Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Wow this prompt is tough, mostly because I want to see everything. So before I delve into what I want to see more of, let me just say what settings (going to really stretch the definition of setting here, so stand by) I’d like to see less of: England-based Victorian YA anything; road trips/quests; romance overtaking the plot (YA specific), teenage captains (of anything—guard forces, military ranks, ships of sea or space, etc), heteronormative worlds. Like I said, really stretching the definition of setting lol.
So I want to see more of these settings:
Dammit I just want to see more of my home state represented in YA. Fantasy, contemporary romance, historical fiction, sci-fi, I don’t give a shit just set the damn story outside of the Portland metropolitan area, mmkay? I’m originally from a small, rural town in Oregon and I want that depicted more. Because Portland isn’t the nexus of Oregon.
Well Developed Fantasy Worlds
Well this is just fucking vague as shit, isn’t it? However, I’m talking big fantasy series inspired by a certain time period based on various cultures—where the world is developed as hell (or grows more developed over time). A lot of recent YA fantasies (and sci-fi) have felt lacking or haphazard in their world-building. I want something that will make me fall into the story and drown in the new world. Think Tortall, the Grishaverse and For a Muse of Fire (and *sigh* Harry Potter too).
This is probably one of my most favorite time periods, and damn the books are amazing. Fuck your Victorians. I want more Edwardian books. They can be secondary worlds like Sabriel, Sorcery of Thorns, or The Prince and the Dressmaker, or made-up islands in an alternate history world like The Scorpio Races. And I definitely want to see more historical fantasies set in non-British places, like P. Djèlí Clark’s Cairo, to tackle the darker aspects of the period—or are set in the typical British settings, but have queer rep and people of color (super looking forward to Sorcerer to the Crown, even though it’s not Edwardian). I also want more historical fantasies based around WWI. Gimme gimme gimme.
Yup, I want that WWII-era shit too (not necessarily dieselpunk but I do love the aesthetic of Captain America: The First Avenger). Historical fantasy, secondary world, I don’t care. Less Michael Grant’s Front Lines, more We Rule the Night. I also would love to see more kinda alternate-history but with royals like Michelle Cooper’s The Montmaray Journals.
Women in the Military
I don’t care that this is technically not a setting, but I want more YA books about women in the military—in either historical fiction, historical fantasy or contemporary fiction. And I want it done right, dammit. Less Risking It All and more The Road Home. Sure, it’ll be hard because it’s going to straddle the YA-NA line, but I want representation! (Although I will admit that I absolutely hated Front Lines—it was…problematic in many different ways). Apparently Gwen C. Katz has a YA sapphic WACs manuscript she’s trying to sell, and OMG I WANT IT NOW.
Okay, so most of the world, right? YA has made a huge push for publishing (and marketing!!!) authors from marginalized communities, and I am loving it. There’s been a lot of Asian-inspired fantasy worlds (and sci-fi! Dragon Pearl and Wicked Fox!) and a handful of African fantasy worlds (Children of Blood and Bone, Akata Witch, Kingdom of Souls), but you know what I really want to see more of? Indigenous American fantasies. The world of Gods of Jade and Shadow was fucking phenomenal, and I want to see more YA (or adult) fantasies (and sci-fi—omg the sci fi) based on Indigenous American cultures. I love Rebecca Roanhorse’s The Sixth World series and holy fuck I just want a historical fantasy or alternate fantasy series where a Mesoamerican culture links up with China and fucking dominates the world—or make it sci fi and change history.
Looking back, most of these settings I’d rather see more of are all YA-based wishes. I think it’s because I can think of a lot of adult SFF stories that fulfill my settings wishes (minus Oregon) that I haven’t read yet, or that are on my TBR.
However, I’m less likely to pick up a book based on setting alone (although good world-building is something I’d highly interested in because it can make or break a SFF book), and more intrigued by the plot, the characters and how well everything meshes together.
Additionally, while I want more non-European (read—non-British/pre-Revolution France) settings, I’d love to see Eastern European settings that aren’t overplayed (*cough* Dracula retellings, *cough cough*). And more people of color, queer representation, fat rep, varying religions and disability rep (realizes most of my list is white, straight and British/American based).
So, all this and a bag of chips.
What settings do you want to see more of?