Favorite Books in Contemporary YA

Contemporary YA is my jam.  Here are my favorites.

Top ten contemporary contemporaries:


Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Territory wars, the most perfectly flawed main character, a hot cadet, gorgeous writing, mystery: this book has everything you could ever want.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta | Friendship, romance, and depression in a perfect stew of awesomeness.

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta | Catching up with the Saving Francesca crew five years down the road is like Christmas, your birthday, and free concert tickets all at once.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson | Grief, sisterhood, a boy whose smiles will change your life, writing that’s both funny and poetic.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green | There’s a reason everyone loves this book.  Now it’s your turn.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | If you’re a writer, watch out: you will be envious of this book. (Also, it still counts as contemporary even though it’s set in the 80s, right?)

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli | There’s really no book quite like it out there.

Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay | One of my favorite debuts of last year!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan | The characters will suck you in!

Everyday by David Levithan | I’m counting this as a contemp with a little realistic magic twist. This one will make you think and love.

Bonus oldies-but-goodies:


Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson | I’m not sure if it’s fair to call this YA– might lean toward MG– but it’s essentially perfect.

Ordinary People by Judith Guest | A book that has stuck with me since high school!

The Pigman by Paul Zindel | Another must-read from my childhood.

Do you like contemporary YA? Which of these have you read?  Which ones do you want to read? (Correct answer is ALL.)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme at The Broke & the Bookish.

10 thoughts on “Favorite Books in Contemporary YA

  1. You’ve got some great choices on this list 🙂 I definitely need to read Jellicoe Road. It’s been on my radar for a while now.

  2. Oooh, TFIOS, E&P and Everyday – definitely agree with those! And Bridge to Terabithia! Those are all perfect. I’ve never heard of Stargirl, but from what I’m seeing on GoodReads, I’ll be reading it soon.

  3. Great list! The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park and The Sea of Tranquility are some of my all-time favorite books regardless of the genre. I also really enjoyed The Sky is Everywhere and Everyday. Most of the others on your list are on my TBR, but I just haven’t had time to get to them. 🙂

    My TTT.

  4. I tend to shy away from Contemporary but if I did read it, I’d want to start with Melina Marchetta! I love love love her High Fantasy series, The Lumatere Chronicles! I mean, AMAZING! It kind of reads like a historical fiction/ realism fiction though. That’s how genius Marchetta’s writing is! Thanks for sharing her books. They are all added to my TBR list 🙂 John Green and Rainbow Rowell are also author’s I’d like to get to know.
    Check out my TT list @ Book Hangovers Blabs Books xoxo ♥

  5. Such I great list. I love so many of the authors you picked: John Green, David Levithan, Rainbow Rowell and now … I can finally say Melina Marchetta. I finished Jellicoe Road over the weekend, and it was every bit as fantastic as you’ve been saying.

  6. Eleanor and Park did it for me for Contemporary YA. When you feel you’ve read too much hot stuff (where people can’t wait to tear each other’s clothes off) because you think it’s a rite of passage AND foregoing this tacitly prescribed activity might mean there’s something wrong with you (must be the latent ocd tendencies, HA) Eleanor and Park is like a breath of fresh air. -Even- if there’s a smattering of extremely tame s*x.
    In fact, I wouldn’t even call it s*x. Like the word ‘sex’ is too crude a word, esp for Eleanor and Park.
    Rainbow Rowell managed to write about desire yet it came off pure and earnest. I think the right way to describe what they had was— Adoring, uncontaminated love.

    “Nothing was dirty. With Park.
    Nothing could be shameful.”

    Needless to say this was an Eleanor and Park rave post HAHA

    Jackie, have you tried listening to their playlist? Rainbow Rowell has four of them. http://rainbowrowell.com/blog/?s=eleanor+%26+park+playlist

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