You might notice I’m not your usual content creator (I run TheLittleContemporaryCorner.com). Gemma has kindly allowed me some space on this blog to get some ideas out of YA novels, how exciting! I spend a lot of my time reading YA contemporary novels. For me, they are a great way to pull myself from a reading slump and sometimes just the kind of nice, fluffy story that I need to bring up my mood. Therefore, I’ve learnt very quickly that there are good YA contemporaries, and very very bad YA contemporaries.
YA has this awful stigma attached to it that they are not sophisticated stories that have detailed plot lines. The writing is bad and there is no character development. This could not be further from the truth. I have read some amazing YA contemporary stories that will stick with me for the rest of my life. If you’re just starting out in the contemporary genre of YA, here are some novels that you might want to get started with.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
This is for those moods when you need a very easy story to bring you in to the contemporary world. I adored this book. It’s centred around Lara-Jean and her family, and the drama that unfolds when the secret letters that she secretly writes to all the boys she’s loved before (aha!) get out in to the world. You can imagine the chaos. This story is fun, slightly dramatic and full of family. Just what you want from a contemporary novel. I cannot praise Jenny Han’s easy to read, addictive writing style enough.
The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
The Sun Is Also A Star is a great example of the kind of diversity that YA contemporaries need. I rarely read books that are diverse (I’m trying to change this, I know I know…) but this one was incredible. The story is based around two teenagers that meet and fall in love on the day that one of them gets deported. It’s fantastically original and an incredible fast read. This is definitely one of the best introductory novels in to the genre.
Paper Towns by John Green
There is a lot of stigma around John Green books, and I feel like anyone who hasn’t read a lot of contemporary YA just automatically avoids them. However there are some gems in his collection of novels. Paper Towns is one of the most fun novels I’ve ever read. Q is hopelessly in love with his neighbour Margo, and when she runs away, he uses any clues he can find to track her down. Resulting in a road trip across America, a lot of let-down, a lot of humour and a lot of black Santa’s. This novel is nothing short of genius.
Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire
Saenz Following two boys who are outcasts and become friends, this story explores what it’s like to find yourself in a world where everyone knows who they are. By far Aristotle and Dante is one of my favourite books of all time. If you’re just starting out reading contemporary novels, this is the place to start. It’s a wonderful story of friendship, relationship and figuring out your whole life. It’s also a wonderful example of how complex and deep YA novels can actually be. Saenz creates intriguing characters with his addictive writing. I cannot recommend this book enough.
The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
I talk about this novel a lot over on my blog It’s one of my favourites of all time, and unknown to a lot of people, also a YA novel! In fact J.D. Salinger was the first author to be counted as a YA author, so why not start at the beginning? This story would be more for a reader than enjoys a simpler read. A story that you have to think about because honestly, not much happens. However it tells the coming of age story of Holden Caulfield as he starts to discover who he is and who he wants to be. Give it a go if you’re entering in to the YA contemporary world, you might surprise yourself about how much you like it.
So those are my top YA novels to get you started in to the contemporary genre. I absolutely love contemporary stories, but like others, am looking to jump in to other genres at the moment, fantasy being one. If you have any recommendations for me, then leave them in the comments and I’ll check back!
A huge thanks to my good friend, Sarah, for creating this post! Be sure to visit her blog! You won’t be disappointed, I promise you!
Okay, I’ll stop yelling…Nah, one more time.
Thank you for reading!