Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top Ten List: Favorite Contemporary Titles

It's probably no secret to my regular followers that if I had to pick only one genre of YA to read for the rest of my life, it would without question be contemporary. Yes, I really do like fantasy and books like Angelfire, Paranormalcy and Firelight have renewed that, but my heart lies with contemporary. It's what I write, and it's the books I gravitate towards.

Given that, and to celebrate this week's launch of The Contemps, I bring you my top ten favorite Contemporary fiction books.

10. Kiss It by Erin Downing: This one is flirty and fun, on the surface, but delves deeper into plenty of things and shows quite a bit of spunk and insight.

9. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers: This is a bullying novel, centered around one of the top bullies that suddenly is on the receiving end. With strong characters and bold writing, it’s a gutting hit.

8. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles: If this was a romance only list, this one would take slot 1 easily. It is intense and passionate but it deals with more than sex and romance. The issues at hand are also just as gritty but fantastically well done.

7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman: This one is unique in premise and perspective, but just as emotional and intense. Not only is there the mystery of whether or not she really will stay or go… there is the story of why she would choose her path.

6. Take Me There by Carolee Dean: One of the few on this list with a male POV, this one adds in some elements I haven’t read much of. From a father in prison to his own struggle to try to do things right, Dylan’s story is an emotional one.

5. Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala: This is a teenage pregnancy one, and something that shouldn’t be ignored. It effects more than the pregnant girls and Holly has done a beautiful job portraying that.

4. Hate List by Jennifer Brown: This is another bullying one, shown from the side of the kid being bullied. As the girlfriend of the bullied kid who snapped and brought a gun to school, it adds a new perspective. Add in the family trouble on top of everything else, and this is an astounding book that should be read by everyone.

3. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams: This one is almost grotesque as its basic premise is something that goes against instinct for the majority of people. It is hard to wrap your head around the lifestyle, and the events are horrible and heartbreaking.

2. Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe: There are children that go hungry. Teenagers on the street. An untold number of kids in the foster system. Heidi uses these concepts and more in Compromised and has weaved something wrenching but beautiful.

1. Leftovers by Laura Weiss: There are so many elements to this book and even the final outcome… it will make you think. It’s gutting. It’s intense. Laura’s writing is astounding, and the messages are phenomenal.

You probably noticed... pretty much all of those deal with some of the harder hitting issues. These are my favorite kind of books. I like the fluffy romances in doses, and I enjoy the ones that hit a little lighter on the issues, but the ones that really make me feel something, twist my emotions, and force me to question things are my personal favorites.

Which contemporaries are your favorite?


  1. I actually had a love/hate relationship with Some Girls Are, but it was an excellent book, and I think I was meant to. Wintergirls is definitely one of my favourites though.

  2. This is a great list. I love hard hitting books as well. Most of the books on your list are ones I've already read or are on my wishlist.
    To add to that:
    Before I Die by Jenny Downham
    The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don't Mind by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
    Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
    Missing Judy by Anne Cassidy
    All of Jaclyn Moriarty's books.

  3. Great list! I'm surprised you didn't put Laura Weiss's other title on the list... o.o

    Sarah Dessen, I think, is a must for anyone who likes contemporary fiction. She's the queen of contemporary! Let's absolute favorite book from this genre has to be Scrambled Eggs at Midnight-it has romance but it brings a lot of other issues to light.... it's pretty much AMAZING. You should read it :D

  4. Awesome list!! I really liked Take Me There, If I Stay and Tell Me a Secret!! I really liked The Duff too!!

  5. contemporary is my favorite too and i LOVE the ones that deal with bigger, tough issues. If I Stay is great...Willow by Julia Hoban and Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert are two favorites of mine too.

    And always and forever: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


  6. I like a lot of these too, but I haven't read TAKE ME THERE and seeing it on your top ten list, I'm thinking I MUST read it!!!

    So glad you are excited about THE CONTEMPS. Me too!!

  7. Simone Elkeles is top on my list too. I also enjoyed her 'How to Ruin' series. How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation was my favorite. I just wish she would write one more and finish Amy and Avi's story the way she wrote an epilogue for Brittany and Alex in Perfect Chemistry. I want my happily ever after. ;)

  8. Your introductory paragraph described me 100%. I just love contemporary novels.

  9. The Chosen One and Hate List are two of my top contemporary novels. I haven't read the rest on your list (yet). I know... I need to get reading them! Love the list! :D