Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top 10: Contemporary YA Novels

In honor of The Contemps, I've seen other bloggers listing their Top 10 Contemporary YA picks. So, since I love top 10 lists and contemporary YA, I figured I'd share my list with you guys. Because I guarantee it has a few books that are completely amazing and on nobody else's lists.
  1. SERAFINA67 *URGENTLY REQUIRES LIFE*, by Susie Day. This is my all-time, absoute, top-of-the-charts, favorite YA book. If I could only read one over and over again this would be it. And you know why? Not just because it's written in blog format and the main characters is so complexly imagined (as John Green would say) and it explores themes of friendship and love and family and weight and being happy. But also because this book? IT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE INSIDE OF MY BRAIN LOOKS LIKE. Seriously. I loaned my ARC to a friend and she sent me a text saying, "omg. i'm cracking up while reading this book. it's exactly like talking to you." Read it.
  2. SWEETHEARTS, by Sara Zarr. This book includes what might quite possibly be my favorite quote from any book ever. It's a novel that portrays the sort of feelings that match up perfectly with the beating of my heart, with how I so often feel about certain people. It says the things I've always felt but never been able to say and it's incredible. I just want this book to be a person so I can hug it.
  3. THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER, by Sarah Dessen. This was the very first YA book I ever read and it pulled me in, wrapping me up in the story, characters, and Dessen's lyrical writing. In my opinion it's the best of her books (and trust me, I adore all of them). To be honest it's probably the book that made me realize I didn't just want to write books, but I wanted to write books for/about teenagers. Books like this.
  4. THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, by E. Lockhart. I had read the first couple of Ruby Oliver books before this one and, of course, loved them. But this novel just kicked everything up a to a whole other level. Secret societies, pranks, spying, made-up words... all things that I love. Frankie is the sort of character who reminded me not of myself, but of the girl I want to be, the girl I wish I was. The writing was perfect and the story was wonderful and every single character was awesome.
  5. SCRAMBLED EGGS AT MIDNIGHT, by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler. I'm not generally a huge fan of books that have a romance as the primary plot, but this one pulled it off. Didn't just pull it off, but in fact made me fall in love. With the atmosphere, the language, the teenage protagonists. Everything. This book is one that I can look at in my bookshelf and just seeing it makes me feel like there's goodness in the world. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I don't care. It's that kind of book.
  6. SUITE SCARLETT, by Maureen Johnson. Out of all of MJ's books, her Scarlett series is most reminiscent of the trademark humor found in her web presence. In other words, it's absolutely off the wall and delightful. I am completely in love with Spencer Martin and I adore the relationship him and Scarlett have. Quite honestly, this is what makes the book what it is: crazy awesome.
  7. PAPER TOWNS, by John Green. It's a tough decision between this and AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by the same author, but there's just something about this book. It explores people and our perceptions of them. It involves a road trip (love!) and quirky things like a collection of black Santas. Plus, there's abandoned buildings and a whole mystery aspect that is done so well it defies the genre.
  8. THE UNWRITTEN RULE, by Elizabeth Scott. When I read this book I was astonished at the complexity of the relationship between Sarah (the main character) and her best friend. Unlike many books, the relationship here was not black and white. Sarah's best friend wasn't the trademark loyal sidekick, but then, neither was Sarah. The relationships in this book -- all of them -- were explored so well that when I finished reading I couldn't help but write a gushy fan letter to the author. For me, in some ways, this book was like looking in a mirror that reflected back past friendships and showed me I wasn't alone. It took on the epic task of showing friendship as it is -- messy and uncertain and never as simple as we like to think.
  9. SEA, by Heidi R. Kling. Like a tidal wave in the ocean, this book pulled me in and refused to let go. The emotional depth here is astounding, the atmosphere of the setting is crafted so perfectly, and I'm still in love with Sienna and Deni's journey long after finishing the book. It's a story that, I already know, is going to stay with me a long, long time. This book deserves all the sea love it's getting and more. Absolutely, 100% amazing.
  10. BREAK, by Hannah Moskowitz. I love stories of family and this book takes on the subject like no other. Jonah is a deeply protective, loving, and confused protagonist that we get to know and understand more as the story goes on. This novel shows family love as it really is -- confusing, aching, difficult, and complicated. No matter what the summary on Goodreads or the back cover says, this is a book about love.
So, what books are on your list? If you have a list or want to make a list, link me to it; I'd love to see what books you love!


  1. Excellent list! I appreciate too since I'm working on buying a few new books!

    I really have enjoyed Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, Firelight by Sophie Jordan and so many more!

  2. Obviously I need to read Serafina67. And the other two books on your list that I haven't read (Sweethearts and Scrambled Eggs at Midnight.) YAYS TO THE OTHERS, I LOVE THEM ALL! Spencer is mine though. I love him more.

    I may steal this list IDEA. =0

  3. Wonderful list. You've added a few to my to be bought list!

  4. I only just stumbled across your blog, so I'm sorry if this is considered lurking, haha :) But I agree with almost all of these books (I really should check out Sea, and for real I had no idea anyone else in the world liked Scrambled Eggs at Midnight as much as I do).

    Since Sweethearts is one of my all-time FAVORITE novels, I'm just wondering -- what's that favorite favorite quote you referenced?

  5. seizinghearts - You obviously have EXCELLENT taste in books. Seriously. And the quote from Sweethearts is this one, from page 215-216...

    "I'm talking about the ones who, for whatever reason, are as much a part of you as your own soul. Their place in your heart is tender; a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business. Just hearing their names pushes and pulls at you in a hundred ways, and when you try to describe them even to yourself, words are useless. If you had a lifetime to talk, there would still be things left unsaid."

    (also, whether you comment or not, I hope you keep reading my blog!)