Let's face it, despite the fact that YA has really exploded over the past several years and so many more YA books are being published, there are still some topics that just don't seem to get covered. I've noticed other bloggers sometimes mention that they'd like to see more YA books with characters with quality x or settings in time period y or what-have-you. So I thought I'd run a little "Find the Gap" series through February, with a different aspect of YA each week that we can discuss.
First up is setting. We've all read the typical 'high school' contemporary YA read, and the traditional fantasy world where there be dragons. And if it's historical YA there is a better-than-average chance it's going to be set in the Victorian era (which I do love, don't get me wrong). But what's missing? What places or time periods do we never get to travel to in a YA novel?
Here are a few to get things going:
- Colleges and universities: there have been a few more of these popping up in YA recently, but still not nearly as many as I'd like. College students like to read too, you know, and often they like to read about students like themselves!
- Countries other than the United States: there are so many interesting places around the world you could give your story as a setting...so why always go with the U.S.? The novel's relatability won't entirely vanish just because it's not set in an American city. I'd say "outside North America" but actually, I haven't read very many YA novels set in Canada or Mexico. More of those would be nice too!
- Small towns: not everyone lives in a large city. I know there have been some YA books written where the whole point was either big-city-girl-meets-farming-community (or conversely, country-dweller-lands-in-the-big-bad-city), but how about some that just *happen* to be set in a small town?
- Parallel universes: these seem to crop up more in movies than in books, for some reason. But there's so much potential in that kind of concept, and I think it would be particularly appealing to the older YA set.
- The sixties: this was such a hugely important time period on just about every level (politically, socially, etc.) And it was very much a time for young people. Why are there not more YA books about it? No idea.
What other settings spring to mind for you? And are there any books you've come across that do address some of the gaps above?