#Montana
#Gay Conversion
#Religion
#Parent Loss
J.R. Jamison
Hillbilly Queer
#Indiana
#Missouri
#Family
#Relationships
#Memoir
Jo Knowles
Where the Heart Is*
#Farming
#Class
#Middle Grade
Julie Murphy
Pumpkin



Ramona Blue


#Texas
#Fat Phobia
#Drag

#Mississippi
#Hurricane Katrina
#Friendship
Julie Anne Peters
Far from Xanadu
#Kansas
#Unrequited Love
#Suicide
#Parent Loss
Amber Smith
Something like Gravity*
#Trans
#Loss
#Love Story
Courtney Stevens
Dress Codes for Small Towns
#Kentucky
#Religion
#Love Story
Aiden Thomas
Lost in the Never Woods
#Oregon
#Mystery
#Fantasy
Nita Tyndall
Who I Was With Her
#A Small Town
#Loss and Grief
#Love Story
(Dis)Ability in Rural YA
Christina Henry
The Girl in Red
#A Small Town
#Retelling
#Postapocalyptic
#Pandemic
#Amputee
Courtney Summers
Sadie
#Colorado
#Class
#Sexual Abuse
#Stutter

Adult Fiction

Louise Erdrich
Love Medicine
The Beet Queen
Tracks
The Bingo Palace


The Night Watchmen






Plague of Doves
The Roundhouse



#North Dakota
#Series
#Indigenous
#Family



#North Dakota
#Historical Fiction
#Native Dispossession



#North Dakota
#Murder
#Family
#Crime

Jim Harrison
Dalva



The River Swimmer: Novellas



#Nebraska
#Adoption
#History

#Michigan
#Love Story
#Family
Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer








The Bean Trees
Pigs in Heaven



#Appalachia
#Farming
#Conservation
#Love
#Loss





#Kentucky
#Arizona
#Relocation
#Series

Delia Owens 
Where the Crawdads Sing
#North Carolina
#Historical Fiction
#Mystery
#Fishing
Jojo Moyes
The Giver of Stars
#Kentucky
#Historical Fiction
#Love Story
#Traveling Library
Kim Michele Richardson
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
#Kentucky
#Blue People
#Historical Fiction
#Traveling Library
Rainbow Rowell
Landline 
#Nebraska
#Magical Realism
#Marriage

Nonfiction

Tom Brokaw
A Long Way From Home
#South Dakota
#Ranching
#Memoir
#Journalism
Carl Hamilton
In No Time At All
#Iowa
#Autobiography
#Historical
Linda Hasselstrom
Going Over East: Reflections of a Woman Rancher
#South Dakota
#Ranching
#Essays
James Hearst
Time Like a Furrow
#Farming
#Essays
#History
Gary Kelley
Moon of the Snowblind
#Iowa
#Indigenous
#History
Haven Kimmel
A Girl Named Zippy
#Indiana
#Memoir
Joseph Marshall III
The Dance House: Stories from Rosebud
#Rosebud Sioux Reservation
#Indigenous
#Essays
Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics
#Tennessee
#Music
#Memoir
Sarah Smarsh
Heartland




She Come By It Natural



#Kansas
#Class
#Farming
#Memoir


#Kansas
#Tennessee
#Rural Feminism
#Dolly Parton
#Essay
Jeanette Walls 
The Glass Castle 





Half Broke Horses




#West Virginia
#Southwest Desert Towns
#Alcoholism
#Memoir


#Arizona
#Historical
#Ranching
#True-Life Novel
Tara Westover
Educated
#Idaho
#Survivalists
#Isolation
#Education
#Memoir
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