Recommendations: Contemporary

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another week of book recommendations. I have to say that this series of posts has been one of my most liked and commented on, so thank you to everyone who has liked, commented, shared, and recommended books in return. I truly appreciate it.

Today’s topic for recommendations is one that I pretty much need to be in the mood for, and that mood usually strikes in early summer and sometimes briefly in winter as well. Most of what I read tends to be fantasy or paranormal, but come on, every once in a while we all just need a contemporary. A lot of the time contemporary reads tend to fall in the cutesy romance or rom-com categories…or at least the ones I pick up and read do. But I have a couple options on here that are a bit more serious.

Let’s get started.

I’ve already talked about Queens of Geek a few times on this blog, but I just enjoyed this book so much. It was fun and relatable for me as it took place during a convention and I have been to quite a few comic-cons the past few years. Plus there were just so many awesome characters excitedly talking about the books, shows, and movies they love, and I think that is always fun to read about.

Speaking of movies, this next one follows two main characters who talk about movies all the time. Alex, Approximately was sort of a modern spin on the movie You’ve Got Mail, and I thought it was absolutely adorable.

Apparently I have a thing for mistaken identity or anonymous exchanges in books. Because Letters to the Lost starts with the characters exchanging letters in a cemetery. They eventually move on to e-mail exchanges but still, I thought it was an interesting story and there will be a sequel/companion novel out in 2018.

Then there is Eliza and Her Monsters, which follows Eliza, the creator of a massively popular web comic. She has many friends online but not so much in her real life. In fact, most people aren’t aware that she is the creator of Monstrous Sea. So things get interesting when the top fan-fiction writer of her series starts going to her school. Again this one features fandom and sort of a secret identity theme, plus deals with the anxiety that creative types feel when it comes to their creations. I loved this book.

Now we have a recent read that I just feel the need to keep talking about. I adored Kat and Meg Conquer the World. The focus on female friendship and fandom was fantastic, plus Kat has anxiety and Meg has ADHD, and we get to see both girls help each other with dealing with those a bit, and supporting each other too.

Okay, so I have another anonymous letter exchange story on here, but it was just so cute. Even when certain plot points were completely obvious, I still really enjoyed this story. P.S. I Like You makes a perfect fast, cute, and fun read.

Next on my list is The Unexpected Everything, and this was such a fast read for being like a 500 page book. It was just so fun and cute, and I loved watching the characters grow. Plus, come on, Clark is adorable and makes an excellent romantic interest for a story.

I had to throw a favorite from my youth in here, but to be fair, I did reread The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in 2016 as well. Yes, compared to some more recent contemporaries, this one might not be on the same level, but I still think this series is a good one. Plus, again, female friendship.

Okay, so now I’m moving into the more serious recommendations. This first one surprised me. I picked up One of Us is Lying because it basically seemed like The Breakfast Club, but with a murder involved. I was quickly sucked into the story and needed to find out what would happen to each of the characters, and I really needed to know whodunnit.

Before I Fall is the one on this list that is kinda farthest from being a contemporary because of the reliving the same day over and over aspect. But, I read this book this year in anticipation of the movie release, and by the end I was so invested in Sam’s life.

This is Where it Ends follows a harrowing 54 minutes in the lives of several students in the moments leading up to and during a school shooting. It was a powerful and haunting read.

In the same vein, I also have to recommend a book I read during my Library Services for Young Adults course in grad school. Hate List not only has flashback scenes to the school shooting and numerous newspaper clippings throughout the book, but it mostly follows the school the next year after the event as people try to heal and forgive and move on. The primary focus of the story is the girlfriend of the shooter, and this is a book that has stuck with me since I read it.


Wow, why did I choose to put the more serious books at the end? It feels like I’m ending this post on a somber note.  Then again, I suppose with the way the world is these days that also makes a certain kind of sense. I appreciate that we have books that focus on issues like racism and sexism and sexuality and mental health and gun safety and all of this. Perhaps the existence of these types of books mean that we are making progress, as small as it might be, towards resolving these issues and creating a better society.

So, are there any contemporary books you’d recommend for me? Let me know in the comments!

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