The culture of the professional ballet world is portrayed so in-detail and vividly in this story of a young dancer in the Manhattan Ballet Company.
2. Okay For Now
Gary D. Schmidt
This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed that's set in a small town of the 1960s -- think Mayberry-ish. The town is so engrossing, so perfectly written.
3. Past Perfect
This cute contemporary YA love story is set in a historical reenactment village -- if that's not original I don't know what is. And the characters get super into their historical roles, which I loved.
Oh, this one is painful. It's a story set in a tiny, backwaters, drug-ravaged town and the culture of this is done so well that it's scary to read.
5. Mostly Good Girls
Set in an elite all-girls private school, this setting may not be as out there as some of the others, but the high school scenes, teenage friendships and dynamics, and the atmosphere of the school is written so so so incredibly well.
6. The Real Real
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Set behind-the-scenes of a Laguna Beach-ish reality show (yeah, this is going back a whiles, I know), the setting here is really interesting for anyone interested in the story behind reality TV.
7. Anna and the French Kiss
Paris, duh. Written so well that all I wanted to do was eat bread and chocolate. Enough said.
8. The Help
The deep south (wealthy white and poor black) of the 1960s. I can't speak to the historical accuracy of this (although, I think it is) but the world is amazingly vivid and great.
9. Miss Fortune Cookie
Although this book doesn't come out until November of this year, the Chinatown setting is so awesome. Cute and with the culture seamlessly woven into the characters and story.
10. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts
Terra Elan McVoy
For someone (ahem, me) whose entire experience with summer overnight camps has been through books, movies, and television shows, this book and its setting at one of these camps was so incredibly interesting.