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Julia and the Art of Practical Travel

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  45 reviews
When her grandmother dies and the once-majestic family estate is sold, eleven-year-old Julia Lancaster and her aunt Constance must take to the road to find Julia’s long-lost mother. They bring with them only the most practical travel things—silver candlestick holders, a few Oriental carpets, some steamer trunks, and Julia’s beloved Brownie camera, which she will use to doc ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published March 1st 2015)
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Showing 1-30
3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  133 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Ms. Yingling
Jul 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This would have been a five star book, but the ending fell apart for me.

When Julia's grandmother passes away, and she and her aunt Constance are forced to sell their Hudson Valley house and all its contents. Constance decides that the two should find Julia's mother, who ran off several years back to pursue a hippie lifestyle. Since it's 1968, they pack up a station wagon with some of their most treasured heirlooms and head off to Greenwich Village with only the vague thought that Rosemary might
Maureen Tully
I liked the writing style, and I liked Julia, though I liked her more the farther she got from the East Coast. She really is an endearing and highly entertaining character. The plot was engaging for the most part, and it certainly had some high points, but it also had some parts that just didn't seem to flow smoothly into the plot. The whole scenario with Tipsy Lips was awkward, and the part with Julia instructing her on party etiquette was a fine line (or maybe not so fine) between being hilari ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I cried more than once, and although some of the content might to subtle for a young audience, other content will be clearly understood. The book tackles some tough questions like how the truth can sound like a lie when a lie can sound like the truth.

But, really I loved Julia. I loved her Aunt, and I loved their courage.
Rick Stuckwisch
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well, we are really sold on author Lesley M.M. Blume. What a great writer! She has such a knack for compelling, believable, interesting, and likable characters, and she knows how to craft a good story, as well. There's such a "ring of truth" to her fiction, firmly set within solid historical contexts, and this book is no exception. Perhaps not as charming as some of her others, it is sweet in its own way, poignant and thought-provoking. Blume clearly knows what it's like to be young girl, and ea ...more
Janice Cafarelli
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
young adult novel still ok for adult reading..set in late 1960's when the matriarch of an old southern family passes away leaving Julia with her Aunt and missing mother as her only relatives,the family financial situation forces the sale of the family homestead and most of their belongings so Julia and her Aunt set off trying to find her mother having one adventure after another and making friends along the way. Julia sends each of her new friends post cards along the way telling of her adventur ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I picked it up after reading Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters. It is very similar. Except in this book, the main character is going on the adventures herself. It is a coming of age story also. It's a bit heavier in content that Cornelia - the main character faces family struggles and in the midst of a confusing time. It juxtaposes characters who wear white gloves with characters who are hippies. It was also hilarious. I read it in one s ...more
Hannah B
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick, little light read. Written in the voice of a preteen girl experiencing both fanciful adventure and heartbreaking reality on her trip across America. Everything got wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end, which a literary critic might not enjoy, but an afternoon reader like myself most certainly does. Fun little book; it was a good brain break.
Sydney Lovell
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Short and sweet, easily read in one sitting. I loved all of the characters, whom really gave life to the story. Though I felt the ending was a bit nonsensical, this is still a charming little read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paiton Jones
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Middle Grade
I feel like the book didn't reach its full potential and should have been longer. I also think she should have had quotations around her dialogue that would have made it easier to read and fully comprehend. Other than those two minor flaws I really did enjoy her writing and I read it very quickly.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Julia lives with her aunt Constance and her grandmother at their ancestral home Windy Ridge. When grandmother dies, they are forced to sell Windy Ridge and its contents. Constance and Julia set out on a cross-country road trip in search of Julia's mom Rosemary, who ran off to become a hippie. They start off in Greenwich Village, but are informed Rosemary has gone to New Orleans. So they drive to the Big Easy and meet a voodoo queen who tells them Rosemary has gone to San Francisco. They drive ac ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel (Life of a Female Bibliophile)
Julia and the Art of Practical Travel takes readers across 1960s America. Our main protagonist is a spunky girl named Julia who has a vast imagination and explores the world around her through the lens of her camera. Along the ride, Julia and her Aunt Constance encounter many different experiences, making this no ordinary road trip.

Julia is more of a tomboy and less of the lady that her grandmother and aunt expect her to be. To me she just seemed misunderstood and doesn’t fit in with most people
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a quirky book. It's 1968, Julia lives with her Aunt Constance and her Grandmother on Windy Ridge, the Hudson Valley estate where Lancasters have always lived. The book opens with Julia's grandmother calling her in to tell her that she has made up her mind that she will die by the next day, and Lancasters always keep their word. Now it is just Julia and her aunt, and unfortunately there isn't enough money to keep the estate. So they sell it to Tippsy Lipps, a wealthy friend of the family ...more
I really liked this one!

Julia and her Aunt Constance hit the road in search of Julia's mother, after her grandmother passes away. They must leave their beloved home behind and begins to travel across the country. Julia's mother is what her grandmother used to refer to as a "dirty hippie". Julia hopes that whatever that means, they will find her mother and find a home as well.

This book took place in the 60s, which is what made me pick it up. I loved Julia's adventures with her aunt. Along their t
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: chapter, nky-clear
Eleven-year-old Julia loves her life at Windy Ridge – her families’ estate in New England. When her grandmother dies, Julia and her aunt Connie must sell the beloved house and most of its contents to pay the bills, however. After settling the estate they set off on a cross country journey across 1960’s America to find Julia’s mother – a hippie who ran away several years ago. Their journey takes them to Greenwich Village, New Orleans, Texas, Nevada and San Francisco. Julia makes friends on her qu ...more
Annina Luck
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Poor little rich girl, Julia, travels with her blue blood aunt across the USA in search of her hippie mom.

Definitely a nice escape with some lovely writing and fun adventures throughout the 1960ies USA with vivid stops in Paw Paw, VW, New Orleans, Texas, and San Francisco. There is a touch of Heloise & whimsey in it as well, since the two travel with oriental carpets, silver candlesticks and flatware from the ancestral home.

I found the photos which the heroine, Julia, takes with her brownie
Stephanie Tournas
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Eleven year old Julia and her aunt Constance travel across the country to find Julia's mother after the family estate is sold. They only pack the practical essentials for their trek: silver candlesticks, an oriental carpet or two, and Julia's Brownie camera. America in 1968 is full of startling things not found where Julia was brought up in Windy Ridge, Connecticut: dirty-haired hippies smoking funny smelling cigarettes in NYC, voodoo parlors in New Orleans and an abandoned ghost town in Nevada. ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
I'm writing this review a few weeks after finishing this book, and to tell you the truth, I can't remember the details very well. I think this is because I never really got into the story. I like the time period and the premise of the story, but it was a little quirky and disconnected for me overall. I love the idea of the brownie camera and the photos that Julia takes during her travels, which were varied and interesting. After all Julia and her Aunt go through, I found the ending of the book a ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school-reads
Beautifully written tour across the US in the 1960s. While on the sad, nostalgic side, a refreshing view of a young girl's learning about life as she travels with her aunt. Julia and Aunt Constance journey across the states in search of Julia's mother and find that they are a family. Written in a travelouge style and featuring Julia's photos using her Brownie camera, "Julia and the Art of Practical Travel" is a simple, intriguing look at the importance of a home, adventure, and a little bit of h ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story began with Julia's grandmother dying and their house and nearly everything in it being sold, leaving Julia and her Aunt Constance homeless. At first the characters seem flat, but in fact it is really that Julia and Constance are flat at the beginning of the story and come to life once they begin their adventure to find Julia's mother. Serendipitous meetings with quirky characters along the way across the country change them and bring them to life.
Overall, I really liked this book. I t
Joni Patterson
After adoring "Corneline" completely (a book of innocent adventure and deep sentiment) I have to admit that "Julia" was a disappointment. Drugs, voodoo and adult nudity are all realities that I'm sure have their place in stories, but none of it worked to charm me this go round. Also- why the lack of quotation marks? I know Blume still has a beautiful skill for words and her characterizations are ever vibrant, but I didn't much care for this at all.
Apr 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5th-grade-plus
Quirky characters and an entertaining story about finding your true family. Julia lives with her grandmother and aunt, and when the grandmother passes away, Julia and her aunt set off on a road trip to find Julia's hippie mother. I liked the use of Julia's Brownie camera to document her trip, and I also liked all of the unusual friends the pair make on the road. Some parts of the story seemed forced or too disconnected and interrupted the story flow for me.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
The author of this book has such a unique writing style! Once you're used to it, then you can enjoy this book. Her style includes a very mysterious tone, and plenty of quirky characters (that you quickly fall in love with). It makes you just want more!

I recommend this book for ages 13 and up, don't let the size of the book fool you! It is centered around a hard truth (they are trying to find the main character's mother). It also touches on war, drugs, and voodoo.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book from the library the other day, because the cover grabbed my attention. As I started reading it, I didn't think too much of it, but then again, I must have, because I kept on reading, and before I knew it...I had finished it. I think the appeal was the characters that Julia met along her search and how her relationship with her aunt transformed. Also there were many times this book brought a smile to my face, and even a laugh--so it made for a good story.
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reading
This is a fun adventure book for upper elementary kids. The addition of Julia's photos taken with her Brownie camera add to the enjoyment. Amidst the crazy things that happen as they drive along are several poignant moments that add a sense of hope and home to the story. I enjoyed it and I will be recommending this story to some young readers that I know!
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I love this author. She is such a good storyteller. This book is about Julia, who is being raised by her ancient grandmother and maiden aunt. Her mother has run off to join a commune in Haight Ashbury. When Grandmother dies, the old family estate has to be sold and Julia and her Aunt head off on an adventure to locate her mother.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Truly enjoyed every bit of this book - Julia's grandmother died and her Aunt takes Julia on an adventure to find her mother who had disappeared on her own years before. Beautiful writing style peppered with black and white pictures taken from Julia's brownie camera. Story had wonderful, real characters and was a gem to read on a Sunday afternoon.
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I was initially put off by the cover. Not sure why, as it is appropriate to the time. But when I finally got past the cover, I enjoyed the book. It's the (MG) story of a young girl and her aunt who take a road trip across America in the late 1960s. They meet quirky people, have adventures. The ending was a disappointment, but I really liked Julia and her story.
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Lesley M. M. Blume is an author, columnist and journalist. She did her undergraduate work at WIlliams College and Oxford University, and took her graduate degree in history from Cambridge University.
She now regularly contributes to Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal and Departures magazine.
“...soon I discovered that a good book is the next best thing after a porch to hide under." -Julia” 0 likes
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