Write about what you know. Always a good idea, so Adrian McKinty’s YA novel The Lighthouse Land starts with 13-year-old Jamie in New York, and quickly dispatches him and his Mum to Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland. There Jamie becomes friends with Ramsay (McDonald…), and in the old lighthouse they find a salmon which catapults them through a wormhole to Altair, which is another world…
OK, so maybe that part wasn’t based on Adrian’s life.
They meet the beautiful and resourceful Wishaway, who is as capable a girl as you’d want. Jamie and Ramsay have their good moments, too, when not being immature.
The people of Altair are at war with each other, and the two boys bring a powerful weapon with them, which helps settle things in an unexpected way. (Not sure about the timings of this, Adrian.) Old Greek myths help, and so do Ramsay’s mathematical skills. And I’m fairly sure that computer games assist the boys with their warfare.
This is fantasy, which you may have gathered from the wormhole bit, but there is plenty of real world experience which plays a role in what happens. Towards the end of this first part of the Lighthouse trilogy I began to suspect that things could well be left in an unexpected way, and they are, but not as I’d thought.
As you can see I began at the beginning, and I plan to read the second book next. Adrian sort of wanted me to start with number two, as he thinks it’s the best. Doesn’t strike me as a good idea, so I’ll do the conventional thing.