Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Desired Settings in YA Lit

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Happy Tuesday! I'm so excited for this week's Top 10, you all don't even know. Whereas most Top 10 lists are a set of happy gushings, this one is essentially my list of demands. And what am I demanding? Epic settings, dagnabit! Here are my list of Top 10 Settings I Want To See More Often in YA Lit (listed alphabetically).

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1. Asia. More Asian settings, please. I'm not picky. China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Israel (part of Asia, you know), wherever. I just think the various facets of the collective cultures throughout the Asian continent are extremely fascinating. Be it the mountains of feudal Japan or the upper echelons of Qatar, Asia has the potential to wow readers. I love being wowed.

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2. The battlefield. Gimme the front lines. I love back room strategies as much as the next person, but there's something about being in the foxholes, crawling through mud and barbwire, etc. etc. As I write this, I realize I'm picturing fairly recent battlefields, such as those of the Crimean War or the two World Wars. Hey, why hasn't anyone written a non-Nightingale Crimean War book? Hmmmm?

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3. Beyond the borderlands. I always want to know what's off the map, or at the very least at the corners of the map. While Frodo and his quest were fine and dandy, I wanted a story from an Easterling's point of view, or that of a barbarian from the Far North. So many stories focus on the lands in the center, but what happens off the edges?

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4. College graduation. More specifically, I'd like a book to start at college graduation, because I want to see what happens after.

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5. Deserts. Over the last year, I have fallen in love with desert settings. I blame The Girl of Fire & Thorns and Vessel. While the desert can be a harsh, barren place, it can also be a setting filled with great beauty and history. Please, please, PLEASE, someone give me more desert books.

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6. Egypt. Specific location is specific. I ADORE anything to do with Egypt, especially Ancient Egypt. Not only is there the desert from #5, but you've got pyramids and scorpions and asps and pharaohs and mummies... Mmm, it's all so delicious. I remember liking Mara, Daughter of the Nile, but otherwise Egyptian settings have been pretty sparse.

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7. Islands. I admit, I'm a sucker for a good deserted island. Unlike sprawling continents, islands are self-contained, which can be a very good thing or a very bad thing, depending on the plot. Ten by Gretchen McNeil makes being trapped on an island a very bad thing, whereas The Swiss Family Robinson makes living on an island seem pretty okay. (C'mon, who else wanted to race ostriches as a kid?)

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8. Non-Western European fantasy land. It's no secret that I love a good fantasy setting, but most fantasies place their characters in a land that feels vaguely British or French. These locales are classics for a reason, but can't we branch out? What about somewhere Asian, like Stormdancer? Or South American like The Girl of Fire & Thorns and The Crown of Embers? Or Australian? Polynesian? South African? Saharan? Antartican?!

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9. Outer space. I love outer space. I blame Star Wars and Doctor Who. The empty dark of deep space, unexplored worlds, asteroids, quasars, black holes, I want it all.

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10. Pirate ships. ARRRRRRGH! My favorite pirate book so far is Piratica by Tanith Lee. I would love books in a similar vein. Sailing books don't really interest me, but add a roguish captain or a shy young cabin boy (who's really a girl in disguise), and I'm there. I'm also willing to trade for the hearty pirate ancestors, the Vikings.

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What settings would you like to see more of? And if you have any suggestions for me that have one or more of the settings listed above, let me know in the comments.