Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Contemporary Novels

Now this is something that I’ve done before. I did this exact post for the Tuesday Top Ten on April 30th, dosage 2013, so a good year and a half ago. In that nearly two year period, Ive spent a LOT of time reading new books. A TON of time. So, of course, my favorite YA contemporary novel list has changed.

This blog has been around for two and a half years now and so that means that I will be doing repeats of old Tuesday Top Tens because things change, because the beauty of this blog that I’m constantly reading new books and being introduced to new authors so I’m finding new favorites. When you get down to it, this list is probably going to chance in a week or two anyway.

But I digress. Here are my top ten favorite YA contemporary books.

Side Note: Can I just say how proud I am of myself for posting this? Seriously. I rock. Moving on…

10. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

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The first time I read this book was back in 2001, when I was 12 years old. I had seen the movie, thought it was cute and immediately went out and bought the book. Now, the book is SO incredibly different from the movie, SO different and I immediately fell in love with it. Mia felt so close to the person that I am: awkward, shy, failing math, in love with my best friend’s brother (it worked out SO much better for her than me), loving writing, etc. She felt awkward for being tall, with no boobs; I felt awkward for being really short with huge boobs. Because this entire series is written in diary format, you are in the mind of Mia the entire time. So it feels real and authentic and like reading a note from your best friend. It feels genuine and it always made me laugh and cry and feel relatively sane. Mia is constantly being paranoid and worrying and doing all these fun teenage things and it makes me feel relatively normal, especially when I was a teen!

9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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For the longest time, Lola and the Boy Next Door was my favorite from Stephanie Perkins because I loved the quirkiness of both Lola and Cricket. But as soon as I read Isla, I knew this one had easily passed it up. What I love about this book is …well, a lot of things. First off, Isla felt closer to me than Lola and Anna. She was happy, she got the boy, but she doubted it, she felt insecure, she always felt like she might screw it up. That sort of insecurity has been with me for ages and even after a relationship, I still sometimes feel like that, like anything that I say or do can tip the scale, both with potential boyfriends/girlfriends and with just friends alone. Plus Josh was the dreamiest of the boys in all the books, his graphic novel drawing and writing skills were swoon worthy. But I think what I love about this book is that its not the beautiful happily ever after we always expect. It tells us that relationships and love is wonderful but it doesn’t come without work and struggle, which is SO true. I love everything about this book. Plus Stephanie Perkins is just plain awesome.

8. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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First off, I love the main character’s name, Auden. I love that this has the love story and the beauty of summer, as does most of her books, but I think I love that it focuses a lot on the relationship between Auden and her parents. I know what its like to be forced to grow up quickly and to have that reality that parents aren’t perfect thrust on you. I’ve dealt with parents who have run from their mistakes instead of facing them head on. I’ve dealt with that fear that things were my fault. I think Sarah really captures a lot here. A lot of her characters are growing up as a teenager, becoming adults, that sort of thing, but in this book, Auden is just growing up, period. She’s experiencing things that you learn from just being a child, like riding a bike and bowling and that sort of thing. And I think that’s beautiful. I think I like Auden transforming from this closed off person to someone who accepts that she’s imperfect, that she makes mistakes and that she can open herself up to new things and new people.

7. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

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The first time I read this book was quite a few years ago. I had just bought my first e-reader, and I was looking through top sellers, but cheap, and this one caught my eye. It sounded kind of juicy and I liked the premise of it, so I decided to buy it. And I’m so so glad that I did. Tammara writes a four part series following the story of Reid Alexander, an actor who is hot, charming, and totally full of trouble. These books are sexy, and fun, and kind of make me wish that Reid Alexander was real so, 1. He could play Jace Wayland in a City of Bones adaptation and 2. So I could just date him, period. But what surprised me is the emotional depth of these books. The characters were all real to me, and the character development of Reid over the course of the four books just absolutely blows my mind. I love these books SO much, I reread them all the time.

6. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

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The Secret Life of Prince Charming was actually the first Deb Caletti book I ever read, and I’m so glad I did because it turned me on to an author that just literally blows my mind every time she releases a new book. She writes so beautifully, against the north west coast of the United States. She captures the setting, the story, the emotions, the people, everything so well that it always sticks out in your mind. I don’t often have a hard time recalling her books because she’s just such a beautiful writer. I thought that this book was so unique in compared with other contemporary romance YA novels. I think that Quinn learns a lot about love, in that, its a great and wonderful and awesome thing but its also complicated and difficult and it has its ups and downs. That’s the beauty of this book. It doesn’t gloss over the hard parts, and it doesn’t glorify the hard parts. Relationships, love, breaking up, moving on, all of that is SO hard and its all in this book and I love every bit of it.

5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I love everything Gayle Forman touches. She’s an absolutely incredible writer and she writes stories that are so unique but real. I love If I Stay and I loved the movie as well. But the minute that I finished Just One Day, I knew I had read something that was amazing and I wouldn’t forget it. Just One Day is about adventure, about that incredibly rare idea of adventure and love and throwing caution to the wind, that sort of thing. And I just loved it. Who wouldn’t want to spend a crazy day around Paris, with a super charming and sexy guy? I know I would. But the book goes beyond that, beyond just the adventure. It follows Allyson for a year after this experience, seeing how it changes her, and her life and the way she views life and I think that’s just…incredible (even though I’ve repeated that word in this post about, oh, about a thousand million times). Its just…beautiful. Its full of SO MANY FEELS. And its nice to think that one day, just one day, could change everything.

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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I grabbed this book because it was on the shelf next to Sarah Dessen’s current release. I liked the cover, and it was next to Sarah and the back cover sounded pretty interesting. Now Morgan is one of my favorite authors and I love getting to see her as often as possible, because she is just an incredible author. The story follows Amy and Roger, as they go on this road trip across the US to new homes, to places where they don’t really want to go. Its supposed to be a straight shot to the destination until they decide…screw this, let’s have an adventure. Did I mention that I like adventures? I like the possibilities of adventure, the idea that you’re making up every step of the way on a whim, and I think that’s what Amy and Roger love about it, the idea that anything is possible, when things have gone so wrong in both of their lives. Plus, its a road trip books, and road trip books are fun and make me want to get in my car and have a road trip, and Morgan talks about all these cool food places to eat (god I love food) and she has playlists throughout the book and she has a great taste in music. Okay, now I want to go read this book again…

3. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

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This is my favorite Sarah Dessen book ever and I think it all boils down to that there was so much about Remy that I wanted to be, especially in high school. She’s beautiful, smart, in control, confident. She knows what she wants, who she wants and when she wants it and she knows how to get it. She’s brilliant. Of course, she has no idea how to love someone, and she has no idea how emotions help not hinder you and hold back. She has to learn that she can trust others and that trusting others is not the end of the world. But I wanted to be her. I wanted to be that confident and to hold my beauty (possibly) as a weapon, and to be as in control as she seems to be. I was always so messy and emotional in high school and I wanted so hard to be in control of all of that and I never felt like that. Plus I just love Dexter, the male lead of the book. He’s a musician and goofy and genuine and just hilarious. I want a boy like Dexter. Can someone find me something like that? haha.

2. Winger by Andrew Smith

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There are so many wonderful things about this book that I am not even sure where to begin. This book made me laugh so hard I cried, and made me cry because I was so sad. It is one of those books that made me stop and think, this is a teen voice. This is completely the voice of the character. There are so many authors that write in the voice of a teenager but none of them ever seem to get it as much as Andrew Smith does when writing in the mind of Ryan Dean West. Andrew is an incredible writer, and I hadn’t heard of him before this book, to be completely honest, so when I did, I was just blown away by this book. I had never really read anything like it before so it has been stuck in my mind since then, and it easily became my favorite book. I’ve read it two or three times since then and it just blows my mind every single time. It makes me laugh so much and I wish I could write a book this good, one that I want to buy a million copies of and shove it into every single person’s hands.

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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This has become one of my favorite books in the entire world. When I first heard of it, I thought that the title was super cute because being a fangirl is a huge part of my life, and Cath’s obsession with Simon Snow in the description of the novel sounded so familiar. What I didn’t know is that I would read this book that literally felt like it walked into my very soul and knew it. That sounded really cheesy, wow. Wow. But its true. Cath is exactly the way I have been and the way I still am. She loses herself into these books, escapes into them, because they make her happy, they make the bad things go away. She’s afraid of the world outside of books, she’s anxious about new things, she likes to be alone and fan fiction and the internet are her friends. There’s something about Cath being thrown into these new situations, solo, so outside of her comfort zone that just makes me feel so familiar. It makes me feel happy to know that, even though this is a fictional character, there’s someone who understands how I feel. Cath is so me, its scary. She says things that make me laugh and cry and literally reaches into me and makes me want to say “OHMYGOD YES”. It has become, easily, one of my favorite books ever.

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What are some of your favorite contemporary YA novels? Share them in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Books I’d Give to Readers Who Don’t Read Contemporary YA

So there are two inspirations for today’s Tuesday Top Ten. One of them is that its the actual Top Ten Tuesday post over at The Broke and Bookish. So there’s that. Normally I stick to my own, sildenafil but because I’ve been running out of ideas, approved I’ve been borrowing from that meme lately.

But I also decided to use it because it reminded me of my friend Alena. We work together and we spend most of our time (when we’re not working hard, visit this of course), talking about books. We recommend books to each other, exchange books and basically fangirl every moment that we can. I lent her the Lunar Chronicles recently and she loved it. I love doing that.

Anyway, she mentioned recently that she tends to stick to fantasy-dystopian-science fiction, with a heavy hand in fantasy. Now while this is incredibly true of me as well, I also read a ton of contemporary YA. With authors like the ones in this list…it would be stupid to avoid contemporary.

But in reality, a lot of people are actually avoiding it. The supernatural, the science fiction, the fantasy is the most appealing right now and besides authors like John Green and Rainbow Rowell (who does appear on this list, haha), you don’t see much actual fandom for the contemporary YA. People stick to the “out of this world” sort of books.

So that’s why this week, I’m recommending 10 contemporary YA books to those of you who might be a bit hesitate to jump in. Trust me, if you read these five, you won’t regret it :)

Honorable Mention: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

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She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…

News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!)

Downer: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)

Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.

Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.

Well, her father can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty–no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what’s a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

See, this book would officially be on the list and much higher but for one reason: the topic is recommending books to those who are hesitant about reading contemporary novels. This is the first book in a ten book series so its not an easy one to recommend. But its easily one of my favorite books ever. If you’ve ever seen the movie (which I love), you’re going to love the book more. Told in literal diary form, you fall in love with Mia over and over because of her honesty, her awkwardness and her journey to figure out who she is in the sprawling mess of high school, as a princess. They’re funny and sweet, and easy reads and they meant a lot to me during my teen years and I will always love them. The fact that an adult book of this series is being released next year is so exciting to me, I can’t even handle it. 

10. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

I had never been massively impressed with Jenny Han until I read this book. Especially since I found out it was based partially on the truth that Jenny wrote letters like this to the boys she had loved before. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting in this book but I felt I got so much more. There was humor, I laughed so much. There was a romance story, but in the least expecting way. There was family, especially the bond between the three sisters. I zipped through this book easily because everything in the book felt so familiar and yet new and it all made me bubbly and happy inside.

9. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody 

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

I would have probably loved this book anyway because its Jessica Brody and I absolutely adore her but let’s back off the fact that I’m a huge JB fan, and just talk about the book itself. Its FUN. Its funny. Lexi is just a mess and you alternately want to hug her and strangle her at the same time. Its lighthearted, cute, and fun, and its a book that definitely makes you smile. That’s a huge thing about contemporary: I need a break from disease, and dying, and power hungry rulers and all of that. I want lighthearted and I want to laugh and this book will definitely make you laugh. And it’ll probably make you want to go hug your dad too.

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Trust me, I know. I’m definitely guilty of judging a book by its title and cover. So I steered VERY clear away from this book for a VERY long time, and I’m so sad that I did this. I’m very slowly trying to avoid my judgements because they often times lead me astray. This book looks like it is too romantic, cheesy, probably not written very well. But then you open the pages and you realize: this novel is incredible. Sure, yes, it has the romance and it tells the story of first love but there is so much more to that. Its not your typical love story. It’s a story of finding yourself and making mistakes and growing up and getting things wrong again and again. There’s so much more to Anna’s story than just being kissed by a boy. She struggles with living in Paris and she struggles with her feelings for a boy that she can’t have. Its beautiful and its companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door is equally as great!

7. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

What I think makes this a great novel is that its just an incredible story. I put it in the contemporary because that is what it is, despite its Groundhog Day sort of storyline. Sam is forced to relive the last day of her life seven times, and each day is a roller coaster of mistakes, getting things right, emotions, fixing things and breaking things and trying to figure out why she keeps living this day. What I think really gets you about this is that you start off absolutely hating her. Literally hating her. She’s a mean girl, and she’s definitely not a person that you can relate to. You kind of don’t hate too much that she died, to be honest. But as the book goes on, and she relives the day again and again and again, Sam learns more and more about herself and the mistakes she makes and you begin to like her, just in time to remember that she’s dead. Definitely Lauren Oliver’s best novel.

6. The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

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Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can’t quite believe it, especially when the terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, she’s trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That’s why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that’s where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.


His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian’s cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she’s in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.

Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn’t felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.

First off, I apologize for the abnormally long synopsis. For real. Why is it so long? Sigh. Moving on…Deb Caletti is one of the most amazing and inspiring authors that has come into my life. She’s got this way of completely capturing people, their lives, their emotions, their flaws and their strengths and her books feel so real, that you feel like every single character and situation has happened in real life. This one has always stuck to me because I feel like Jade is the character I’ve felt the closest too. She’s afraid, and she has these anxieties and fears that she just sometimes can’t control. This is all too real for me, and it’s also incredibly real in the story. When she begins to build a relationship with Sebastian and his son, and the elephants at the zoo, you just completely sucked into this story. Its a very human story, that has more than just a love story. Your emotions are tugged very hard in this one but in all the best ways.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Okay, this is legit the longest synopsis ever. Sorry :( The reason this is five and not lower (because legit this is one of my favorite books ever) is because while this book connects to me in so many ways, it may not for everyone. Fangirl is a great book for fangirls and boys. This is why I put it on the list. Because Cath is obsessed with a fantasy book series, obsessed to the point that she writes fan fiction and has posters plastered on her wall. She reminds me of every fangirl on Tumblr and I think that’s what makes it so good. If you’re obsessed with reading fantasy books, then you’re probably going to identify with Cath so easily. Plus, I think its one of the best new adult books out there, though its technically considered YA. It explores all the uncertainties of moving out, growing up, going to college, figuring out what you want to do with your life. Its hilarious and so familiar. But if you’re not feeling this one, I recommend Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Anything Rainbow is honestly the good way to go. 

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Morgan Matson is easily one of my favorite authors and it was this book, her debut novel, that remains my favorite, because of how much it captured me. Morgan Matson writes this perfect summer book, full of romance and the fun and spontaneity of a road trip but there’s more to it as well. Both of the characters are struggling to let go of something and it takes this road trip for them to open up about it and accept it and move on. Plus its just fun. Morgan Matson is such a great writer. I love that she has a travel diary in it, and includes pictures and receipts and things like that, to make it look like a road trip scrapbook. I love that there are playlists sprinkled through out the novel, because there is so much good music on it. This book makes you laugh and makes you cry and makes you want to pack up your car and take a road trip, if only to try all the delicious food they try in the book.

3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

What could potentially be a cliche and cheesy novel is actually one of the most thoughtful and beautiful novels that I’ve read. Allyson Healey was on a European tour, ready to finally experience something outside of the completely planned life she has, but its not what she expects. Its planned tours and an itinerary. When she meets Willem on her last day, and he promises her a day of adventure in Paris, she breaks her routine and says yes and it turns into the best day of her life. She experiences things she’s never experienced before. When something tears them apart, you get to see how this day changes Allyson and the path that it takes her on. Its a fun adventure but it reaches to every person who wishes they could just skip everything for a day, leave school and work and all of that behind and just be spontaneous for a day and have an adventure and I think that’s what can appeal to every person.

2. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Sarah Dessen is easily one of the best contemporary YA authors out there, and she’s been writing for quite some time. I honestly recommend any book written by her, but this one is definitely one. While its not my personal favorite, its definitely the fan favorite of the group. There’s something about this book that reaches out to everyone who reads it and I think its because of the characters. Every single one of the characters is so unique and well thought out and familiar. Everyone has a story, everyone is well developed and sometimes you can’t decide which one you like more. But the story of Macy and Wes is what gets you. Its a beautiful romance story that is subtle and perfect and takes time to develop and by the end, you’re in tears, both from happiness and heartbreak. Definitely definitely definitely read this book.

1. Winger by Andrew Smith

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Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Easily one of my favorite books of all time, and easily one of the best contemporary novels out there. The reason that its number one is because I’ve talked to boys, girls, adults, teens, preteens, people from different walks of life, and everyone who reads this book absolutely enjoys it. Its written so well, and the story is so good. Its SO funny. I’ve never read a book that captures the voice of a teenage boy as well as this one does. Andrew Smith gives his character the intelligence, the voice and the opinions of a real teenager, and gives them the credit they deserve but he also doesn’t forget that they’re teenagers and they’re stupid and they think about sex a lot. Its one of the funniest books I’ve read but it’s also one of the truest books I’ve read. Andrew captures high school, puberty, growing up, uncertainties and insecurities, family, friends, first love, loss and so much more in one book, and I honestly think that anyone and everyone will love this book.

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Just One Year Book Review

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Before you find out how their story ends, troche remember how it began….

When he opens his eyes, troche Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

My Review:

This review will not contain spoilers for the book Just One Year. However, there will be spoilers from the first novel, Just One Day. To read the review of that novel, please click here

When I read Just One Day a few months ago, I never knew that it was going to leave me with a cliffhanger that made me want to pull my hair out. I was unaware of the fact that there was even going to be a sequel so I just wasn’t expecting it.

We meet Allyson, aka Lulu, in Just One Day. She meets Willem in a chance encounter, and decide to spend one day in Paris, France. Their encounter is more than either expected, except when Lulu wakes up the next day, after trusting this stranger and giving part of herself to him, he’s gone. The day changes Allyson in many ways, and she’s unable to move on until she finds out what happens next. The novel follows Lulu and Willem on their magical day and Lulu’s plan to find him. The book ends with Lulu knocking on Willem’s door, and him letting her in. Seriously. Worst. Cliffhanger. Ever. I almost threw the book until I remembered it was a library book and thats probably against the law, in book world.

Just One Year is the year that Willem spends after this magical day. He wakes up, disoriented, in a hospital, after being attacked, and he can’t remember much at first. By the time he remembers, its too late and Lulu is gone. He knows nothing about her; not her name, not from where’s from, nothing. He gave her the name Lulu. He literally has absolutely no way of finding her, and like Allyson, that day changed him and he can’t forget about it. The book shows the year that it takes Willem to get to that door that he and Allyson finally get to.

I LOVED this novel, and I think its because we already know Willem from Just One Day but we don’t really know him. We don’t see his personality, his family, anything. He’s a mystery, and yet we totally fall in love with him. You have this great desire to find out what happened to him, and how he got where he is. Its seriously all you’re wondering and all Allyson is wondering and she finally reaches that door in Just One Day and the BOOK ENDS! And you want to scream your head off, especially since she spent all this time looking for someone who didn’t want to be found.

But just a great novel. Willem is a world traveler, and he travels both to try and find Lulu and also to try and just figure out himself and how that day changed him and it makes for a beautiful novel. Just the backdrop of the novel, and the adventures that he has and the people he meets are enough to forget about the meeting that he and Allyson are eventually going to have. Honestly, so much of Willem’s story makes me want to hop on a plane and just GO somewhere, anywhere. He is so fearless and so ready to be in a new place. He just hops on a train, a bus, in cars with random strangers, eats new food and its just incredible and completely envious.

I can’t say much more than that because it will just ruin the novel. The whole point of Just One Year is to discover the mystery that is Willem since we get to see such a small sliver of him in the first novel. I don’t want to ruin any of the mystery for you guys, because living with Willem, discovering who he is and who he grows to be is the center point of this novel and its just a beautiful novel. Gayle Forman has a way of writing a seemingly normal, contemporary novel and she pulls at your heart in both good and bad ways. What a beautiful and talented writer.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Book of the Week-Just One Day

So I miss my blog. I know to most of you, page you guys are seeing posts, stomach so you’re okay, diagnosis you don’t realize but not having a computer and not being able to be there for my blog every day is driving me absolutely insane. Yes, I have this attachment to a piece of technology. Sad, but very true. I just love this blog and not being able to work on it SUCKS  big time.

So basically what I’ve been doing, thanks to my amazing and wonderful and PATIENT boyfriend, is borrowing his laptop when I can and writing out as many posts as possible. This is already my second post of the night, and I’m hoping to get a couple more in there. We’ll see how that goes.

But one thing that has come from this lack of technology is that I’m also not on the computer doing completely useless stuff as well! So that means I’ve been getting a lot of reading done; I’ve read 3 and 1/2 books in the last few days. Yes, yes I have. So expect a lot of reviews coming your way, including today’s Book of the Week.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Genre:

young adult, contemporary, coming of age

Part of a Series?

Yes. The second book, Just One Year, is expected in 2014.

You May Like if You Liked:

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went, Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Plot Summary:

Good girl Allyson is in Europe, a tour of Europe that was a gift from her parents before she heads off to college. So far, it has been absolutely everything opposite of what she is expected, and as she heads back to London before heading home, she is feeling kind of defeated. That is, until two chance encounters with a handsome Dutch boy named Willem, who entices her to spend a day with him in Paris. She goes, even though this is something she would never do in a million years, and they spend a crazy, but amazing day together in Paris. When Allyson wakes up the next morning, however, Willem is gone, without a word and she has no way of finding him, and she goes home.

The story then picks up with Ally at college, still reeling from that one day in Paris. She knows that it was only one day, and that she didn’t even really know Willem, but its changed her, and she can’t remember who she is anymore. She needs to figure out why this one day has changed her so much, and what she can do about it.

The Bad:

I had an issue with how badly Allyson reacted to “losing” Willem. It was not so bad as the story went along but at first, it seemed more and more about this boy, and I hate when a story is all wrapped around a boy, and that really annoyed me at first. When she is just completely devastated and changed because of this one day, I was seriously irritated. As someone who broke up with her boyfriend of two years (we got back together) and that was painful. One day? I just wanted her to buck up and handle it. But when you realize that it is more than just the actual connection between Willem and how he kind of challenged the way she was living before, it made a lot more sense. It was more than just losing a boy, it was also about losing who she was with that boy. 

The Good:

Gayle Forman is absolutely beautiful writer. She is just straight up a really wonderful writer. She spins a great story, and a fairly believable one, at that, considering she created this crazy story of two teenagers running away to Paris for a day. Her writing itself is just so beautiful. She captures the simplicity of being a teenager and those sorts of feelings and thoughts, and so its so young adult but she’s also so rich and descriptive and she also doesn’t soften the truths of being a teenager. I think most people would qualify her as young adult but I would say she is new adult, and I really like this subcategory of new adult, that really takes it a step further (like in Tammara Webber’s novels) and isn’t afraid to show the grittier, more realistic sides of things. And she really accomplishes all of that with having such a talent for concise and beautiful writing, and the ability to tell a great story. 

I picked this up, and struggled a little bit in the first chapter. Sometimes when you pick up a book, its not what you want to read. Its nothing against the book itself; its just not what your  brain is craving at the moment. So I picked up a different book and read it (review on Friday!) and then I was able to return to this book. Once I did, it was time, and I fell into it as quickly as I did with “If I Stay”. 

The thing about Gayle that impressed me the first time around was her ability to create such an engrossing story with such well developed characters in SUCH a short novel, in If I Stay. I noticed this was the same with Where She Went, as well. I saw Just One Day and noticed it was longer and I wondered if it would be the same. She had already proven to me that she could write a great novel in a smaller amount of pages than most authors. But she really built a story. She told two different stories. She told the story of one day, and she told the story of Allyson’s life after that one day. That could easily have been two different novels, really but she put it together and it was amazing. 

It also leads to the sequel. What a horrible, terrible, amazing cliffhanger, Gayle. You did that with If I Stay too, and I want to shake you, happily, for that, because there aren’t many people who can really accomplish that more than once. I was racing to the finish, hoping to see what would happen and then it just ended and I was left with a desire to rush out to the bookstore and purchase the next book in the series. Unfortunately it is not released yet but I am now anxiously waiting because such a great book. 

Lastly, I want to commend Gayle for her characters. She’s writing contemporary fiction, which is in the minors nowadays with paranormal and dystopian and fantasy and science fiction, and if you aren’t John Green, you have your work a bit cut out for you. But the thing about contemporary is that you have to have this really great story, with well-developed characters because that is your entire novel. There are no fantasy elements to bring it all together. But Gayle creates all these believable and fantastic characters. Allyson, Willem, Allyson’s best friend Melanie, Willem’s former love Celine, Allyson’s parents and her friends at school. She really captures them all so well. She isn’t just great at creating these young adults, but her adult characters, even just her minor characters, all shine individually and its just so impressive and lovely to see. I seriously can’t wait to read the sequel. 

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars 

Recommended or Not?

Definitely. I love Gayle Forman and I’ve only just recently read her three books. It makes me sad because I had a chance to meet her with Morgan Matson and Sarah Dessen at the LA Festival of Books but I skipped her because I hadn’t read anything by her. Now I’m disappointed because I would have loved to have a chance to talk to someone who writes such wonderful and compelling new adult literature, in the contemporary genre. This is exactly what I want to do and I’d love to pick her brain. 

Got off topic a bit there. The point is, Gayle is a wonderful writer. You should definitely pick up this book, if you’ve never read anything by her. If you’ve read If I Stay and Where She Went, and you enjoyed those, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. 

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Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Book of the Week!

Don’t forget you can always check out older posts here, and to check out last week’s review on Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14!!

Happy reading!