Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly planning a trip to the UK in 2016. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for about a decade and I’m so excited it looks like it will finally happen. I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but I’ve always been fascinated by British TV shows and, naturally, books. Perhaps it’s because I first fell in love with YA when I started reading Jacqueline Wilson’s books, which seem quintessentially British. Since I decided to make this trip happen I’ve been reading more and more UKYA, seeking out books with specific settings like Scotland or Wales.
It may sound crazy, but I love ‘travelling’ through books. I feel there’s so much knowledge about a culture which can be gained through reading or watching the right things. It’s something I definitely see while reading OzYA. From subtle little things like slang words to books featuring places I’ve walked through, I always feel right at home. Some of my favourite contemporary OzYA authors are brilliant at capturing Australia in all its forms. And so are UKYA authors. One book which comes to mind immediately is Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow. Reading that was delicious, simply for the lush Cornish setting (the rest of the story was also pretty darn amazing).
It’s always ridiculously exciting to read books set in places I know and have visited. As I continue to plan, it’s equally exciting to read books set in places I want to visit. Recently I read Keris Stainton’s Counting Stars, set in Liverpool, which I obviously want to visit because of my love for The Beatles. I’m hoping to read more books set all over the UK (both adult and YA) before I finally set off abroad.
Do you ever read for a particular setting? How important is setting to a story? Do you have any recommendations for books set in England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales? While I’ve focused on discovering more UKYA lately, I’d also love to hear about your favourite books set in other locations.