Top Ten Contemporary Books On My TBR

Contemporary isn’t always my favorite genre to read from. It usually consists of a lot of cliches, shallow messages, and just all around unoriginal content.

However, these are some that I’ve come across that include diverse topics such as mental illness, body image, sexuality, social status, and physical disabilities. Plus a few cheesy ones that sounds too cute to pass up…

Without further ado, here are the contemporaries that stand out to me!

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A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

So, let’s just start this off by admitting that I am a pretty big fan of Pitch Perfect.

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I may or may not already be associating this book with those hilarious set of movies. But this book opens up the dialogue of sexuality and gender identity and what it means to identify as non-hetero at this prestigious school and I am just all for it.

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Seventeen-year-old Cath knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disease, has almost triumphed once, propelling Catherine to her first suicide attempt. With Zero only temporarily restrained by the latest med du jour, time is running out. In an old ballet shoebox, Catherine stockpiles meds, preparing to take her own life when Zero next arrives.

But Zero’s return is delayed. Unexpected relationships along with the care of a new psychiatrist start to alter Catherine’s perception of her diagnosis. But will this be enough? This is a story of loss and grief and hope and how the many shapes of love – maternal, romantic and platonic – impact a young woman’s struggle with mental illness.

I have deep, deep personal experiences with both depression and bipolar disorder. I am very intrigued to see how this author portrays a teenager going through this and I really like how the synopsis includes a psychiatrist. So many of these books that explore depression and suicidal thoughts don’t mention that help from professionals exist, but rather focus on the intense despair that these mental illnesses can bring. Instead, I’m hoping that this book emphasizes more on seeking help and managing their disorders.

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Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.

Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…

Books that include sister relationships have got me right from the start. I have a very close bond with my older sister so I am interested in reading about the strength of the bonds sister’s can have while dealing with a dying parent.

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What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

I had never heard anything about this book until I read a really great review here on WordPress (I can’t remember who wrote it!). From the synopsis alone, it sounds a bit unrealistic. How could the character have known that his friend was driving at the time he sent his text? How can he be responsible for his friend’s actions by making the decision to read that text while behind the wheel? When a synopsis isn’t able to grab me like this one, I usually wouldn’t bother. But the review I read explained that this book focuses on grief and loss and betrayal and panic attacks and from that, it sounds quite good so I’m going to give it a chance.

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What sixteen-year-old Elizabeth has lost so far: forty pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her—girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again.She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick?

I have always struggled with my weight practically my whole life. There was a brief period of time where I even “experimented” (more like I was in a bad mental state) in extreme dieting and exercise. It didn’t last long, but I can only imagine what that can do on not only someone’s body, but their mental health as well when having that type of lifestyle for a long period of time. I am eager to see how the author explores this topic and hoping it sends a positive message to other girls like Elizabeth who are in the depths of an eating disorder.

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“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you…”

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

This sounds so quirky. I love the idea of someone reading your words – from your most banal thoughts to your most private jokes – but never actually knowing you, and, from that, end up developing a crush on the idea of you. I really want to know how Lincoln ends up confessing this information to Beth and if it comes across as awkward and creepy or endearing and charming…

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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Oh my lord. I am literally Reid, but without a penis. I am a Tolkien fan and while I don’t have a season pass to TRF, I do have an email subscription and know when the big sale is and am able to get extremely discounted ticket prices and go camping with my girlfriends every year! I’m already biased and hope Reid gets the girl! I guess I’ll just have to read the book to find out.

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Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love…

This sounds a little bit cheesy, but sometimes you just need some cheese to sprinkle into your life. I do like the idea of a romance with some big shot author. Could be a lot of fun!

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Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Hannah Montana, but in a more “nerdy” form! Sounds tempting. Plus I’ve heard such great things!

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I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Back when I used to work at the library, I kept seeing this book being checked out and in again and so I figured I’d check it out myself. Only, I never got around to reading it. It discusses trying to fit in at new school as a kid who also has a facial deformity – sounds like August could be potentially in for a rough ride as kids can be very cruel. I need to read this before the movie comes out so as not to have anything spoiled for me. (I am in constant fear of being spoiled.)

Have you read any of these? Thoughts?

Are you a fan of the contemporary genre? If not, how come?

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Until next time!

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10 thoughts on “Top Ten Contemporary Books On My TBR

  1. I happen to *love* contemporary books but interestingly enough, I haven’t encountered all of the books in your post before haha. I’m reading Eliza and Her Monsters right now though and it is truly amazing. It’s really relatable for teens my age who grew up spending half their life on the internet. The Upside of Unrequited is also pretty awesome. Goodbye Days is also on my tbr.

    ~ Rachana @ Spun

    Liked by 1 person

    • Contemporary has ended up being really hit or miss for me. I loved List of Cages, but not so much with Everything, Everything. Though I haven’t lost up in the genre altogether – I’m really looking forward to reading Weight of Zero!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so disappointed I never got around to reading it when I got it from the library years ago. Then again I was in college at the time and recreational reading took a back burner 😔

      Liked by 1 person

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