Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Love: Contemps to Not Be Missed

It's no secret to those who really follow my blog, and especially follow my twitter, that contemporary fiction is my favorite. It's what I write, it's what always sucks me in the most, and it's probably 80% of what I read. From time to time, I like to do a post about favorites, and remind people of how awesome these books are. So here's some awesome ones you don't want to miss, both upcoming and already out:

Freefall by Mindi Scott: This is one of my favorite books, ever. It's an amazing male POV, and it's also so well written, with stunning depth and emotions. Also, despite the whole dead best friend thing, there's a lot of sweetness and even humor in it. Really, it's just this teenage boy who isn't in the best place in life, trying to figure things out. Add in the very organize and beautifully done romance, and some stellar side characters, and this book is just wowing.

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala: This book is truly the right mix of romance and grit. Creed and Joy have this softness between them, even on the streets, even when things are going horribly. Joy's motivations for what she does are so well infused into the book, and the writing is fantastic. This book had me from the first page, and I read it straight through, then kept thinking about it for days after. It's that good. I also adored Tell Me a Secret by Holly, but I think this one has always stuck me with just a little bit more.

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller: This one comes out in June, but seriously, do not miss it. Just preorder it now. I read it straight through, then reread it the next day, and read my favorite parts the day after. I couldn't pick up another book for about a week or more after, this book got to me that much. It is absolutely, undeniably extraordinary. This book shattered me, put me back together, then broke me just a little more. Travis is, in a lot of ways, a jerk... but he's also intensely loyal and caring and straightforward. He is a mess in his own right, and wanting to get past that. Watching the changes he goes through in this book are aching and so realistic, and then add in the romance and the way it develops, with this slow yet gripping burn... and this book is just breathtaking.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby: Again, with the hard hitting emotions mixed with the perfect amount of sweetness and humor. Honor is a stellar character, one who is oblivious to a few things from how much pain she's in over losing her brother, and Rusty is the perfect counterpart, full of anger he doesn't really know what to do with. Watching these two relive the history they share, the stories of her brother and his best friend, and also figure out where to go from here... beautiful, and memorable.

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour: This is another male POV that is amazing, only not because it is... typical boy, I guess. I haven't yet figured out how to explain the voice in this one, but ultimately, it's like Colby feels so much that there's potentially a feminine quality to his voice at least compared to other male POV books and yet, that is not at all it. I loved his character, his voice, his motivations. The stupid things he does, and the bold things he does. His interactions with Bev, and everything between them, is just so stunningly done, with so much between the lines and not outright said, that this is definitely a book to read over and over.

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz: Also male POV, this one is intense and breaking and, truthfully, left me bawling. There is such poignancy with this one, and even more stellar is watching how Chase grows over four summers, essentially growing up through high school. Though we only see him during the summers, Hannah still nails the gentle shift in his mindset as he ages, growing it more with what's happening. With a very heavy family note, and a few characters who left me with mixed feelings, this one is honest and stunning.

What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen: Intense. Seriously, this book has such a strong undercurrent of foreboding that it's impossible to put down. Tracy drew me in so fully, I was gripping the book and felt like I was right there, in the midst of everything. I love the characters in this one, the mix of fear and determination, and I think the pieces of everything are given to the reader at the perfect times. Tracy also does an amazing job of adding in a soft romance, without it being the focus or taking away from the big things in any way, yet also being completely satisfying to me as a reader.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry: Coming out in Dual POV, and an amazing one. This one mixes romance with issues beyond what most people have to handle, and does it perfectly. There is definitely no insta-love here, and this one is more of, a slow burn at the start before exploding and being filled with intensity, maybe beyond what the characters even know what to do with. Set on the backdrop of what each is going through, and weaving between needing each other and needing to figure their stuff out, this one has an amazing pacing to it, plenty of mystery and plot to keep things going, and is fantastically written.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman: This is one that, honestly, I am bad about recommending, I think because in my head, it is just so amazing that I basically assume everyone has read it. Yeah, I know, silly, but this book... there are no words for how amazing it is. It is truly stunning in every aspect, and some of the most memorable scenes ever, in all the books I've read, come from this one. It will put you through the gauntlet of emotions, testing you in absolutely every way, break you apart, but put you back together as well. Forman is stunning in her execution of this one, and Adam will always be one of my favorite characters ever.

So those are the ones for now, many of which I have been getting more and more tempted to reread.


  1. The ones I haven't read are sitting on my shelf waiting for their turn! Love, love, love Invincible Summer! Just started The Disenchantments-- an arc I held onto for far too long before cracking open!

  2. How have I only read one of these? Where She Went was great. I love Forman's books! A number of these are def on the tbr pile, and some more just got added. :)

    I'm now making an effort to actually FOLLOW the blogs I follow, so hopefully I'll be stopping by more often. Great list!

    If you want to check my site out, I have a ton of giveaways going right now (something that does not happen that often):

  3. For some reason, I've always been skeptical of contemporary, realistic YA, but I don't know why, since I think I've enjoyed pretty much all that I do read. I wonder if it's lingering from my actual teen/pre-teen days when there wasn't much good YA.

    Oh, and thanks so much for Velveteen! YAY!

  4. Invincible Summer is the only one I've read, but I'm so glad it's on your list! It's an amazing book and I can't stop recommending it. I'll have to check out these other ones though, if they are on the same list with Invincible Summer they must be amazing!

  5. lovely post. thanks for the recs!

  6. I've read and loved Freefall and Don't Breathe a Word. Invincible Summer didn't sit right with me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I loved it, and it grew on me. I'm dying to read Something Like Normal and In Honor. Great list!

  7. 100% agree about Freefall! So glad to see a list of great contemps, the genre closest to my heart but which doesn't get enough love from the blogosphere. I hope people take your suggestions to heart!