Thursday, April 12, 2012

Writing DNA #11

We’ve been talking about settings all month and how they can enliven stories and add another dimension to mystery. The following are just a few examples of settings that are used to great effect in books for young readers.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb, 2009)
The 1970s New York in Stead’s MG novel is gritty and daunting but just magical enough to keep its eleven-year-old protagonist enchanted.

The Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter (Disney/Hyperion)
Gallagher Academy is an elite school for girl spies and the setting for all of the GG books. Its luxurious accommodations, high-tech laboratories and secret passageways make it an intriguing place for readers to explore.

Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley (Dial; April 12, 2012)
The whimsical world of Lizzie K. Foley’s upcoming MG story is a town where everyone is talented, extraordinary and above-average, but beyond its colorful facade, this unusual place also has plenty of mystery to keep its protagonist Jane Doe (and readers) guessing.

Gilt by Katherine Longshore (Viking; May 15, 2012)
Told through the perspective of its teen narrator and set in the court of Tudor England, Longshore’s juicy YA drama is filled with exacting historical detail that animates the era and all of its intrigue.

The Jade Notebook, by Laura Resau (Delacorte, March 2012)
Laura Resau's most recent novel in a trilogy about a globetrotting teen and her free-spirited mother transports us to a lush beach town in Mexico. Even in an idyllic setting, mysteries are encountered and danger abounds. Resau's other two books in the series, set in Ecuador and in Southern France, are also international mysteries where the settings are more than mere backdrops. Any foreign locale is a mystery in itself to a traveler, but having a sleuth navigate cultural differences while looking for clues to a larger mystery makes for a really compelling read.

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