Top Ten Settings I’d Like To See More Of In YA Books

toptentuesssTop Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Settings I’d Like To See More Of In YA Books


This was hard to narrow down because pretty much you know I have this insatiable desire to be everywhere I’m not and I want to go to ALL OF THE PLACES. There’s places that I’m going to always want that are common these days (Paris, London, boarding schools etc) but here are the ones that I need right NOW. Pretty much you can just add every country in the world and it could be on this list though. I need foreign settings!


 Ok..whatever. I know, there are a TON of beach settings (my faves — Moonglass, The Summer I Turned Pretty) in YA lit and literature in general but I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT. Something about the beach just always appeals to me because I love those sweet summer days. I WOULD like to see more exotic beach locales too — like really ritzy type stuff so I can dream about cabana boys and seaside mansions.

TTT2I guess technically it wouldn’t be YA but I want more college settings. College was SO FUN and so  crazy — all the adventures we had PLUS there is so much great self discovery that happens there. I miss my college years because, despite the fact I was stressed out with a million things to do, there was always time for a cake fight or a random trip to the beach or piling as many people into the car and driving to the city and getting lost. AHHHH. Please, bring me quality college stories!

TTT3Original image from here.

Ok, please tell me nobody else had summer camp fantasies where they would meet some hot guy and spend the whole summer canoeing, roasting marshmallows and then making out at sunset only…only to be spied on by everyone in your bunk or pushed in the water. COME ON GUYS SUMMER CAMP WOULD BE FUN. Minus the horrible hair I’d have and the mosquitoes. Such good romance potential and friendship potential and NO PARENTS so lots of shenanigans 😛 OH and I’d even go for a slasher horror book in a summer camp setting.

TTT4Original Image of Rome by Moyan Brenn

My dreams came true in college when I went to Rome but unfortunately all the pictures I have to show of the ancient looking part are scarce because I left my dumb batteries in the hotel. FAIL. I KNOW. Anyways, I am fascinated by ancient Rome and would die for some books set there — whether historical romance (hot gladiators!) or an alternate history or a paranormal. I don’t care. I want it. Actually, I’ll take any ancient setting — Egypt, Greece, China. I WANT.

TTT5Original Image Here

I went on a cruise when I was a teenager and pretty much we spent the whole time chasing boys and dancing and trying to flirt with the bartenders to serve us. TOO BAD I LOOKED LIKE I WAS TWELVE. I feel like a cruise ship could be amazing OR OR OR that cool A Semester At Sea program would be a fun setting. I’ll even take the Titanic or a pirate ship. Ahoy Matey!

tttt6Basically since I read Unearthly by Cynthia Hand recently I have been craving a rural/country setting. COWBOYS. But also I love the tall grass, the mountains, the landscapes and the fresh air. ALL OF IT. Plus it makes me miss where I grew up! Love to slow it down a bit when I go visit.

ttt7When I was a young little dreamer I would always dream about living in a castle and then when I visited Versailles I was pretty sure it would be the best thing EVER. It’s SO EFFING HUGE. SO many rooms. I want castles in historical fiction and maybe even castles in the contemporary setting a la Princess Diaries. Throw in some dragons for good measure.


Original Image here.

ONE DAY. I will travel to Africa. I have just always been so in love the beautiful photographs I’ve seen but also the history (though it sometimes is so hard for me to read) and the people and their lives. I used to read a ton of memoirs and fiction set in Africa.


Original Image  Here

I just want to go to ALL OF ASIA! I’ve read some great adult fiction (Memoirs of A Geisha!!) and travelogues set in Asia but not so much in the YA department. Recently I did read When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney, set partly in Japan, and it was lovely! I would definitely like some fantasy set in Asia (Cindy Pon’s series!) and just some contemporary travel-ish/study abroad and more GEISHAS! They fascinate me.

I want worlds I don’t even recognize. NARNIAS. WONDERLANDS. ETC.  ETC. I love made up elements and intricate worldbuilding.

So tell me…what about YOU? What settings do you want to see?  I want recommendations for any books that fit t he bill for things I want to see more of! Maybe I just haven’t heard of them or know they have that setting!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Cool ideas, Jamie – love the castle notion. 🙂

  2. Your list is SO PRETTY. Also, CASTLES. CASTLES CASTLES CASTLES. And summer camps! And Asia! That one totally almost made my list. Well, actually, your whole list rocks.

  3. I thought I was going to be super original when I put castles & Africa on my list, but apparently not, haha. I want more stories in castles *so* badly though, and I’ve seen it on 3 of the 5 TTT I’ve read already, not including my own, so that means there’s a market for it. Please, authors, write this for us.

    Also, yes to more Narnias(my favorite children’s story *ever*. I still read the entire series once a year, and I wore out my 7-in-1 copy so much that the binding literally split down the middle. The book didn’t come away from the binding, but it actually tore in two. That was a new one for me), and to more college settings.

  4. LOVE the castles choice and Ancient Rome! Obsessed with Italy and I think I had at least 2 cities on my list! I really like the summer camp idea, too! And yes, I did used to have a summer camp day dream…*sigh* Great list! 🙂

  5. I definitely agree with all of these. As for books in college, that is what most new adult novels are about. I really liked The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden. I’d recommend that one.

    Seriously great picks.

    Here’s mine

    ~Danica Page

    Taking It One Page at a Time

  6. I don’t know if this counts but I always want more school detention settings, the Saturday detention a la breakfast club where that random assortment of people are forced together in a space and shenanigans ensue. Love it.

  7. We’ve got a couple in common: castles and fantastical worlds. I just love when an author can totally create a world on their own. It’s awe-inspiring.

    I don’t have boats, exactly, but I did include pirate ships!

    I never would have thought of Ancient Rome, but you are so right! I can’t think of one YA title off the top of my head set in ancient Rome or even Greece. I will be keeping a look out from now on.

    Pretty Deadly Reviews

  8. I also had boats and college/university on my list….and then lumped several of yours together with “other countries” LOL!

    Great list!

    Bree 🙂
    Coffee Bean Bookshelf

  9. I would LOVE more books about summer camps! I don’t think I’ve ever actually read any. I saw the Parent Trap though 🙂 And yes to Rome! I love that city so much, and I’m lucky I get to go back to it this year to visit my friend. Love your picks!

  10. I agree with you, you can never get enough of beach settings. When I read a book set on a beach I can almost feel the sunshine and the waves and I am instantly relaxed.
    And yes to Ancient Rome/China/Japan/whatever I love historicals especially those set in time periods I don’t know much about (but is there better way to learn than to read a fun book). 🙂 ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ really opened my eyes about Japanese customs. I also found out that geisha face creams had bird poop in them, but I digress. If you are looking for something similar give a try to Pearl S. Buck – she has a lot of great historical books about China.
    I didn’t write my top ten today, it was a guest post by Laura Lam, but since I am a fantasy/sf fan, it feels like she read my mind. You can read more (if you are interested) here: Guest Post by Laura Lam: Top Ten Settings I’d Like to See More of in YA Fiction

  11. I’m reading a book set in 406BC Italy atm and it’s pretty good! I had Africa and college/university on my list as well and I’d also love to see more books set on boats or ships. I’ve read very few set on a boat but what I have read I’ve really liked.

  12. Oh! We have so many in common! I have summer camps on my list too. I was a summer camp nerd and I always dreamed of falling hopelessly in love while there. 🙂 I put wilderness on my list, but the Unearthly setting is exactly what I had in mind! Great choices, Jamie!
    My Top Ten

  13. Awesome list! 🙂

  14. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    I will never, EVER get tired of beach stories. They are MY FAVORITE. Forever & always.

  15. I have to admit a story set in Ancient Rome would be pretty awesome though I’m not sure how it would work exactly. I just know the idea of it sounds amazing. For a good summer camp story, Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally was really good!

  16. I’m totally kicking myself for not putting summer camps on my list! They are so much fun! I had boats on my list as well. It’s such a great setting but not used nearly enough!

  17. I would LOVE more college settings! I feel like there aren’t a lot of them in the world. High school? Sure. College? Nope. 100% new worlds are good too.

  18. Love the pictures to go with them all!!!
    Defintely more college and I always love the beach too 🙂 I never went to summer camp but always wanted to! Maybe that’s why I love the setting so much… That and years of watching Salute Your Shorts.


    College: Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson – I always rec this one. It’s so good and no one seems to know of it!

    The Beach:
    Tropical Kiss by Jan Coffrey
    Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

    Summer Camp:
    Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally – March 2013 release and it’s bible camp but still great!
    Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

    Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

    The Country:
    Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
    Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
    Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald
    Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

    I hope summer of these strike your fancy! (I so wish there were more YA castle stories. sigh.)

  20. You picked some great ones! I have to agree that I absolutely want more YA set in the Ancient World. I was actually thinking of writing one myself, but let’s be a little more realistic here 😛 I did read some enjoyable ones by Adele Geras. She wrote about ancient Greece from the women’s perspective, which was interesting because everything was all about the guys back then. I liked both ‘Troy’ and ‘Ithaka’.
    As for summer camp, I read one that was set in what was like a reform summer camp and it was very different. I didn’t love it, but it was interesting, at least. It was The Girls of No Return by Erin Saladin.
    And college. We could definitely use more college books that aren’t just romance-y. I’m actually reading one right now that’s set to be indie published in May that has a similar idea to Pivot Point in that there is the split timeline thing going on, but I think it’s darker than Pivot Point will be, and it’s about college students. It’s called Bitter Angel by Megan Hand and if you want people college-age, I’d keep an eye out for it this spring! 🙂

  21. The beach, college, country, boats! Yes. I like all of these.

    I would love to see a cruise summer vacation. (Maybe Ill write that someday haha.)

    Have you checked out Anatomy of a Single Girl? College! Bam!
    Country? Queen of Kentucky and yes someone else mentions Where I Belong, or how about a hot romance novel like Close Enough to Touch?

    Love your pictures!

  22. first off, PRETTY POST!!!

    second, omg our castle descriptions are eerily the same down to the Princess Diaries bit!! I would LOVE more books set in Asia. I’ve read a pretty decent amount of Japanese literature I can rec to you if you want but they’re fiction/not travelogues. my friend went to Africa and her photos are AMAZING! I didn’t think I would ever want to go to Africa but now I kind of do. it would be such a unique trip. and YESSS to made up worlds. like umm wizarding world of Harry Potter, cough.

  23. Awww, your list is so pretty. I just want to stare at it. Love the settings too. 🙂

  24. Let me start this comment off by telling you that I adore the graphics/photos you used in this post. They’re so pretty! And visually appealing, which is also bad because it makes me want to go to ALL the places.

    We have a lot of places in common, which doesn’t surprise me, as we both share that love and longing to just travel and see all the places we can see! But I’m totally in agreement about two that I really didn’t think of but wish I had – summer camp + college. I was watching The Parent Trap yesterday, and the summer camp part had me wishing I could have had that experience too!

  25. I had to LOL about the horrible hair at summer camp. You and me both! I don’t think I’d be attracting any guys with the frizz and lack of hair straightener. Yikes.

    Great list – 🙂

  26. You pretty much nailed it with all of these, especially the rural settings!

    I also think I would also add the desert to this. Not enough desert books!

  27. Ahh! Sorry to hear about the batteries incident when you were in Rome, that really sucks =( But Rome is such an awesome place, I miiiisssss it lol <333

    I can't believe I forgot to mention university in my list, it was the one thing I always wanted to read more books set in when I was in undergrad, lol

  28. I like everything on your list. BIG SURPRISE THERE, haha. I would love Africa and boats and ancient Rome and college. And there is ALWAYS room for more beach books. Great list!

  29. Awesome list Jamie! Beach, college, summer camp…ok, so I agree with all of them. I <3 Versailles. I'd love read something set there or any palace/castle. I'd also love more books in country/rural settings, especially where the characters aren't portrayed as backwoods hicks.

    My Top Ten Tuesday

  30. These are really great choices, Jamie! I definitely dig the college settings (I’m seriously SO over the high school scene) and the summer camps, perhaps because college is where you’re starting the journey of self-discovery and summer camps because I never actually went to one. Plus, thanks to my love of Friday the 13th, I can envision some really creepy stuff happening there!

    Pirates — YES. Historical ancient places. DOUBLE YES. What about time travel? I could get down with that because you could get a little bit of everything all in one book. How awesome would that be?!

  31. Great list! I have Asia (well, Japan & South Korea), Ancient Rome, and castles on my list too. And as for made-up worlds, I put Middle-Earth on my list because I wish Tolkien had written more books.

    Made-Up Worlds – Almost anything by Diana Wynne Jones, the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, and Splintered by A.G. Howard (just read it, and it was awesome!)

    I wish I knew some good books to recommend outside of the fantasy worlds, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a story that takes place at summer camp or on a cruise ship.

    Here’s my TTT

  32. I totally agree with you that tehre should be more books that take part at college. I still think it is surprising that tehre are so many YA books and so little of them take place at college. I also would love to see more country/rural settings, unearthly by cynthia hand really is an amazing book and describes that place so well. I myself am a huge fan of books that take place in an environment with lots of nature.

  33. I loved Narnia. I just finished the series and I’m not over the fact that there are no more Narnia books.

    Also, I’d love to read more books set in colleges. I read the YA and I read about grown-ups, but something in between would be nice.

  34. Elizabeth D says:

    Great post. I agree with the rural/country – bring on the cowboys (;
    and made up worlds – currently reading through the mortal instrument series and love the creativity and imagination that goes into fiction settings!

    Have a great week!

  35. YES about the College Setting. I’m excited about all those New Adult books which finally reach out beyond High School!

    Also, I love the Castle idea… *dreamy sigh*

    Interestingly, I also very much enjoy books that play in the Country- so more please!!!

  36. Made up worlds was on my list too. Ancient Rome would be fun to explore too. And, so would Africa and castles. And, I’d love to see more YA in college instead of high school.

    My Top Ten Tuesday Post

  37. Yes to 100% made up worlds! While I do love me some fantasy, some of my favorites are ones that are so made up they become 100% real! Also, if you love the country/cowboy setting, may I suggest Texas Gothic? The cowboy in it nearly puts Tucker to shame on the hotness level! 🙂

  38. I would definitely love to see more books set in college. Fun times! And more fun times at summer camp! Awesome list 🙂

  39. Ooh Africa! I’d love to read more stories set there. Especially since I haven’t really read very many to start with. 🙂

  40. Ooh! Ooh! A Semester at Sea book sounds amazing!! And high-five for Asia!

    My TTT:

  41. Fantastic list! The wanderer in me was swooning. : )

  42. Perfection Jamie! I couldn’t think of anything for this Top Ten, but as I read your list I was like “omg! YES!” to almost everyone of them.

  43. Yay for college – totally included that too! It really is such a great time in most people’s lives, especially for personal growth. Wish there were more relatable books about the college experience!

    I’m totally cracking up at your summer camp fantasies. I’d read that book 🙂 I’d love to see more books set in the country and duh I’m obsessed with royalty so give me some castles stat.

    And totally with you on Africa! I included it on my list too. I’ve been to South Africa, but I would LOVE to spend more time exploring that continent.

  44. Squee! I love the summer camp one! I’m so with you on having a fantasy of meeting a hot boy at summer camp! And it kind of goes along with the country/rural setting because I am so with you on wanting a hunky outdoorsman like Tucker Avery!!!

    And I think this “New Adult” category will result in more college settings. YA publishers try to stick to protagonists 17 and under, but New Adult should take on those 18-22 college years, which will be very fun!

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

  45. I’d love some more college and even directly post college or grad school settings too! Here’s Ours

  46. I chose boats as well. I like the fact that you added Africa. I have read a few African literature books and they are always great. None of which I have read have ever dissapointed me. I recommend you read, ‘Purple Hibiscus’ :).

  47. I love all of these picks! Hopefully authors are reading these posts and dreaming up new stories with these backgrounds.

    Incidentally–have you read THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST yet? Your want for more books with a rural setting reminded me of that–it has a beautiful sense of time and place, since it’s set in a small town in Wyoming.

  48. Yay for boats, castles and made-up worlds. Also, I love books set in Asia, especially Japan. I also have a need to be everywhere in the world, love traveling. Sigh.

    Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday post!

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  49. I definitely agree with four, five, six, seven, and eight. Although, I would also add western settings (especially historical fiction a la The Lone Ranger), deserts (a la The Mummy or Prince of Persia), and space (a la Star Wars).
    Great list. =]

  50. I would love to see more alternate universe/history books. The ‘what if’ is just so fun to think about!