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Monday, August 18, 2014

Top Ten Contemporary Books That Sara Tells Me I MUST Read


For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, I'm teaming up with one of my blog besties, Sara of Just Another Story, whom I have known since almost the beginning of my blog. She's one of my faves even though we very rarely read the same kinds of books. She's more of a realistic contemporary girl, whereas I'm more of a speculative fiction girl. But because we're both into challenging ourselves to go outside our comfort zones - and because I trust Sara's recommendations completely as she is basically my Contemporary Guru - she is here to tell me what contemporary books I MUST read, while I will be telling Sara what fantasy books she needs to read over on her blog. The plan is that this challenge of ours will hopefully play out over the coming months while participating in Epic Reads.

So without further ado, here are the Top Ten Contemporary Books That Sara Tells Me I MUST Read! Take it away, Sara!



1. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry - It was either this one or Pushing the Limits. I am trying to get Aylee to read both. However, Crash Into You is my favourite of the bunch and it is a little bit lighter than its predecessor. Pushing the Limits deals with heavier themes.

2. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick - This will come as no surprise because this is one of my top five contemporaries. It is just SO good. The characters are brilliant, the banter is fantastic, and it has some really great family dynamics.

3. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales - This is a really great story about a girl who really discovers herself. It's completely unique (I think). And I think Aylee will appreciate this one.

4. Just One Day by Gayle Forman - Seeing as Aylee has recently finished If I Stay and seemed to enjoy it (Aylee's note: It's true! My review will go up soon), I was eager to add this one to the list. This one is also a story of self discovery, but in a good way. It's not an easy journey for readers, but Forman is an incredible story teller. And come on... Paris.

5. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp - This is an interesting story. The characters aren't very likeable. I am not sure I liked them at all. But, there is something about this one. This one has been compared to The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I sort of see it, but not really.

6. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han - I love this book. It's special to me. Another one that is easily in my top five contemporaries. It's not a complicated story, and maybe a little immature. But it's pleasant all the same. A super quick summer read.

7. My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi - This is a heavy one. But it's well worth the read. I was completely moved by this one. And I think it's WAY underrated.

8. Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar - Another one that is a bit on the heavy side. Not too bad though. It's one of the better contemporaries out there.

9) Dreamland by Sarah Dessen - This one is heavy. But it's SO good. It's so unlike anything by Sarah Dessen and it touches on some very sensitive topics. But I love how it was done, and how realistic it was. So worth the read. (Aylee's note: This will be my FIRST Sarah Dessen read!!).

10. Jelllicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I have been TRYING to get Aylee to read this book for YEARS!! Haha. This is one of my most favourite novels, and I want her to read this one SO badly. I think it's the book I have been urging her to read the most. Someday. (Aylee's note: Eep! I know, I've been a bit nervous about reading this one because of all the hype and because I know it will be a challenging read. But I think my body is finally ready!!).


Honourable mention: The Silver Lining's Playbook by Matthew Quick - This book is brilliant! So much better than the movie (and I loved the movie).



36 comments :

  1. Dreamland was my first Sarah Dessen too ! It's one of her darker reads, I was a little naive when I first read it, but I recently did a re-read and I was completely moved by it. It's amazing what she does in so few pages.

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  2. Without realising it, we did the same things with our lists for one another- putting the more challenging reads towards the end. This was SO much fun to do Aylee! and I am super excited to dig into the lists. I have already requested A Monster Calls from the Library.

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    1. Heh, baby steps!! Take it one book at a time. But you already have me reading the most challenging book on you list, haha!

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  3. YES YES YES to This Song Will Save Your Life, Aylee. It's such a beautiful book! And, while you're at it, add On the Fence by Kasie West to your list because it's amazing! :)

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    1. Ah yes, I've been hearing a lot about Kasie West, so I'll have to get to her books sometime, as well!

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  4. I read the whole Summer I Turned Pretty Series in three days recently. I really enjoyed it, and thought it was a great summer read and really addicting. My Life Next Door is high on my TBR list too.

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  5. I've heard nothing but good things about This Song Will Save Your Life. It's on my list to read, but it's one of those that simply floats along. Great list, and some of these I'm going to look into.

    My TTT

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  6. I've read quite a few of these books and completely agree that you should read them! :-) I really like Katie McGarry and Jenny Han's writing!

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  7. I agree about This song will save your life! Such an impressive story and it made an impact on me. It's the only book I've read from your list, haha, so I don't have more to say :p

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    1. haha, that's okay :) I appreciate your input!

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  8. Oooo yes to Crash Into You (or Pushing the Limits. Or any of Katie's books really.) and My Life Next Door. I absolutely LOVED both of those. I've heard amazing things about This Song Will Save Your Life but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. Fantastic list Sara, can't wait to see which Aylee chooses to read first!

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    1. Yayy SUPER exciting knowing how much you loved those books, Jenny!

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  9. I highly recommend 4, 6, 8, 9 (your first Dessen novel?!) and 10! 1, 2 and 3 are good as well. And now I'm adding the rest to my TBR...

    Sara's recommendations are fabulous! Great top ten :)

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    1. Yup, can you believe I have never read any Sarah Dessen?! So glad you approve of Sara's recs :D

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  10. Aylee, read JELLICOE!!! You won't regret it!! It starts slow but you'll get lots of feels!!

    Out of the list I've read 5 and I would rank them
    Jellicoe Road
    My Life Next Door
    Dreamland
    Crash into You (also my favorite of the bunch, Sarah!)
    The Summer I Turned Pretty (by far my least favorite, though I did read the whole series, so there is that)

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    1. I know! Sara is making me read Jellicoe first even though it's at the bottom of the list, and thus considered the most challenging read :P

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    2. But it has Jonah Griggs!!! He's awesome. Granted, might be biased because I love him :D

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    3. Heh, seems like everyone who has read this book has loved him!

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  11. Some great picks on here I've heard loads about, but I haven't read them yet!

    My TTT: http://confessionsofabookgeek.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/top-ten-tuesday-books-people-tell-me-i-have-to-read/

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  12. Oh yes! I love contemporary, it's my go-to genre.

    Sara has mentioned my favorite Just One Day! Yay, I love that book so much because it has Paris, personal growth, and it's just so beautiful!

    I didn't like My Life Next Door as much as other people do because I wasn't a fan of the drama but the family dynamics is great in it.

    I love Pushing the Limits despite the heavy themes since I love them. I've yet to read Crash into You, though.

    I think you'll love This Song Will Save Your Life. It's a great story!

    The rest I've yet to read myself and I think I'll be Something Like Normal pretty soon.

    Yay, welcome to the contemporary club, Aylee. =D

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    1. Yay I think I'll really like Just One Day too! I can never resist Paris.

      Yeah, I think I'm definitely most excited about the family dynamics part of My Life Next Door everyone seems to be talking about.

      I'm crossing my fingers that the heavy themes won't bother me in the Pushing the Limits series!

      And I have a really good feeling that This Song Will Save Your Life will really move me!! Can't wait to read it.

      Thanks, Sana!!

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  13. I loved My Life Next Door - George is adorable! - and My Life After Now too, but wasn't too crazy about Just One Day even though I loved Forman's If I Stay.

    This Song Will Save Your Life, Something Like Normal and Jellicoe Road are books I've got in my TBR pile that I know most people have loved. Hopefully, I can get around to reading them over the next few months.

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    1. Looking forward to meeting the family in My Life Next Door solo much!! A lot of these books have been on my tbr for seemingly a really long time, so I think this challenge will be good for me and enable me to cross these off my list sooner rather than much later!

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  14. This was a great idea, and I should try to read more contemporary books too! Like you, Aylee, I'm more into speculative fiction, but I try to fit in a contemporary read every so often. I loved Jellicoe Road, and Something Like Normal was also a good read. I'm hoping to read some of the others sometime soon. Great post! And I look forward to reading your thoughts on all of these! :D

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    1. Thanks, I really feel like this will be a great way to get me to go outside my comfort zone and have fun doing it! I don't think I've ever been so excited to read contemporaries before, haha.

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  15. Crash Into You is the last book in Pushing the Limits series I need to read, so I hope you enjoy it if you try, although I do love the whole series. Likewise to you, Aylee I do not read that much contemporary fiction, so beyond that I have not read any of these books on this list. Although Gayle Forman is an author I want to try. Best of luck with these books and I look forward to your thoughts. I did love the switching of blog posts, so I will be going over to check your fantasy recommendations!

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    1. Myesh, contemporary has never been my go-to genre so I'm glad that I'm taking part in this challenge which will encourage me to read more and have fun while I'm at it! I'm excited! And I hope you can get to some of these soon too.

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  16. This is a wonderful contemporary romance list! I've only read Pushing the Limits - and yeah, it was REALLY intense but also REALLY goood - and Jellicoe Road, which was nowhere near what I expected but so addicting and much, much better. This Song Will Save Your Life has always looked interesting, so I'm going to have to try that one out soon :) I hope you enjoy these books!

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    1. Sara gets all the credit! And I'm soo excited to hear you say that about Jellicoe Road! I should hopefully be getting to that one really soon.

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  17. I haven't read any of those yet, but I have The Spectacular Now and My Life Next Door on my shelves. I hope they are as good as people say they are.

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  18. Oooh well isn't this interesting! Most of the titles here are ones that I've heard quite a lot of positive things about, so of course I'll be looking out to see how you make out with them. There are some new ones for me in here too so I predict that you'll likely lure me to adding them to my tbr shelf - if you enjoy them that is ;-) It probably goes without saying that I haven't read any of these but I'm still excited to see how you make out :D

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    1. Heehee, I'd be interested in hearing what you think of these books too. And maybe I can convince you to read some of them ^^

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  19. So many of these books are on my tbr list. I have been wanting to read Dreamland and hopefully I can get to it soon.

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  20. Have actually been avoiding reading 'The Summer I turned pretty' because of its title, it just sounds so irritatingly clichéd. I dont want to judge it unfairly though, cause I do love teen romance fic. Is it really that good? :) love the blog by the way!!

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    1. I'm not a fan of that title either. Sara says it's amazing though so I can't wait to read it!

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