We all turn to books for different reasons. Sometimes it’s for a great story; other times it’s for riveting characters, raw honesty, or to learn something new about ourselves. And then there are the books for when we just need to escape the world around us. It’s easy to do that with genres such as fantasy and science fiction, but it’s also a feat that can be accomplished by contemporary and historical fiction. Each of the books on this list have a strong sense of place, so much so that it functions as its own character. Genre varies, from historical fiction to mysteries to graphic novels, but the thing they all share is incredible atmosphere and a vivid setting that’s sure to transport you somewhere else entirely.
Featured illustration: Natalie Nelson