Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Favorites: YA Contemporary Reads From My Shelves

Since summer seems to be the PERFECT time for contemporaries, I decided to go through my bookshelves and pick out some of my favorite contemporary reads perfect for the summer. If the sun is shining, you can take these books out with you to the beach or a park. And if it is raining and cold (like it is in here at the moment) you can read these and try to vicariously enjoy summer through these wonderful stories and characters. If you are not in the mood for a romantic, funny summer read, don't worry, there's also a couple of more serious books in the mix.

I took the photos myself and tried to find some sort of items that matched with the stories, just to make the photos a bit more interesting.

Next week, I'll be doing a similar post about my favorite YA Contemporary Reads From My Kindle.


True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet is narrated through the diary entries of Morgan Carter, a troubled teen star. She has been getting bad publicity because of the stunts and once she gets out of rehab, her mother sends her from California to Ft. Wayne, Indiana to live with her aunt. She gets a new identity, a new name and new set of friends. But can she keep up with her new status as a "normal" high school student and hide it from those she is getting close to?

This is a book I read for the first time back in 2008 when I still lived in US. I remember reading it by the pool while listening to some music and drinking ice-tea. It is one of those books that is kind of predictable and silly at points, but it is also a lot of fun and very quick to read through. And if you are in a need of a film to watch, this has actually been adapted into a TV movie starring JoJo.


Hazel is forced to join a Cancer Kid Support Group where she meets the gorgeous Augustus Waters who changes everything. Prepare for romance, teams and a lot of FEELS.

I probably don't have to say much about this book, because I still haven't met a person who has read it and NOT liked it. The film is coming out here in Finland on 11th of July and I am definitely picking this up for a reread before that.

Make sure and have some tissues close to you if you read this one. 


After the death of her father, Amy's mother decides to move the family from California to Connecticut. Amy's mean of transportation: a cross-country car trip with Roger, a son of her mother's friend. When a carefully planned and timed trip turns into a epic detour of a road-trip, both Amy and Roger try to deal with their past and look forward to their future.

This book managed to make me both laugh and cry. It is touching, honest and romantic. It takes its time establishing the relationships between the characters, really digging into their past, present and hopes of the future. Little details like playlists, postcards and quotations add to the building of the story and the characters and it actually makes you feel like you are on the trip with Amy and Roger. 


Annabel used to have it all - a place among the most popular students in high school, a modeling career and a best friend, Sophie, she thought she could trust. But when Sophie starts to spread rumors about Annabel, she goes back to school after the summer as a "slut" and a "whore". Things at home are even worse - her sister Whitney is suffering from a eating disorder and it seems like the only thing that makes her mother happy is her modeling. But Annabel wants to stop. Everything changes when Annabel meets Owen - he is passionate, friendly and honest and nothing like the people Annabel used to associate with. Annabel starts to notice a change in herself, but there's a secret that keeps her connected to her old life. The only question is that can she trust Owen?

I couldn't have done this list without including a Sarah Dessen book (eventually I decided to include two). Just Listen is full of real characters who are real and faced with realistic problems. The relationships are well established and the writing is superb. There is also some romance in the mix, which I think makes it the perfect book for summer.


After graduating high school, Auden decides to spend her summer at her father's house by the beach. After her parents divorced, she has lived with her mother, spending most of her time alone. She has never been good at socializing and "girl talk", rather focusing on things like reading and studying. But a new environment by the beach brings new people into her life. There are the girls from her new job who help her to learn about friendships and trust. And then there's Eli who she befriends, almost by accident, and starts to spend more and more time with.

I read this last summer for the first time and found it to be the perfect summer book! It is set in a beach community, the characters are likable and real, it is funny and romantic and most importantly, I did not want to put it down once I started reading it. 


Two weeks after Hannah Baker has committed suicide, her classmate Clay Jensen finds a mysterious box from his porch filled with thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah. The cassette tapes represent the thirteen reasons why Hannah killed herself - and Clay is one of the reasons.

Thirteen Reasons Why is narrated through Hannah's cassette tapes and through Eli's thoughts, which provides the reader with two very different narrative voices. Asher continually builds suspense through his writing, making it very difficult to put this book down. This is definitely one of those books that will keep thinking about for days after finishing it. 


It is year 1986. Eleanor and Park meet in a school bus. Eleanor is the new girl with awkward clothes, red hair and a plenty of extra pounds. Park is the half-Korean guy who more than anything just wants to blend in to the crowd. Other kids make fun of Eleanor, but Park feels like he should say something to her. Once Park notices that Eleanor is reading the same comics Park likes, he starts to bring her comics. At first they don't speak, but once they start, it seems like they want to keep talking to each other for the rest of their lives.

This story is so incredibly touching and realistic. It is also funny, and romantic and heartbreaking. Seriously, if you haven't read this one, please go to the bookstore and buy it. It is simply wonderful.



Charlie is shy, intelligent and socially awkward. While he might not be the biggest nerd in the school, he is not popular either and finds it difficult to navigate through the world of high school. But then he makes friends that are a bit older than him and starts to learn about dates, falling in love, sex, alcohol, etc. while still trying to be himself. 

The book is narrated through Charlie's letters which work as mileposts that move the reader from one event to the next. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about growing up, about embracing yourself and finding the bravery to be yourself.


For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12 - "Cupid Day", should be a big party filled with valentines, flowers and popularity. It is all that... but then she dies on the night of February 12th. But then she wakes up the next morning and starts to live the day she died again. For the following seven mornings after 12th of February, she wakes up again and by making different changes every day, she starts to change the lives of those around her. 

Before I Fall is Lauren Oliver's debut novel and my personal favorite from her books. It managed to make me both laugh and cry and it was extremely difficult for me to put it down. The writing is beautiful and captivating and the character growth that takes place in this book is well established. 


Mia, now a high school senior, has aced her senior project, has been accepted to her dream colleges and has her birthday gala coming up, along with prom, graduation and elections of Genovia. Things get more difficult when it seems like no one wants to publish the novel she wrote in secret as her senior project; the campaign her father is running in Genovia isn't going well; and though her boyfriend J.P. seems perfect and kind, Mia isn't sure whether he's the one. Especially after Michael, Mia's first love comes back from Japan.

I was (and still am) OBSESSED with the Princess Diaries books (and the movies). I was a bit hesitant about including this book here since it's the last book in a series, but it just kept glaring at me from the shelf and I couldn't pass taking a photo of it as well. I feel like this book was perfect end to the series, but at the same time I am happy that Meg Cabot is a new book about Mia as an adult. I'll never be too old for Mia Thermopolis. And Michael. Oh, dreamy, perfect Michael. 


Which contemporary YA books would you recommend for the summer?

Remember to check my post about my favorite YA Contemporary Reads From My Kindle next Friday!

Also, if there are any favorite posts you would like me to do, please leave me a comment! 

1 comment:

  1. I love contemporary! Awesome list. My most recent favorite contemporary would have to Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan, and all of Jennifer E. smiths books I think are perfect for summer. =)

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