There. I said it. I’m not a contemporary fan. Though if you follow me on social media, you probably know that already. Something about the genre has just never appealed to me as a reader. But I’m learning that it isn’t always the case. A few titles have broken my anti-contemporary reading, shoving past the multitude of fantasy and romance, to become some of my favorite books!
I’m also excited to be partnering with Simon TEEN today to bring you an awesome giveaway for an #EmergencyContact prize pack! Read through my contemporary recommendations then make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom! You can also learn more about Emergency Contact and the author, Mary H.K. Choi!
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
First up are two books by the same author, both of which are amazing and diverse and beautiful and super fluffy but also deep (because that’s totally possible, trust me). I first became acquainted with Becky Albertalli’s work when I picked up an ARC of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in a used bookstore one summer. I didn’t read it until the next year and I’m not really sure why I picked it out of the million and a half books on my TBR, but I did, and I finished it within a few hours. More accurately, I devoured it. Albertalli is a master with the written world and as I wrote in my review of SIMON VS, “The story is solely Simon’s but infinitely everyone’s” (and yes, I’m totally quoting myself). And it’s true. I think every reader can find something to relate to in this story about a boy who’s finding himself in the vast universe that is high school and growing up.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Albertalli does it again in The Upside of Unrequited, which released last month, with Molly’s story. I honestly think this one hit me even harder than SIMON VS. These books need to be required reading, ESPECIALLY for teens. Goodness, if I had this book when I was in high school… well I think I would have had a slightly different experience. It’s that kind of book. UPSIDE is the book for all of you who felt awkward in high school, who were unsure about friends and love and everything in-between, who never quite fit in with what the world wanted you to be. This is the book that will sing to your soul. And to the critics who say that young adult fiction isn’t “good” fiction (and yeah, it sucks that some people out there actually THINK this, like what?!), tell them to read this book.
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
These other two titles that I have for you today happen to be one of my top reads of 2016 and one from 2017 (so far), which is saying something because everything else on those lists falls somewhere in the realm of speculative fiction. Last year, Mindy McGinnis released her book The Female of the Species which took me for a roller coaster of a read and resulted in what I believe is my longest raving review to-date. This book WRECKED ME. FEMALE hits on a lot of stereotypes and completely bashes them into the ground through its alternating perspectives. It definitely hit home for me with certain aspects but much like SIMON VS and UPSIDE, has something to offer everything. But be warned: while those first couple books are pretty light, this one has a pretty big dark streak to it.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
And finally, one of this year’s top reads for me: Geekerella by Ashley Poston. I mean, what did you expect combining a Cinderella re-telling with a science fiction fandom and convention. COME ON IT WAS GOING TO BE AMAZING WE ALL KNOW THIS. And it was. Like, in the most adorable but also society-breaking way. GEEKERELLA is both out of this world and completely down to earth. I think that’s part of its charm. Add the fact that it’s based around Starfield, a sci-fi show that I’m sure we can all relate to with Star Trek (no? just me?), it has enough of a fantastical edge for even the most stubborn of fantasy readers (hah…like me…promise you’re not alone?).
These are some of the books I read in the last year that, while they didn’t work for ME, I think they definitely have readers out there. I know, I know, why would I recommend books that I didn’t like? WELL… I am a firm believer that there is a reader out there for every book and even though they didn’t work for me, they might be something of interest to y’all and deserve mentioning at the very least. You can read more about Things I Should Have Known, Definitions of Indefinable Things, and How to Make a Wish by clicking their respective links!
What are some of your favorite contemporary novels?
Adding to my list of contemporaries I NEED to read, I’m excited to feature EMERGENCY CONTACT by Mary H.K. Choi today on the blog, courtesy of Simon TEEN! Not only can you read about this new release, but you can also enter to win a copy of the book and some swag with it!
by Mary H.K. Choi
Published on March 27, 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy the Book!
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For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
Interested? You can read a chapter sample annotated by the author HERE!
And don’t forget to check out this awesome interview with the author over on YouTube!
Are you ready for an AMAZING giveaway?!
I’ve partnered with Simon TEEN to bring you this fabulous giveaway to celebrate the release of Emergency Contact!
Make sure your phone is never out of reach! One (1) winner receives:
- copy of Emergency Contact
- branded pop socket
- and a smartphone wristlet!
Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Simon Teen.
To Enter: Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter! Blog giveaway policies apply.