January 27, 2012

Friday Fives: Contemporary YA

This week's Friday Fives topic over at Paper Hangover is:

What are your FIVE favourite contemporary YA novels?

If you had asked me this question a few months ago I wouldn't have been able to answer it because up until then I really hadn't read much YA contemporary. Not sure why that is, but now that I have read some, I'm kind of hooked.


Here are my FIVE favourite YA contemporary novels with FIVE things I about each:

1)  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • The setting - Is there anywhere more romantic than Paris?
  • The sweet relationship between Anna and √Čtienne
  • √Čtienne St. Clair - "French name, English accent..."
  • Anna's voice - Stephanie Perkins is a voice genius
  • The writing was fantastic. I could not put this book down.

2)  Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • Cricket Bell, the boy next door (for real) - tall, sweet, and a hint nerdy
  • Lola's unique sense of style, or as she put's it, her 'belief in costume'
  • Lola's voice - again, Stephanie Perkins is nothing short of a voice genius
  • The sweet relationship between Lola and Cricket, years in the making
  • The family dynamic in the Nolan household - unique and really great
  • I'm cheating and adding a 6th reason: Completely unputdownable

  • Nothing fancy, just a cute, sweet romance between two likable people
  • That both Hadley and Oliver were working through personal difficulties
  • That it doesn't shy away from the possibility of love at first sight
  • The dual settings of an airplane over the ocean and London, England
  • Oliver's sense of humour - he was funny and completely charming

4)  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  • The road trip was great, with little tidbits about locations visited as well as road trip playlists for the journey - I found new music that I like on them!
  • The road trip was like a journey in that both Amy and Roger were sorting through their own personal struggles all along the way - very interesting
  • No insta-love here, it takes a while to develop from amicable to 'in love'
  • I genuinely liked both Amy's and Roger's personalities and interests
  • Overall, the story was just well-written, engaging, and entertaining

5)  Jane by April Lindner
  • I love modern day retellings of classic novels when they're done right, and since I have been in love with Jane Eyre for years, this thrilled me to bits. And as far as I know, this particular story has never been tackled before.
  • Updating a story about a governess to suit a 21st century audience is no mean feat. We as Western females have so many more options open to us nowadays. I think April Lindner handled this challenge spectacularly.
  • Even though I could anticipate what was going to happen next (knowing the story it was based on really well), I didn't find this to be a problem at all.
  • If you don't go into it with super high expectations and just enjoy it for what it is, it's a fun read. Like I said, kudos to Lindner for even attempting a retelling of this classic.
  • I'm a sucker for a good romance fraught with challenges, but with a happy resolution.

So most all of these are primarily Romance, and I haven't branched out much from there. I do plan on reading many more YA contemporary novels from here on in. I've really been missing out!

This is one of the songs I got from a road trip playlist in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour:

World Spins Madly On by The Weepies (click the ♫ symbol to open player)

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Totally unrelated, but really cool: Just visited Laini Taylor's blog and found out the title for the upcoming (Fall 2012) sequel to the completely amazing Daughter of Smoke and Bone:


So, so excited for this book! There's also a little snippet/teaser on her blog for Book 2 HERE.

29 comments:

  1. I am a biiig Jane Eyre fan :D so Jane is going on my TBR list.
    I am also adding Amy & Roger's Epic Detour :-) You know how much I loved the first 3 you mentioned and like you I would not have been able to put a lot of books in that category before but I´m growing to like it :-)

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    1. Some people weren't crazy about Jane, but like I said, if you don't go in with crazy high expectations it's an enjoyable read :-)

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    2. I hadn't read the original Jane Eyre (I know, I know!) so the story was new, but it did feel at times like a modern story trying to fit the conventions of an older work. But that is a very minor nitpick. Jane was believable as a character, and strangely enough, even Mr. Rochester worked pretty well. I really liked this book, it INTRIGUED me.

      Also loved the film version of Jane Eyre that came out last year (one word: FASSBENDER.) It's worth seeing.

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    3. I wasn't crazy about the latest film version. I felt like it was lacking a lot of what makes JANE EYRE so great. I had high hopes, and I really like Fassbender, but it was missing some pretty big things I felt.

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    4. I like the film version with Charlotte Gainsbourg & William Hurt :-D

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  2. Stephanie Perkins, right? How does she contain all of that romantical genius in one brain? I love her.

    I am deeply ashamed to admit this, but I haven't even read the original Jane Eyre. I'm a failure of an English major. I spent my time reading all of Austen's stuff. Maybe reading Jane Eyre should be on my NY resolutions list this year, lol.

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    1. Stephanie Perkins rocks! You should definitely read JANE EYRE - it's got to be one of my favourite books ever :-)

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  3. If I could have picked six, Lola would have been on my list for sure. It was really hard for me to post the five that I did knowing Lola wasn't among them.

    Oh, and I like the rest of your picks too.

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    1. LOLA was really great. I wasn't sure I'd like it as much as ANNA because I loved the Paris setting so much, but I wasn't disappointed :-)

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  4. I really enjoyed the original JANE EYRE, so JANE intrigues me. Thanks for the tip, Jaime!

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    1. Like I said to Elodie, just don't go into reading it with high expectations. Trying to modernize JANE EYRE is not a simple task (many things don't translate well), but I think the author did a pretty decent job of it.

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  5. JANE sounds good!
    And I love the idea of an airplane as a setting. Going to have to check out STATISTICAL PROBABILITY. . . .

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    1. I think what's so great about an airplane as a setting is that on a trans-Atlantic flight you can't really go anywhere. What a great opportunity to spend the time getting to know somebody. It was a fun and sweet little read :-)

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  6. I loved Anna & the French Kiss, but wasn't in love with Lola as much. Also, I just put Statistical Probability on my wishlist.

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    1. Like I said to Kate above, I didn't think I was going to like LOLA as much as ANNA because of the setting (don't love San Fran as much as Paris), but I really enjoyed it for other reasons. STATISTICAL PROBABILITY was really cute and a quick read :-)

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  7. Another great contemporary I always plug is Moonglass by Jessi Kirby. It had just the right amount of reflection, romance and the setting of having her dad run a lifeguard district and living on the beach was so cool. It was obvious the writer knew about living near a beach.

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    1. I still have yet to read MOONGLASS (on the TBR list) :-)

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  8. I am a huge YA contemporary fan and other than Anna and the French Kiss I haven't read any, some I haven't even heard of. Yay new books to add to my TBR list.

    I just finished reading Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler and loved it. I also recently read Sean Griswald's Head and loved that as well.

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    1. I saw SEAN GRISWALD'S HEAD on your blog one day and ordered right away from The Book Depository. Looking forward to it :-)

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  9. I absolutely adore Anna and the French Kiss. And my copy of The Statistical Probability finally came in at the library--can't wait to read it! Also, World Spins Madly On was a song I discovered in college, and I still use it in all of my WiP playlists. Basically, I love everything about this post. :)

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  10. I think you could have added to each of those "Fabulous Covers!" Because oh my goodness.

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    1. I know, aren't they great? I especially love JANE's cover and THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT's cover :-)

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  11. Lovely choices! I haven't read you're last two picks, but clearly I need to! I'd definitely add STOLEN and JELLICOE ROAD to my fave contemporary list... they are both AMAZING!

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    1. It's funny, lately when I'm reading other types of books - sci fi, paranormal, etc. - all I can think about is the next Contemporary I'm going to read :-)

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  12. LOVED Anna and the French Kiss, I'm reading Lola right now. Don't love it quite as much, but it's still fun. And also LOVED Statistical Probability! I'd say another fave contemporary of mine is Perfect Chemistry. Sooo good.

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  13. I've read all of these (and really enjoyed them) except for Statistical Probability which a friend just recommended. I love reading all of people's choices bc they are SO different than mine, but it just proves how many great books are out there.

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  14. Gaaaah... I don't read YA contemporary... I do adult, but not YA yet. <---yet! I've got a few on my list :D

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  15. There are a few contemporary that I have and haven't started yet (I guess the one I'm reading now is contemporary). Then again, I don't read much contemporary. Mostly the sci-fi and fantasy guy, here. They say to read your genre, but it's nice to step out of the norm every now and then. :)

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