YA Contemporary – I’ve been converted.

I’m going to come straight out and say it: Until I started blogging, I wasn’t a fan of contemporary books. I love fantasy. I love visiting other worlds, and meeting people that aren’t always actually human. Those kinds of books are always great for escaping every day life when you’re having a rough day. But lately I seem to be reading more and more contemporary stories. I decided to high light some of my favorites in this post, as a shout out to a genre that I’m coming to love as much as I love fantasy.

BEFORE BLOGGING

Before blogging I didn’t read contemporary very often. I didn’t enjoy this genre when I was the age of most of the characters in these books mostly because at the time, my life was no where near any of the stories in these books. I seemed to read on extreme opposite ends though with this genre. Half seemed to be books that were light and fluffy, that dealt a little tiny bit with issues everyone faces every day. Like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad, or the Gossip Girl series, and similar series to that.
On the other end were books like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Teach Me by R.A. Nelson, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. These dealt with heavier issues. Death, suicide, relations between adults and young not-quite adults. My main reason for reading books like If I Stay and Before I Fall was because I wanted to see how these characters would act when faced with the possibility of their death earlier than expected. I thought in some small way they might help me overcome my own fear and accept what is reality. I still have trouble with that most of the time, but those books were well written and definitely invite you to think about what is going on with those characters, and how they relate to your life.

AFTER BLOGGING

In the last year and a half of blogging, out of 140ish books I’ve read about 23 young adult contemporary. I like this genre more now because of the romantic element that can be found in many of the books, and because my own high school life is thankfully blurry in my memory. The ones pictured are my favorites of all the contemporaries I’ve read, pre-blogging up through now.
All of those authors have well written books, characters that pop off the page and feel like real friends and family. Some still cover serious issues, like Don’t Breathe a Word, and others are just light romantic fluff. And many manage to even write humor well. It’s not often a book can actually make me laugh out loud at work on my lunch break. But Anna and the French Kiss succeeded. Catching Jordan would have too had I not stayed up all night to read that one.
All in all, I’m glad that I’ve been reading more young adult contemporaries. They’re a nice break from what I usually read, and are very enjoyable. And to think I almost missed out on a book like Catching Jordan just because I don’t actually like football. If you guys haven’t read any of these, I seriously recommend doing so at the first opportunity.
What about you guys? Do you have any favorites you think I should read that I maybe haven’t yet? Or are you fellow converts taking your time delving into this genre? I’d love to know your thoughts!

8 thoughts on “YA Contemporary – I’ve been converted.

  1. Jessica S.

    I’ve come back to YA Contemporary myself. It’s where I started, then got to paranormal, and now I’m in love with it again. So many good ones anymore! I love it. ^_^

    Reply
  2. A Backwards Story

    I think you need to read Daisy Whitney. She’s a Contemporary Super Star! I seriously adore both of her books and want her next couple, too. She’s even giving us a little fantasy next year, ahh!

    I need to read John Green soon. I plan to make time as soon as I can.

    All this said….I’m not a contemporary girl myself. I’ve begun reading it as a blogger, and there are some great books I’ve found, ones I never thought I’d like (Especially Stephanie Perkins, as you said!).

    For the past year, I’ve been on and off with myself because what I’m working on is Contemporary, yet I read/write mostly fantasy. I feel like contemporary is everything you said above, and it’s been tearing me up that I’m writing contemporary, and I keep thinking about quitting despite liking my characters. But I’m trying so hard to embrace and love the genre, but I find that my writing isn’t nearly as good as those in the genre that I admire, or nearly as hard-hitting!

    Reply
  3. Cialina at Muggle-Born.net

    I love how blogging exposes me to different kinds of books as well. There are a bunch of books that I never thought I’d read until blogging exposed me to it… One of them is definitely Anna and the French Kiss. I was never really a fan of contemporary before and that is the book that got me hooked to the genre. 😀

    Reply
  4. Christy D

    Aw, I like this post. There are so many of these books that I really want to read, but haven’t squeezed any in. I KNOW that I need to read Anna and the French Kiss.

    Reply
  5. soulunsung

    I really enjoyed reading this post and was actually considering doing one of my own. Your’s just really kind of inspired me and I’ve found myself gravitating to more contemporary ya books in the last year or so than I normally would have. It’s actually kind of refreshing in this awesome way, that I can feel a bit more at home with the realistic, honest, and sweet romantic allure of these contemporary ya books. I find that the characters are just so easy to connect with and the issues are raw, realistic, and emotional. I love how they can sometimes make me laugh out loud or highlight a certain situation, causing me to shift my own point of view to the side a little and challenge me to open up and really think about things.

    I don’t know if you’ve read anything Deb Caletti or Sarah Dessen, but they are some wonderful ya contemporary authors and I absolutely love their books. I think my favorite Sarah Dessen book is Dreamland just because it was the only one of her books that didn’t have a happy ending, which made it a little unique and different. And I’ve found that I really enjoy Lauren Barnholdt as well, especially Sometimes It Happens because while I don’t normally like the idea of cheating storylines, this one was handled in such a way that you could sympathize with the characters and the situations they found themselves in. It just made them easier to understand and connect with. So, I’d definitely recommend any books from those authors.

    Mind if I actually borrow your idea and write my own post? I’ll be more than happy to link back to your blog and share where I got the inspiration from.

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung
    susanhaugland@att.net

    Reply

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