In the last couple of months, I’ve heard the same piece of advice from 3 reputable sources therefore I’ve decided there must be some truth to it. The advice is this:
Great books have intriguing settings
Think about it. How many of you read Harry Potter because you loved Hogwarts? How many of you watched the movies so you could see Hogwarts and then got on a plane and flew to Orlando so you could then STAND INSIDE a mock Hogwarts castle? Don’t get me wrong; the books are great too. But the setting of Hogwarts is as interesting as the characters and that adds a whole new level of awesome.
This same thing is true of many other great YA books. We love Anna and the French Kiss because it’s set in France and we love The Name of the Star because it’s set in London and we love The Hunger Games, not because we want to LIVE in the districts, but because we are fascinated by them and how they came to be.
I’m not saying that we can’t love a book that’s set is a regular town, but if you have the option, find a way to make your setting special. Make it unique and interesting and yet flawed in a fascinating way. Basically, treat it like a character.