For those who haven’t visited, it might be hard to picture the flashy siren call of the Las Vegas Strip, but all it takes is one look at Sin City to become a believer.Known for its glitz, glamour, fabulous shows, and 24-hour casinos, Vegas bills itself as the entertainment capital of the world for good reason. Here’s a secret, though: some people actually live there. Like, full-time. And they probably don’t spend their time running up and down the strip, gorging on buffets every night, and riding roller coasters on top of the Stratosphere all day.
So what’s it like to live and party in the entertainment capital of the world? If planning your next trip to Vegas proves prohibitively expensive (or you just want to make sure you’ve packed appropriately), you can learn all about it with these Vegas-set YAs.
The Chapel Wars, by Lindsey Leavitt
Holly’s grandfather has bequeathed his Las Vegas marriage chapel to her, and the teen isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of running a failing business while she deals with her parents’ recent divorce. Then there’s also the matter of the cheesy chapel next door—her family’s sworn business enemy—and the owner’s kinda cute/charmingly innocent grandson. Full of forbidden love and hilarious moments, The Chapel Wars manages to balance this coming of age tale with heartfelt sadness and light humor, all while Vegas native author Leavitt gives us a behind-the-scenes tour of her hometown.
The Secret Diamond Sisters, by Michelle Madow
With all the parties, romance, and shopping sprees you could ever dream of having on your Vegas vacation, this series starter introduces us to three girls coming to terms with their new Vegas lifestyle. When Savannah, Courtney, and Peyton’s mom enters rehab, the three sisters find themselves leaving California for Las Vegas, where their billionaire father moves them into his hotel/casino. As they learn to live among the bright lights of the Strip, their differences threaten to tear them apart—despite the unlimited credit cards burning holes in their pockets.
Bad Kitty, by Michele Jaffe
In this Vegas-set mystery with a Josie and the Pussycats vibe, 17-year-old Jasmine’s family vacation to the Venetian Hotel takes a less than great turn when she finds herself caught up in a classic murder mystery, all thanks to a small boy and his troublesome cat. It’s all good, though, because Jas dreams of becoming a police detective. After her best friends (also aspiring detectives) land in town, the teens use some homemade CSI tools to solve the mystery behind a prominent business manager’s death. It’s fun. It’s funny. And it’s enjoyable all the way to the end. Bonus: the Venetian Hotel is a real place you can visit.
Pretty Bad Things, by C.J. Skuse
While not set exclusively in Vegas, Pretty Bad Things spends a significant amount of time exploring the flashy side of the Las Vegas Strip. Twins Paisley and Beau are six when their mom dies of an overdose, and they’re found wandering in the woods. Their story makes national headlines, and the two are dubbed the Wonder Twins. But now that they’ve twins have turned 16, it’s time to do whatever it takes to find their ex-con father—and they do mean whatever it takes. Following his trail to Vegas, the Wonder Twins hold up donut shops, cause house fires, and engage in every brand of mayhem. Basically, the Wonder Twins = the modern-day sibling version of Bonnie and Clyde.
Frozen, by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
The world may be covered in a blanket of ice and the planet mostly destroyed, but New Vegas hearkens back to the days of the 24-hour strip in this postapocalyptic story. The world’s a pretty bleak place, with constant gray skies and oceans filled with trash, but New Vegas maintains its glitz and gambling. When a blackjack dealer named Nat realizes it’s time to leave New Vegas, she’s only got one problem—it’s illegal. Once she manages to find a way out of the city, Nat tries to find a mythical paradise away from the environmental disaster plaguing her world in this action-packed series starter.