I spent part of my childhood in Southern California which was a huge culture shock for this little girl who had only known of life in the piney woods of rural South Mississippi among kith and kin. Not only were the people different (colder), but everything was different: the schools were different, living in surburbia that was not quite ghetto was different, the stores were different, and even the landscape of the California wilderness was different. I honestly didn't know that the biome of California had a name until I exchanged some emails with the author Kathleen Denly after I read the first book of this series. The name is Chaparral (which is a rather neat name) and although I never knew what that was, when I viewed photos on the website link she sent me, I instantly knew what it was. "Oh, yeah, that's California." While reading Sing in the Sunlight, I was able to get a pretty good mental image of the setting because I knew what it looked like; after all, I had lived there, too.
Sing in the Sunlight comes after Waltz in the Wilderness which I read and enjoyed some months back. Even though they are part of a series, each can be read in any order without any spoilers or missing backstory.