Dark Water (Sept. 2010) is a YA novel in which the setting of the story–rural Fallbrook, CA–is a character in the plot-driven story. Author Laura McNeal asks her 15-year-old narrator Pearl to lyrically describe the land where she lives, the avocado groves, the river, the roads, the hills, and so on with careful, but never overwrought, detail, much like Sandra Cisneros asks Esperanza Cordero in The House on Mango Street. This makes the book a refreshing, yet up-to-date, breather from the many character-driven YA novels.
This book is sure generate lots of thoughtful discussions between young adult and/or adult readers.
Note: This book was a National Book Award finalist