It's no secret that Chick Lit follows a formula. It varies with each novel, but at the heart, Chick Lit novels all share certain commonalities. The setting often plays a big part in the story. There are 5 cities that pop up in Chick Lit again and again. It's true that Chick Lit can be set anywhere, especially evidenced with recent releases, but the same cities remain constant, no matter how much authors try to change things up. These cities are classic Chick Lit. There's an instant comfort when a reader picks up a book set in any of these cities. They're familiar. We knows these places, and we love them, but even with that familiarity, we still want to see how they play a role in the life of a new heroine we're meeting for the first time.
London - This is the most popular Chick Lit city. Chick Lit has the biggest readership in the UK. Bridget Jones's Diary, the book that arguably started the genre, was set in London. British Chick Lit is hugely popular. Major publishers still consider it a viable genre and haven't declared it "dead" like in America. Compared to American Chick Lit, it is more lighthearted, funnier, wittier, and more amusing overall. Another London-based novel that defined the Chick Lit genre is Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. But do note that over the course of a 7-book series, Shopaholic main character Becky Bloomwood travels to NYC and Los Angeles, two of the other most popular cities.
New York City - Remember Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada? Of course you do. And I'm sure you also immediately remember that they were set in NYC. The city is like a character in these novels and so many others set here. NYC has a vibrancy and energy that cannot be ignored. It's an integral part of the story and the characters' lives. Another great example of the popular cities at play is I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk in which a Londoner moves to NYC, and in subsequent books in the series, she resides in Paris, LA, and her original hometown of London. See?
Paris - The "City of Love" (as it is often called) is a major backdrop for many Chick Lit novels. The first book I read that was set here was The Art of French Kissing by Kristin Harmel. More recently, author Juliette Sobanet has become quite popular with her Paris-based novels, including Sleeping with Paris, Dancing with Paris, and Honeymoon in Paris. Other notable recent releases include The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan and J'Adore Paris by Isabelle Lafleche. The French countryside is also a popular locale.
Dublin - Irish novelist Marian Keyes is considered a pioneer in the Chick Lit genre with the mid-90s release of her debut, Watermelon. She blends humor and dark themes, causing some to argue if her books are actually Chick Lit or fit more in the serious Women's Fiction category. Popular Dublin-based Chick Lit also hails from authors Cecelia Ahern and Sinéad Moriarty. Similarly to Paris, the outskirts of Dublin and the countryside are popular settings, too.
Los Angeles - The bright lights of Hollywood attract many Chick Lit novels to LA. The main character is often a personal assistant to a celebrity, an entertainment reporter, a movie star, talent agent, producer, or chef to the stars. Notable releases are The Second Assistant by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare, A Total Waste of Makeup by Kim Gruenenfelder, Down and Out in Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott, and Hollywood Girls Club by Maggie Marr.