YA Reading List Part 4: Contemporary

Hello my friends! Sorry for the huge delay…I’ve been cranking out the final version of the latest Matt Archer book (Bloodlines goes on sale January 4th) and it’s kept me chained to the keyboard during all my spare time. But it’s done! WhooHoo!

So here we are, at the last post in the YA reading list series: Contemporary. There are  many more great reads out there and I’ve only highlighted a few of my favorites…if you have more to add, please comment. I’m always looking for awesome new books. I got a new Nook for Christmas and a B&N gift card too. Help me load it up!

Okay, let’s start with two lighter, fun titles that made me sigh with happiness and giggle frequently. First up…

Anna and the French Kiss

Paris is one of the most romantic cities on Earth…unless you’re forced to go to school there for your senior year at a posh academy by an absentee dad who thinks more about its status than taking you away from your friends. So starts Anna’s school year.  Yet, once she meets Etienne  St. Clair sparks fly (and, at times, tempers too).  St. Clair has a girlfriend, but the attraction is tough to deny. Unique setting, lovely meet-cute, and a story of a slow-burning romance that will suck you in until you’ve read the whole book in one sitting.

The Summer I Became a Nerd

For those geek-girls (like me!) this is a love song to all of us who secretly hide our love of Star Trek, comics and The Lord of the Rings. Cheerleader Maddie, after being made fun of in middle school for dressing up as a comic character for a costume party, goes “straight” and hides her geek self behind a popular girl facade. But she can’t keep her true self bottled up forever, especially when the last edition of her favorite comic comes out the summer before her senior year. Enter Logan, the geektastic guy working at the comic store…who happens to also know Maddie from school. Logan teaches Maddie to get in touch with her geek side and over the course of the summer, he wins her heart, too. A quick-paced, light, fun beach read.

Next up, two books that deal with some tough issues, and do it beautifully…

Eleanor and Park

This book is so amazing, and I bawled the entire time I read it, but a book cry is the best cry there is and sometimes you need that. I won’t spoil it, but for you Gen Xers, it’s set in 1986, which is partly why I think it hits me so hard. In 1986, I was a freshman, so I get it. Not just the time frame, but the bullying and insecurity, too. The way first love–the real thing–feels. Like your heart isn’t big enough to handle it. But there’s heartbreak here, too. It’s a difficult story to handle at times, but very worth your time.  (Plus Rainbow’s taste in music is wonderful. Bad by U2 is one of my all time faves, and got me through some rough spots, just like Eleanor.) Seriously, any book John Green reviews and calls evocative is a must read.

And speaking of John Green (penitent nod)…

So, I don’t even know where to start. Okay, start here–buy this book. Then go buy three boxes of tissues and plan to settle in for an emotionally draining book about kids with cancer.

No…not like that. A story about kids with cancer that’s funny, poignant, beautiful, ironic, humorous about some very terrible things to give it humanity, and a love story that will rip your heart out, tear it to bits, put it back together and make it ache.

I won’t lie. It’s a tough read…but so, so, so gorgeous. If this topic is too painful, however, try An Abundance of Katherines instead–it’s a bit lighter, but every bit as smart and ironically funny. John Green has become the gold-standard in YA contemporary literature, writing smart, witty teens with a lot of heart and reality.

There are a number of others, but these are my most recent faves. How about you? Any suggestions to help fill my new Nook?

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