I have to admit I’m not sure which side of the fence I sit on with this genre. I tend to lean where the wind blows depending much upon my mood on the day. The truth is that at heart I’m a thriller, horror, and fantasy novel kinda gal, so a contemporary has to be really good to seduce me.
However, I am an absolute sucker for the cover designs on contemporaries, and I’m ashamed to admit that often the pretty cover is the only reason I’ll one up. #sosuperficial All the gorgeous pastel colors, the pretty fonts, the beautiful bare book itself, all are so delicious to a book lover.
The first young adult contemporary that I read was ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell. I really enjoyed it. Set back in the style-absent eighties, two very different and awkward teens share the same school bus each day. The thing that they both have in common is that neither feel that they ‘fit in’ with their peers. Yet both Eleanor and Park deal with their exclusion from the popular groups, with a quiet dignity and grace, choosing to embrace their differences (and in Eleanor’s case, exaggerate them). An unlikely friendship begins, and we follow it to wherever it may lead, observing how their contrasting home lives have affected and molded their characters. We watch with baited breath as they move through some truly difficult times and deal with them with such maturity, despite the heartbreak and daily pressure of school.
I was seriously impressed with this book, and so, my interest in contemporaries grew and I began to buy more.
I also love a good series and after hearing so much about the novels in the ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ companion set, I decided that I had to read them. Goodness I was not disappointed. I mean for a start a private school in Paris was the setting for the first book. What’s not to like? Stephanie Perkins authors these three books. After ‘Anna’, we have “Lola and the boy Next Door’ which is set in San Francisco, but hey that’s a pretty cool setting too. And finally ‘Lola and the Happy Ever After’ which is my personal favorite (and moves back in Paris). Again I felt that there was some superb character development by Perkins, and lots of angst too. I almost started biting my nails.
I have read many young adult contemporaries in between and I’m sure you may find one of your own favorites in the picture below. Some focus on life altering events such as terminal illnesses, divorce and moving house; others follow the milestones of people we can all relate to in some way or another.
Last week I read ‘Fangirl’ which is another Rainbow Rowell favorite. I’d initially tried reading it directly after ‘Eleanor & Park’ but found I couldn’t concentrate so I put decided to put it down for a time. Picking it back up almost a year later, I dived right into it and thoroughly enjoyed the read, and when finished, I immediately ordered ‘Carry On’! So sometimes it is worth waiting a while if a particular book doesn’t grab you first time around.
I’m always going to be that horror, thriller, fantasy book lover, but after absorbing some of the more heavy scary/crime/ world building details in these (often epic) reads, I now like to treat the book hangover with something lighter and contemporaries seem to be the perfect antidote.
How do you feel about contemporary novels? Which is your favorite? Which would you recommend?
Have a super Saturday. I’ll be back tomorrow with my third #soaksunday
Love Sally xx