Recommendations Requested: Quaint, Small Towns

Posted December 17, 2016 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Book Recommendations & Lists, Features, Recommendations Requested / 9 Comments

recs-requested1Inspired by Lauren at Bookmark Lit’s latest Book Blog Ideas post, I decided to channel her fabulous Read-Bait feature into a post where I feature a theme in a book that I’m obsessed with, and offer my own recommendations along with collecting recommendations of other readers who might have similar suggestions!

As many of you who read my blog probably already know, I am currently in the process of re-watching all of the seasons of Gilmore Girls before I watch the special Netflix revival (no spoilers, please!). I’m currently nearing the end of Season 3, and I’ve been reminded throughout my watching that one of the main reasons I love the show is the setting of Stars Hollow, a quaint, somewhat eccentric New England town where all of the residents know each other and the adorable traditions abound. Being a lifelong West Coast Girl myself, these New England small towns are a charming anomaly to me (West Coast small towns just really don’t seem to have the same vibe). This trend continues in my reading habits, as I love encountering these small town settings in book too, although I don’t happen upon them as much as I’d like, probably because I don’t read a ton of contemporary.

my-recs1quaint-small-towns1This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith | I LOVED the small, seaside Maine town this book takes place in. It was the perfect soothing atmosphere for the adorable yet improbable moviestar-falls-in-love-with-normal-girl setting.

Nantucket Blue/Nantucket Red Duology by Leila Howland | This duology, set in Nantucket (which I’ve never been to so I don’t know if it ACTUALLY qualifies as a small town IRL, but it definitely feels like it in this novel) totally has that small town that comes to life in the summer and quietly shuts down in the winter feeling. I love that it’s so defined by one season and that the characters return each year very different versions of themselves.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson | So obviously I am in need of recommendations because this book takes place in yet ANOTHER vacation town, this time in a lakeside setting that families visit every year. I loved seeing how the characters developed these special “summer friendships,” and how it explored the ethereal feeling of a small town getaway that, while only being visited by the main character a few weeks per year, left such a distinct impact on her.

your-recs1As you can see, I’m pretty much in dire need of recommendations involving books with small, quaint, (preferably New England) towns, as all of mine recs feature only vacation towns! Does anyone have any recommendations for books with a Gilmore Girl/Stars Hollow-esque vibe? Would it perhaps be easier if I was looking outside of YA fiction? Let me know your suggestions in the comments!


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9 responses to “Recommendations Requested: Quaint, Small Towns

  1. I love this! Small towns are my favorite thing to read and write about! Even though it’s moanother beach-y, vacation town, Sarah Dessen created a town called Colby that is charming af. This is more of a southern Gothic town, but the Caster Chronicles has one of my favorite settings I’ve ever read. The small town is so complex and intricate and I aspire to write a town with that much detail. Few fictional towns will compare to Stars Hollow, but the show Hart of Dixie has a cute little southern belle town that I love!

    ~ Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    • Oh yes I completely forgot to mention Sarah Dessen books in my post! I love love love her books, although I think it’s been a while since I read one that was set in Colby. Caster Chronicles is also a great example, and a little bit out of the norm since, as you said, it’s a southern gothic town rather than a New England town (Also really loved this series!) Thanks for reminded me that I’ve read even more than I thought! 😉

  2. Funny, I have a bit more of a hit or miss relationship with small towns. I think it depends on the genre; I tend to do better when they are NA or adult contemporaries than YA (there’s just something about YA small towns and all that drama). But I do enjoy small town novels because you probably know the person who is going to be the star of the spin-off sequel–and it’s so much easier to get on board with a character you are already familiar with.

    Some of my small town favourites are the Sea Breeze & Rosemary Beach Series by Abbi Glines as well as the Eversea Series by Natasha Boyd. But historical romance, Spindle Cove by Tessa Dare is fabulous!

  3. Yesss small towns! As I’ve said, you have a small New England town to stay in if you ever decide to come this way 😉

    Let’s see. If you’re game for adult fiction, I enjoyed MYSTIC SUMMER (takes place in the amazing Mystic, CT). I have THE MATCHMAKERS OF MINNOW BAY on my list as well because it seems to feature a quaint town. The WINTER series by Elin Hilderbrand – not perfect but still entertaining – takes place on Nantucket in the wintertime <333 RESULTS MAY VARY takes place in the Berkshires, outside of Boston, so it has a city-country vibe that's wonderful. (Clearly I have an abundance of adult fic recs for this…)

    • Just added Mystic Summer and Results May Vary to my TBR! I am looking to build a rather fluffy vacation TBR for some time off I have coming up and these sound perfect! Also, I’m always up for some adult fiction, it can be a nice break from YA TBH, especially since I am getting to the age where I am empathizing with Adult protagonists more and more…

      Yes I must make it out to New England sometime! Also, COME TO CALIFORNIA.

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