Monday, 6 September 2010

Help Adele / Awesome Contemporary?

I've been a little bit of a grouch lately. Between my discussion post on what  I find repellent with YA romance (contemporary, paranormal, anything) and two less than complimentary reviews I need some positivity.

I love a good contemporary with a dash of romance more than anything.

I've read everything Sarah Dessen.

I mention that because I want you to point me towards some titles that fall into the category of great contemporary with a dash of romance. (No Sarah, I own them all already.)

What have I been remiss in overlooking? New. Old. American - remember, not everything that is published in America makes its way across the ocean.  I'd even prefer it if it were older than 3 years because chances are, I haven't read it.

Hit me with your best stuff.

I want it.

I need it.

Oh baby.  Oh baby

(Sorry, shameless 10 Things reference).

And please feel free to use my discussion post to disregard some titles.  I am not interested in romances that are destined to be....I'd rather lose an eye.

**If you suggest something and I buy and love it....I'll send you some books as a thank you.  No kidding.


April (BooksandWine) said...

I bet you would really enjoy the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty. They start with Sloppy Firsts. I think you would quite like them, as they have snark and wry observations.

Nomes said...

I love suggestion posts as I am always up fro spreading the love of books I adore - and YA contemp is my thing!

so, I'm crossing off all the ones you've read/reviewed and all my fave Aussie titles... and here's a couple I have left (dont know how to leave link, so just goodreads them for more info):

1. Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin. Very addictive and HOT and a great contemp with family issues and a messy life.
2. The Sky Always hears Me and The Hills Dont Mind by Kristin Cronn-Mills. Love this book hard.
3. What My Girlfriend Doesnt' Know by Sonya Sones (male POV verse novel - romance isn't saturated, but more real and complicated).
4. Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts. Also romance isn't a huge plot thing - there's still enough to make you swoon).
5. Tricia Mills (Heartbreak River and Winter Longing) I rate these as my rainy-day comfort reads. Easy to snuggle up with and read in one go and swoony enough to satisfy but not necessarily brilliant or anything :)

Crystal Cook said...

This is one of my favorite books, with just the right amount of romance I think. And no 'meant to be' in sight :)

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
Brad writes from the guys POV and Heather writes from the girls.

It was published in 2006.

Crystal Cook said...

I meant one guy and one girl POV, not multiple guys and girls. oops! ;)

Jenna said...

Love, Rosie by Cecila Ahern. It's not technicaly YA, but it does follow the two main characters through their entire life. It's written only through letters, emails, and other forms of textual comunication. It's a great read, and one of my favorite books of all time.

jpetroroy said...

The Summer I Turned Pretty/It's Not Summer Without You- Jenny Han
Tell Me a Secret- Holly Cupala
And Then Everything Unraveled- Jennifer Sturman
Fat Cat- Robin Brande
Twenty Boy Summer- Sarah Ockler
Going Too Far- Jennifer Echols

prophecygirl said...

Like I said on Twitter, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Stadiford is really good. I don't know if it'll have enough romance for you, but it's contemporary and just... different.


The Jessica Darling series (Sloppy Firsts is #1) by Megan McCafferty is THE BEST contemp series I've ever read. 7 years later, it's still my favourite.

The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don't Mind by Kristin Cronn-Mills is ace.

Let's Get Lost by Sarra Manning (UK title)

Drawing with Light by Julia Green (UK title)

Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine (UK title)

Holly said...

You should try MY HEARTBEAT by Garret Freymann-Wehr. It's an older Printz nominee that Angie got me to read last month. I think you may find it refreshing as it's a very different, unconventional YA type of romance. And it's an Angie recommendation. :) Hard to beat that.

Anonymous said...

I think you should try Simone Elkeles...though I don't know if she'd count! I've heard such good things about ALL of her books! I've also heard a great deal about Jennifer Echols' books!

Rebecca Wells said...

Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer

It's soooo cute! Also, I second the Simone Elkeles recommendation.

Anonymous said...

If you're a Beatles fan, try The Lonely Hearts Club (2009) by Elizabeth Eulberg. It's a quick, fun, contemporary read that I couldn't put down.

Khy said...

Any of E. Lockhart's books! I think you'd especially like The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks but it's not that romancey.

David Levithan, OBVIOUSLY.

And I loved The Year of Secret Assignments but for some reason I feel that you've read that already? I think I just might be crazy.

Khy said...

Any of E. Lockhart's books! I think you'd especially like The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks but it's not that romancey.

David Levithan, OBVIOUSLY.

And I loved The Year of Secret Assignments but for some reason I feel that you've read that already? I think I just might be crazy.

Carla said...

I really think you should read Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon. I loved that book ever so much and I can't recommend it enough. Its just so different from anything i've read before. plus, it has dual perspective and it works so so well!

You might've already read these books but they're old and i'm halfway through them and loving them! The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Really, they are so light and hysterical that I spend most of the time i'm reading laughing my head off.

I read Sweethearts by Sara Zarr too, not sure if you've read that but that was just incredible.

I second all the recommendations for Megan McCafferty and E.Lockhart a 100%

Laura said...

Here's the thing: I spent over an hour searching through my book collection, picking the right books, and typing long, well-thought descriptions and reasons why I think you should read each book. When I went to publish my comment, *poof* it disappeared because Blogger had a stupid error. So now I'm too depressed to re-think and re-type everything. Hopefully you can just take my word that these titles are worth reading. Surely at least one of them will satisfy your contemporary craving.

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (along with John Green's other three books: Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns)

Dirty Little Secret by C.J. Omololu

The Library Lurker said...

Everyone who's suggesting Megan McCafferty is so right. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot (Starts with Shadowland) is one of my favorite contemp series. I really like Cabot's book All American Girl as well, but if you read it stay far, far away from the sequel Ready or Not.

Lauren said...

I second (third) The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don't Mind. It's beautiful and wonderful and if you haven't read it, you really really should.

What about Empress of the World by Sara Ryan? It's a bit of a coming out story but not totally romancey. It's excellent.

Or for contemporary-with-edginess, you could try When I Was Joe by Keren David. The dash of romance is relatively small, but it's an amazing book.

Abby said...

Have you read LET IT SNOW by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle? I loooove that one (though it's Christmassy... some people don't like to read that sort of stuff unless it's the right season).

Also, CRUEL SUMMER by Alyson Noel. This was a much better book than I thought it was going to be based on the cover/title. It had a lot more heart than I was expecting.

John The Bookworm said...

Some of these will be repeats, so to those that suggested them - Heck to the YES!

After the Moment by Garret Freyman-Weyr (sp?) - A lovely and interesting take on romance that revolves around a girl with an eating disorder. It was a great contemporary that was so different from anything else I've read on the market lately.

ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING BY JACYLYN MORIARTY. Her books are the epitome of contemporary awesome, and if you do not love them, I will eat my face off. Promise.

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. A funny and quick series that will have you peeing your pants due to the insane amount of laughter.

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler - A fun little PoV change romance that made me smile with amusement. Also see their less strong sophomore title Dream Factory, which deals with two teens who work at Disneyland as the FURRIES.

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron - More literary, but still classified as YA. It was thought provoking, about an introvert, may piss you off, and is a solidly unique read. Loved it to bits.

Sell-Out by Ebony Joy Wilkins - LOVED THIS BOOK. Little romance, but not suffocating or stupid. Great message. PoC protagonist. A solid debut that is made of WIN.

Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham - Another new-ish release, this book has some awesome psychology behind it, and the romance was totally believable and very think worthy.

Sing Me To Sleep and Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison - One of my favorite contemporary writers. Angela writes great, deep romance that will have you swoon. And she is great at making religious characters as opposed to religious fiction.

Feel free to email if you need any more recommendations. :) And feel free to spam me with hate mail if one of those books makes you want to puke.

Jade said...

Everyone's already recommended the books I was going to suggest.

Now all I can think of is Pink by Lili Wilkinson. It hasn't been released in the US yet, but in came out here last year. And it rocks. A lot.

Robyn Bavati said...

Just read Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood and I think it's exactly what you're looking for. Really delightful, an adorable protagonist, highly readable and extremely well-written.

Bianca said...


Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.

Alison Can Read said...

Have you read anything by Ellen Emerson White? I love her President's Daughter series.

Chachic said...

I second/third the Jessica Darling recommendation! I'd love to know what you think of the series and its male protagonist - Marcus Flutie.

I wonder if you've read Jaclyn Moriarty's books? I kind of feel that you have because she's an Aussie author but if not, then I recommend her books. They're laugh out loud funny.

Other recommendations are An Abundance of Katherines by John Green and Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. Also, even though I haven't read any of her stuff, Deb Caletti has been recommended several times as a good YA contemporary author.

Anonymous said...

The President's Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White - and especially the last book, Long May She Reign.

The voice - and the writing - and the characterization - and everything - it's unreal. And so, so real at the same time.

Ender's Game is excellent sci-fi.

Angiegirl said...

Speaking of Ellen Emerson White, have you ever heard of LIFE WITHOUT FRIENDS? Quite the title, I know. And it's out of print. But if you could lay hands on a copy, I really think you might fall in love. It's a very old, very strong favorite of mine.

Then MY HEARTBEAT by Garret Freymann-Weyr. In this case, ignore the cover and read it. Short, sweet, gorgeously written.

Lastly, JANE by April Lindner. Contemporary retelling of JANE EYRE and Mr. Rochester's a rock star. Freaking awesome.

Shari Green said...

Here are some of my favourite contemporary YA that are a couple years old:

Sweethearts, by Sara Zarr (excellent! as are her other two novels -- one of my fave authors)

Beauty Shop for Rent, by Laura Bowers (charming & funny & sad)

The Isabel Factor, by Gayle Friesen (friendship, truth, summer camp...)

Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson (terrific voice!)

Saint Iggy, by K.L. Going (tragic & touching)

And one newer one: Flash Burnout, by L.K.Madigan (friendship, love, loyalty...)

Tina said...

Wow so many good suggestions, I'm also writing them down. :D

The only thing I can think of right now is North Of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley. Easily one of my favorite books this year. :)

Robyn Bavati said...

Forgot to add 'Beatle Meets Destiny' by Gabrielle Williams, published by Penguin. Another great read. It's up there with 'Six Impossible Things.'

Kaethe said...

After copying all of the ones I haven't read, I suggest Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn, Marly's Ghost by David Levithan, and Avalon High by Meg Cabot.

Good luck!

Kaethe said...

And all though they are no longer contemporary, check out Mary Stewart's marvelous books such as Madam, Will You Talk?, The Ivy Tree, My Brother Michael, Nine Coaches Waiting, and This Rough Magic. There's a lot for a reader to love in these erudite and romantic stories.

Mollie said...

Ditto Sweethearts by Sara Zarr and the Simone Ekeles books.

I didn't seen anyone mention Elizabeth Scott but it' appears you're already at least somewhat familiar with her.

A couple of debut authors I've read for a challenge that I really enjoyed were:

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that MIght Kill Me by Kristen Chandler. I think the cover and title lead a lot of people to believe it was a paranormal/'s not!

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

and I just finished The DUFF by Kody Keplinger.

Also I LOVED Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist.

Those last two both have quite a bit of language and some more mature sexual encounters (compared to other YA stuff). So if that doesn't bother you def try them out!

Michelle said...

So many great recommendations here (and many I'll be adding to my own TBR) but I have to add my vote to ANYTHING by Jaclyn Moriarty and Ellen Emerson White. Both writers are instant cures for the book blues.

Also, JANE by April Lindner. So. Very. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather not repeat titles that have already been mentioned, but I must second the Broken Soup recommendation.

So, other books...

Undone by Brooke Taylor - not perfect, but I thought Taylor did an outstanding job with the chemistry between Serena and Anthony Beck.

Tips on Having a Gay Ex-Boyfriend by Carrie Jones, also because of the chemistry factor.

And Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti, even though it's not completely HEA-romantic.


Tabs said...

Ok, completely off the wall suggestion:

The "Spiderman Loves Mary Jane" comics/graphic novels by Sean McKeever.

They follow Mary Jane in high school as she navigates normal high school stuff like friends, boys,dating, angst, and a serious crush on masked superhero Spiderman. Spiderman's a side character; the whole thing is really Mary Jane's show.

I'd recommend the The 2-volume Hardcover collections as the easiest way to collect the series.

Oh, and the artwork is seriously gorgeous.

Jordan said...

If you haven't read Laurie Halse Anderson, I definitely suggest her - particularly "Speak" and "Twisted".

Another all time favorite YA books of mine is "Trigger" by Susan Vaught. She has a new one out I haven't read yet but I have high expectations for it.

I know you have mentioned Courtney Sommers, but I preferred her debut book "Cracked Up to Be" over "Some Girls Are", if you haven't read it yet you should pick it up.

Jordan said...

If you haven't read Laurie Halse Anderson, I definitely suggest her - particularly "Speak" and "Twisted".

Another all time favorite YA books of mine is "Trigger" by Susan Vaught. She has a new one out I haven't read yet but I have high expectations for it.

I know you have mentioned Courtney Sommers, but I preferred her debut book "Cracked Up to Be" over "Some Girls Are", if you haven't read it yet you should pick it up.

PeechieKeen said...

Honey Baby Sweetheart by Deb Caletti

So good! And very Dessen-esque!

Unknown said...

I might be adding onto this too late, but the instance I saw the words "awesome" and "contemporary" and that you want recommendations, two words flashed into my mind: JACLYN MORIARTY. Her books are made of absolute win and like John above me said, I too will eat my face off if you dislike her books. Her books Feeling Sorry for Celia, Finding Cassie Crazy, The Betrayal of Bindie MacKenzie, and the recently released Dreaming of Amelia are AMAZING to the nth degree. And she's an Aussie author to boot as well, so maybe you've heard of her? Anyways, I hope you'll give her books a try because I guarantee that they'll lift you out of your YA funk :)