Monday, 2 July 2012

Contemporary Summer: Top Ten Favourite YA Contemporary Novels

I never used to read much contemp much, before my blogging days (it was mainly paranormal and Harry Potter re-reads). Blogging, however, broadened my horizons, and it's thanks to blogging this top ten list even exists at all!

My Top Ten Favourite YA Contemporary novels: 

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Anna is probably my all time favourite contemp ever. It has everything you could ask for in a contemp; great, complex, imperfect characters (Ella and St. Clair, I love them both); a great love interest (did I mention St. Clair?); a plot that makes you laugh and tugs at your heartstrings – I just don’t see how anyone can dislike this book. I think I love it more every time I read it. And when I finish the last page, I always get that warm, fuzzy feeling and I just sit there for a while with a ridiculous grin on my face.

2. Past Perfect by Leila Sales – this book surprised me. I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. I heard it was about a girl who does historical re-enactment, and expected a bunch of weird things, namely obsessive historians running around the place telling everyone that if we “don’t learn from the past, then history is doomed to repeat itself!”. My mind came up with a bunch of crazy things it could be about, but I was wrong on all accounts. This book was absolutely hilarious, and the relationship between Chelsea and Dan was so sweet and funny and awesome and ah! Brilliant.

3. Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart – I’m not splitting the series into its separate books a) because this list will definitely go over ten, and b) because all four are equally awesome. Ruby Oliver is one of my favourite characters, and one of the most relatable characters I’ve come across. She’s funny and silly and does stupid things, but you can’t help but love her no matter what. Honestly, if there was a book titled “Ruby Oliver: Life as a Criminal Mastermind”, written in the same style as the previous four, I think I’d STILL like the girl.

4. Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter – this is a hard series to categorise – it’s contemp, but also not contemp. I mean, it’s about spies. But it’s going on the list anyway because it is THAT good. Zach Goode, sigh. One of my favourite love interests of all time (funnily enough, he is on my “Top Ten Favourite Book Boyfriends” list). He and Cammie just...I don’t know. Spark? Click? And the plot is always action-packed, with some crazy and unpredictable going on. I adore this series!

5. The Duff by Kody Keplinger – I love this one because I feel like anyone reading it could relate to the story. Most people have felt unhappy with their appearance at some point, or have doubted themselves and found it difficult to find their best qualities. I think The Duff is a great book because it’s telling you that’s okay, and that you’re not alone in thinking those things. Bianca makes a lot of mistakes throughout the book, but making mistakes is part of being human. And you know, it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes.

6. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot – who on Earth doesn’t like this series? I grew up with Mia Thermopolis, experienced her hilarious antics and embarrassments and sadness and happiness. My tween years would not have been the same without her! I remember anxiously waiting for the last book to be released, wondering if she’d finally end up with Michael (who clearly was the best boy of the lot). So many memories when I think back to reading these books! They definitely deserve a place here in my top ten.

7. Heist Society series by Ally Carter – one word for you: Hale. W.W. Hale, that mysterious, amazing boy. I love him! (I know Cait does too :P). And I love how he and Kat are when they’re together. Kat is pretty awesome herself, and definitely a great heroine. Reading these books makes me want to join in on the (highly illegal) heists! :P One thing I can say with certainty about this series is that none of the two books so far have ever been boring. I’ve loved every single page! And I cannot wait for book three (I wanna know what Hale’s first name is! William? Wentworth? Womble? Wimbledon?!)

8. Georgia Nicolson series by Lousie Rennison – hilarity. These books are hilarious. They are. Georgia, I don’t know whether she’s a bit loopy or what, but she never fails to make me laugh :P. She’s had a few boyfriends over the course of the series, but Dave the Laugh has always been my favourite. Never really understood why she liked the other boys, because they were nowhere near as funny or understanding! This was another series I grew up with and because of that, Georgia’s Snogging Scale will forever be embedded in my brain!

9. The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen – this was one of the first standalone contemps I ever read, and will probably always be one of my favourites. This book isn’t exactly happy, and there’s this melancholic feeling throughout, but it ends with hope and I like how Macy grows and starts to take more control over her life by the end. If you’re a fan of Dessen’s work, I’m sure this will be one of your favourites too :).

10. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – if you have not read this book, I recommend you buy it. It’s very short, and takes place over one day, but it is immensely awesome. Nick and Norah are both a bit lost, but one night can change a lot. And change it does! Nick and Norah are both brilliant characters, and their story is exciting and exhilarating and will make you wish that you knew them in real life. I read this book a few years ago and still haven’t forgotten it.

Other notable titles: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (everyone needs to read this book), The Statistical Probability of love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (serious at times, but very cute), The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg (not sure if this counts as contemp, but it’s excellent anyway), She’s So Money by Cherry Cheva (a contemp with a funny and unusual storyline), Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (way underrated), Ella Mental and the Good Sense Guide by Amber Deckers (I loved this when I was younger, very adorable) and All-American Girl by Meg Cabot (it’s Meg Cabot! Funny and sweet and gets a great point across).

What are your favourite contemps? Visit Cait’s post to see her top ten (pre-blogging, that is), and see yesterday’s post to nominate your favourites and enter out giveaways!


  1. Anna is definitely one of the best contemps! This is a great list, pretty much all the books I'd forgotten about are on here! Have you read Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta as well? VERY good!

  2. I am SAD Saving Francesca didn't make your top ten, but at least it got a mention XD Totes agree about know my feelings on that. Hale. Hale. Hale. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Major Ally Carter love from us. Georgia Nicholson is a MUST read and I really should finish the Ruby Oliver boooks....

  3. YAY for Anna, Truth About Forever, and All-American Girl! ...Can you tell I'm a lover of lovey-dovey contemps? Haha.

    I've always wanted to read the Georgia Nicolson series. Heard they're HILARIOUS, like you said.

  4. I plan on reading the Heist Society books this month! Really excited heard lots of fab things, nice list!

  5. geez, i completely agree with you on most of these (at least the ones that i actually read, which is all but georgia nicholson & the gallagher girls, and a couple of the honorable mentions, too). but i have to say that i liked Lola & The Boy Next Door even more than Anna. Plus, WW Hale, yum. can't wait to read the next one! it's been too long since the last one was out, last summer I think. :( ~dixie

  6. I'm glad you have The DUFF on your list! I loved that book; read it in one sitting.

  7. Anna and the French Kiss . . . The Duff . . . yup I see a few of my favourite books up there. Great list! My favourite contemporary book would have to be The Summer I Turned Pretty and practically the WHOLE trilogy of that series which will always be my ultimate favourite. :)

  8. So many lovely contemps there! I adore Meg Cabot, and the Ruby Oliver series, Georgia Nicolson, Anna and the French Kiss, The Duff, Sarah Dessen, Nick and Norah! I'll be looking forward to the rest of your contemp month :)

  9. Anna is definitely my all time fave of the contemps I've read. Such a perfect book! I need to read The Truth About Forever soon. Just bought that one recently.

  10. ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA! *happy sigh* Oh Liz. You're making me ache for a reread. I love that book like I can't explain. I think it would be my #1 choice aswell. Also I'd add Saving June, The Fault in Our Stars, Stay With Me, Lola and some others to my list!

    YES to The Truth About Forever! It was my first Dessen book and I absolutely FELL IN LOVE. Plus... Wes <3

    I sooo want to read Past Perfect, start the Ruby Oliver series and FINISH the Gallagher Girls! Especially since they make your top 10!


Comments are better than frosted cupcakes :)