Contemporary books used to be a bridge for me: they were the books I picked up when I was to hung up on another book world. For when I was too deep in mourning a fictional character. Contemporary was what I grabbed when I hadn’t felt like reading in months. They’re fiction that is set in the real world and deal with situations that many of us may have experienced in our own lives. There’s something special about these books because they leave you feeling all warm on the inside.
Contemporary is what you pick up on a cold winter day, wrapped up in a blanket drinking hot chocolate. They’ll make you laugh, they will most certainly make you cry. You’ll see yourself in these characters. It can be weird and redundant to pick up a book from this genre at the bookstore because sometimes, they all tend to seem the same. But fear not, here are some contemporary novels that will leave you feeling giddy for sure:
1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Lara Jean has never admitted her feelings to any of her crushes. Instead, she writes her feelings in letters she never sends out, its her way of closure. Until one day, her letters get accidentally sent out, and these old people and feelings from her past return. Lara Jean is hands down one of the most relatable characters I have read. She half falls in love with every person she meets, she’s in love with the idea of love. Jenny Han will take you back to high school, to so many firsts. It’s about people from your past still holding a piece of you. It’s real, it’s innocent and utterly charming. If you read one contemporary this year, make it this one.
2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
If you grew up loving Harry Potter, this book is for you. If you’re in college, you’ll relate to this even more. This book had me laughing to the point of tears. Cath is an introvert in college, she sits in her room writing fan-fiction and dressing up as fictional characters. It’s beyond relatable trying to watch Cath leave the comfort of the world she has built. Fangirl is about being on the edge of adulthood and not knowing how to leave your teen years behind.
3. Paper Towns by John Green
Did you read, or see, The Fault in Our Stars and love it? Do you want, no, need more John Green? Look no further because Paper Towns is coming to the rescue. I may even prefer this to The Fault in Our Stars. Paper Towns is hilarious and is about realizing that the people you idolize are not who you have made them out to be. Everything is different up close. It’s got mystery, adventure, romance, and a road trip. After you’re done reading, watch the movie on Netflix.
4. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is arguably the reigning Queen of YA contemporary. If you haven’t read a book by her, you need to do so ASAP. The romance in this book will leave you feeling light and fluffy. This is a story of coming to terms with imperfection, dealing with grief and finding the meaning behind your story. It’s a story about the ongoing changes in the meaning behind a person’s forever. It’s about the truth behind it.
5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Get ready to travel to France! Anna is not thrilled about being sent to boarding school in Paris, that is until she meets Etienne, the dreamy Frenchman who Anna immediately likes. But like any contemporary novel, there’s a catch: he has a girlfriend. Get ready to fall in love in the city of love, and laugh along to Anna’s sense of humor. These characters are complex and incredibly well written. Romance, drama, humor, France… Anna has got it all.
As much as I love fantasy and other fiction, contemporary novels are those best friends you can always rely on when you’re feeling down. You don’t have to spend an insane amount of time getting to know the characters, it’s the shortcut to the giddy feeling. Pick one up next time you’re at the bookstore, and I promise you won’t be disappointed!
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