YA City Guide: Los Angeles

Los Angeles: The California Dream. While it’s not our goal to be a celeb, it’s always a fun plot point. We listed our favorite books set in LA and can’t wait to share! Let us know if you’ve read any in the comments 👇.

1. The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare

Amazon.com: The Dark Artifices, the Complete Collection: Lady Midnight;  Lord of Shadows; Queen of Air and Darkness (9781534449541): Clare,  Cassandra: Books

Set five years after The Mortal Instruments, we see Emma Cartiars and Julian Blackthorn at age 17. The Dark Artifices follows a group of shadowhunters at the Los Angeles Institute. Emma and Julian investigate a demonic plot, which takes through the city and around the amazing beaches. The Dark Artifices features old favorite characters, but has a completely different vibe from Clare’s other books. LA is a lot different from NYC and London. If you’re looking for a fantasy with California sunshine, look no further!

2. Truly, Madly, Famously by Rebecca Serle

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Paige can’t believe what it’s like to be famous. Following Famous in Love, Paige finished wrapping up the movie in Hawaii and moved to LA to be with Rainer until their next movie begins filming. But, Hollywood is different from being on set. Suddenly, everybody knows her name and cares about her life decisions. Plus, Paige has unresolved feelings for her co-star Jordan, leaving her in the middle of a love triangle. If you want to read about the inner workings of Hollywood, pick this one up immediately. Paige is super relatable as she goes from unknown teen to the star of the latest blockbuster. 

3. Frankly in Love by David Yoon

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Frank Lee wants a girlfriend, but according to his overprotective parents, she must be Korean. Frank is in limbo, which is the word he uses to describe being stuck between his parents’ traditional views and growing up in Southern California. When he falls for someone his parents wouldn’t approve of, he and his fellow limbo friend create a pack. They’ll fake date for their parents, allowing them to secretly be with the person they want. But, things don’t always go according to plan. Yoon’s debut tackles the difficult problem of wanting to please your parents while also being your own person. 

4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

 

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Madeline never leaves her house. Her mom makes sure she has everything she needs and that was enough…until Olly moved next door. All she wants is to be able to talk to him, but how can she when she’s literally allergic to everything? Everything, Everything is an emotional story about mental health, illness and first love. Madeline just wants to be able to enjoy life and be able to see her city. With Olly’s help, she might just get her wish. 

5. American Girls by Alison Umminger

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Anna can’t stand her home life any longer. So, she steals her stepmom’s credit card and flies to Los Angeles to be with her sister. She thought working on a movie set would be glamorous. Instead, she spends her time researching the murderous Manson girl for her boss. American Girls focuses on the gritty side of LA instead of the fashionable one. It’s not always easy for those who aren’t in the spotlight. 

6. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

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Jessie is not thrilled to be moving to Los Angeles after her dad remarries. Her first week at her ultra-exclusive prep school is not off to a great start. But when she receives an anonymous note from Somebody/Nobody (SN) offering to help her adjust to LA and high school, she thinks it may not be so bad after all. This is a very real story about love, loss, and adjusting to change. Though not the typical story set in LA, you do get an insight into the lives of those in suburban LA. 

7. Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West

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Lacey Barnes has finally gotten her big break. She’s staring in her first LA movie alongside one of Hollywood’s biggest heartthrobs. If only she could devote her entire life to acting— but her parents have other ideas. Determined to ensure Lacey stays on track with her schoolwork, they hire a nerdy (and annoyingly cute) tutor to help Lacey on set. To make matters worse, someone is trying to sabotage her on set. Follow Lacey as she navigates the ins and outs of the Hollywood film scene! 

8. Clique Bait by Ann Vallett 

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Chloe Whitticker wants one thing: revenge. Last year, a group of rich and popular students destroyed the life of Monica Pennington, Chloe’s best friend. Now, Chloe won’t stop to make them pay for ruining Monica’s life. At this elite private school outside of Los Angeles, most students have money, but some have everything handed to them. They’re known to Chloe as Level 1. They’re evil and will crush anyone who stands in their way. She ropes Will, a Level 1, into her plot with blackmail she has on his father. Reluctantly, Will agrees to help to save his dad’s political career….and suggests they fake date. But it won’t be easy to win over his friends. But what else is a girl to do to get the dirt she needs? This story is about social climbing in LA and how clawing your way to the top sometimes has dark consequences. If you love a bit of revenge with your mystery, this is the one for you. 

9.  Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham 

Influence

We recently read Influence for our book club and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story follows four teenage celebrity influencers, Scarlet, Delilah, Jasmine, and Fiona, as they navigate the inner workings of Hollywood and fame. When a murder impacts all of LA, the girls are thrown together and question who had a motive. This thriller about the dangers of social media was written by Sara Shepard, the author of Pretty Little Liars and Lilia Buckingham, an actual teen influencer. If you are interested in the world of influencers, definitely check this out. 

10. Map to the Stars by Jen Malone

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Annie Shelton wants a fresh start in LA after a family member betrays her. But it turns out life in La La Land isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. To save the day, her mom snags a gig as the makeup artist of a famous teen movie star and gets Annie a spot on his European tour. The last thing Annie wants to do is follow around an arrogant celebrity. But it turns out Graham Cabot is not as he seems. Follow Annie as she encounters crazy paparazzi, body guards, an insane stage mom-ager, and wild fans. We admittedly have not read this one but it sounds like a great YA book set in LA with its antics and adorable celebrity romance trope. 

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

16 thoughts on “YA City Guide: Los Angeles

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