Monday, August 29, 2011

Top 10 Best Settings for YA novels- Part 1

So this is a post about novel settings. You’ve got to love these books which are set in places that seem nearly magical. By magical, I don’t mean there has to be unicorns or singing fountains, but there has to be the thrill of discovery, of seeing a whole world through a character’s eyes. So here we go with my list of awesome novel settings!
Number 1: The World within a World
This has to be my favourite of all time. There’s just something about there being a hidden world right in ours! It’s totally fascinating to think that you could be standing at Kings’ Cross between platform nine and ten, on September 1, and that the Hogwarts Express is somewhere just beyond...or imagine suddenly walking into something like a gateway to Faery... This is always amazing because we KNOW the world the character inhabits in the beginning, and the magical otherworld is always just beyond the veil...
My Best Books in this Category: Harry Potter, which wins hands down, and Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black’s works are notable. So are the Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl series.
Number 2: The Future
Oh, this setting is absolutely FABULOUS. Because, you know, I can say people in the future are orange skinned, and no one can dispute me. Anything is possible in the future. Everything is possible in the future, because the future is unknown. Awesome, right? And also there’ll be a lot of techy gadgetry which I’m so mad about.
My Best Books: The Hunger Games trilogy, Neil Gaiman’s Snow Crash, Enders Game, and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which really tops this list).

Number 3: The Closed and Cramped
This setting is mostly exploited by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. You know, putting people in a building or someplace cramped and working on their emotions. This setting is quite frightening, basically because there’s nowhere to run. Typically, it’s pretty high on my list.
1408, Under the Dome and the Shining by King, Strangers by Koontz, 1222 by Anne Holt and the Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff are prime examples.



Number 4: The Exotic
To do this kind of writing really well, you must have first travelled somewhere exotic, or lived somewhere exotic. Living in India has its greatest perk in that you can find a lot to write about if you just walk out on a random street. My favourite setting in India is the pre-Independence era. I love books set in the stranger European countries: especially Romania, Norway, Finland, and my ABSOLUTE favourites ever: Istanbul, Prague and Bucharest.
Orhan Pamuk, William Dalrymple and Elizabeth Kostova comes to mind instantly. I am a huge fan of Kostova.
Number 5: Small Town America

From Kristen Hubbard's website

I don’t know what it is about this that attracts me, it just does. I like the sentimentalism and moral values that seem to be in the fabric of the characters’ mould. I like towns where everyone knows everyone else, everyone still lives in a kind of past. It’s sweet, I think, most books set in this kind of setting.
 Of course, again, Stephen King uses a lot of small town setting...Recently; I read Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard and thought the town of Washokey was described beautifully. I also enjoy the description of Gatlin in the Caster Chronicles. Recently, I also liked Graveminder by Melissa Marr, set in Claytown and Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves, set in Portero, Texas.
Next Week, I'll do the rest of the Settings Post :)
So do you have a favourite setting for a book? Or do you have a specific book in mind you think is the best of any of these categories? Leave me a comment!

3 comments:

  1. I love the way you split these up! My favourite is definitely A World Within a World :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I totally agree with world #1! I love to go to Hogwarts and all the other magical worlds in HP!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was browsing for ideas for a creative writing session in a school and I came across your great list. I really like the way you've characterised these. Interesting!
    Caroline

    http://www.carolinegreen.net/

    ReplyDelete

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