Wednesday, April 8, 2015

a week of recommendations: day three

And here we have come to day three of five of A Week of Recommendations. Today's theme is Contemporaries, yay! Throughout my reading life, I have always been drawn to contemporaries. Some of my favorite stories and worlds may be fantasy, but there is never a time where I fall into a slump in the middle of a contemporary. I just love them, especially when they're sweet and fun, but with some emotional depth. 

Ever since I was in middle school, I've been reading lighthearted contemporary novels. I remember falling in love with Jen Calonita's Secrets of my Hollywood Life, Liz Tigelaar's Playing With the Boys, anything by Meg Cabot, etc. etc. They're really what got me into reading religiously, and I've carried that love of contemporaries with me into this portion of my life. I had to really pare down the choices I had for this list, so the ones that made it on here are the best of the best. (I also went over the five book standard, but that's ok because I seriously couldn't decide.

Of course, the number one spot has to be one of my all time favorite books and the best book of 2014, I'll Give You The Sun. This is the most beautiful story about twins, Noah and Jude, and the ups and downs of their relationship with each other and with life in general. It is told from two points of view, and two points in time, and there is mystery and romance and heartbreak throughout. This is the first book I recommend to anyone who wants to read anything at all. It is lyrical, magical, truly. Something happens when you read this book, and you'll want it to happen to you. 

This is another book that, after I read it, I felt truly changed. For the first fifty or so pages, you're so confused and have no idea what's going on, but then you get into the groove of the story and I, quite literally, could not put the book down for the rest of the story. It is amazing, the way that Marchetta weaves the past in with the present and the connections that are made. The characters are another triumph of this one, they're raw and imperfect and that is why you love them. If you've already read this one, another great contemporary by Marchetta is Saving Francesca, which I also highly recommend.

If you know me at all, you will probably have heard/read me rave on and on over how much I love this book and also Stephanie Perkins in general. The things I love so much about this book are as follows. 1) the setting. As Anna explores the city, we get to do so also, which is amazing. 2) the romance. This novel has one of those romances where the two people literally cannot stay away from each other, as if there is a magnetic pull between them, and I love that. 3) It's funny and it's fun, and the quirks in it make you feel like it is real, like it is happening to you. It also deals with family problems and sickness and what to do when you fall out of love but are too scared to be alone. I could go on and on about how much I love this one, but it would be much easier if you just read it. 

I am a huge fan of roadtrips and roadtrip stories, and this is one of the best ones that I've ever read. Actually, everything by Morgan Matson is amazing and totally worth a read, but Amy and Roger happen to be my personal favorites. I love how they both went through so much character development, with the whole of America as the backdrop for their relationship and the way they grew from strangers to something more. This one deals with some hard subjects, and shows how, when bad things happen to you, after grieving, it's ok to move on. I think that's important, and I love the way this book doesn't undermine the grieving process.

This is one of the most adorable books that I've ever read. I love the protag, Lara Jean, because she isn't jaded or cynical, she's open and innocent and, really, a breath of fresh air when you're reading from her POV. I really enjoyed seeing her story unfold, from the embarrassment she feels in the beginning, to her becoming stronger and being able to stand on her own in the end. I love the detail that Jenny Han put into characterizing Lara Jean, her sisters, and everyone else in the novel. This is a great spring/summer read.

A different sort of contemporary than the other ones on this list, this is more about friendship than romance, except at the very end. It is about how one person can change the way you look at everything, can make you come out of your shell and just be more you. And those are the friends that you should hold onto. Aristotle and Dante broke my heart and then put it back together again, for this book is bittersweet and melancholy, told in a subdued tone that brings the emotions into sharper focus. It made me think, and I adored every second of it. 

This book isn't just about tragedy, it hinges on it. Nothing in this book would've happened without one single, tragic moment, when a beloved sister dies. Who she leaves behind is her younger sister Laurel, who is starting high school without her sister, falling in love without her sister, and sharply feeling everything that's left over without her sister. It's only when Laurel starts writing letters to dead people that she can puzzle out her own feelings and perspectives, both on her sister and herself. Love Letters to the Dead is sad and poignant, but it also emphasizes the importance of newness, all the while underlining the fact that, to move on, we must forgive.

What are some of your favorite contemporaries? 



  1. You always give the best contemporary recommendations! I love To All the Boys I've Loved Before- I think that's the book I reread the most last year because I just loved the characters and the story and the writing. Jellicoe Road was incredible, I definitely need to reread that one soon. Great list!

    1. thank you omg that's so sweet of you to say!! I do rather love the contemporary genre :) I need to reread jellicoe road soon too its been almost 2 years since I last read it!


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