These are elements of a story that I am a total sucker for. I do love regular old contemporary YA and middle grade stories too, and I love plenty of stories that have NONE of these elements -- but these are my (not-so-secret) kinks. Seriously - if any of these are present I am almost guaranteed to like the book/movie/tv show/story, or at least give it a huge chance.
TIME PERIODS / SETTINGS:
* Regency / Victorian / Edwardian Era - UK, Europe and US (1811-1910)
* WW1 / between the wars / WW2 / Blitz / Relocated Children - England
* 1920's - 1940's USA (especially Hollywood & NYC)
* Wiemar-era Berlin (or anything with German Expressionist flavor)
* British Raj / Partition India
* Boarding School / Prep School / Drama School
* Secret Societies / Insular Groups different from "norm" society
* Ensemble Performance / Behind the Scenes - in other words, the reality behind busy restaurant, theatre, hotel, newspaper, sports team, movie set, etc.
ELEMENTS / PEOPLE:
* Girls Dressed as Boys / Drag Queens / Dandies / Disguises / Secret Identities / Cross-dressing
* Fashion Shows / Modeling / Clothes & Fabric
* Star is Born / Rags to Riches stories (Or even better: Riches to Rags to Riches, a la Little Princess)
* Theatre / Circus / Vaudeville or other Artist/performer
* The Olympics / Olympic-level training (esp: Skating, Gymnastics and similar 'artistic' solitary sports)
* Charismatic Older Men Taking Care of Young Girls and Vice-Versa (think: The Professional, Daddy Long-Legs, Paper Moon, True Grit -- or, Bela Karolyi & Nadia Comeneci)
* Con Artists / Art Fraud / Grifters / Mafia
* Prostitutes / Dance-Hall Girls / Rough Trade
* Gypsies / Fortune Tellers
* Servants / Butlers / Governesses "goings on below stairs" stories
* Assassins / Spies / Sleuths / Genius Problem Solvers (Sherlock, Dr. Who, Jeeves)
* Golems / Manikins / Androids / Humanoids / Automatons
What about you? What are the 'kinks' that you tend to go for in a story?
ETA: I am cheating - my client Jackie Dolamore did her own post on the subject, and I want to take all of her answers too! LOVE!