My Reading Journey

So i was doing my daily journey through the blogs that I follow and I came to one of my favorites, no rx The Perpetual Page Turner, there run by the lovely and awesome, Jamie. Her most recent blog entry talks about her Reading History (which you can read here) and the different books that shaped her life.

I loved it. It was so cute, and it was nostalgic and it really brought to my mind my own reading history.

See, the one thing I’ve noticed in my journeys as a reader, as a writer, and as a blogger is that so many people that I’ve met have that “moment” or that “one book/book series” that just does IT for them. It brings them into the world of reading. You have no idea how many times I’ve heard, “Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/Mortal Instruments/Divergent/Hunger Games/John Green/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants/etc got me into reading”. Which I think is absolutely wonderful and is a testament to how wonderful YA literature can be.

And I get that question a lot. “What book got you into reading?” because people know how insane I am with books and reading. And I always feel really perplexed when I get that question. Like…”Um, Green Eggs and Ham? Go Dog Go? The Polar Express? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?”

Because, the thing is, reading has exploded over the past decade, and I do think that it is in LARGE part to do with the young adult literature boom. So many people are picking up these books, loving them and becoming readers, and picking up more  YA books.

But for me? I’ve ALWAYS been a reader. I can’t pinpoint a moment in which I discovered reading because its long before my memory can remember. I’ve been reading since I was a small child, three, maybe four years old. Reading has always, always, always been a part of my life. I can’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t reading. But I am seriously curious about the different books that I’ve read through out my life and so this is where I talk about my reading journey.

Thanks Jamie for an awesome post, and I hope you don’t mind that I’m borrowing it!

Childhood (3-10 years old)

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In my childhood days, I spent most of my time reading probably what most kids read: LOTS of Doctor Seuss, lots of Berenstein Bears, lots of Shel Silverstein. However, those books got really easy and really “boring” super fast. So I was already moving on to chapter books, formula books, by the time I was about five or six and I stuck with those for quite a many years. I’m talking Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals, Boxcar Children and the various Sweet Valley series (Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Jr HighSweet Valley College). I ate these books up SO fast, and they probably were way below my potential but I could read a couple Baby-Sitters Club books a day and I loved that. I also read a lot of Judy Blume books in those days too.

I also realize now that reading all those Sweet Valley Books as a nine-year-old was probably unbelievably inappropriate. The high school and university series TOTALLY has sex in it and I was so cavalier about it, when I was a child. Interesting.

But those were the books I loved as a kid. They weren’t challenging and they were easy reads and I could bust through those books so fast, making me seem like a better reader than I probably was because I wasn’t challenging myself!

Preteen/Middle School (10-14 years old)

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I was 10 years old when I discovered Harry Potter, and this seriously changed my life in so many ways, I couldn’t even begin to write about it. That is a whole ‘nother blog post. But it changed the way I read books. Books didn’t have to be short, and they could be so different and interesting and challenging and wonderful. Harry Potter was the first book that I read that wasn’t a formula book, really, and I just loved it. I ate that up so fast and it was the first step I took into a whole different world.

Also when I was in middle school, I discovered both Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot, both of whom are still some of my absolute favorite authors. This is where I discovered YA literature, and this is why I’m still obsessed with YA and I”m writing this blog. A friend of mine gave me Dessen’s Someone Like You and I loved it so much and went out and bought That Summer, Keeping the Moon and Dreamland and I’ve bought every book since then on the day its come out. For Meg Cabot, I went and saw the movie The Princess Diaries and realized it was a book. Then I read the book and realized how much better it was than the movie and I’ve consumed every single Meg Cabot book to come out since then.

This was the beginning of my foray into young adult literature. I had dipped a toe in, in the contemporary world of YA lit. I think this is also when I sort of discovered that I liked to write too, at about 10 years old. I think that’s when I realized that I liked the way these YA authors wrote, so relatable and so real, like you were stepping into the messy minds of teenagers.

High School (15-18 years old)

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This is what I am going to call my exploring years. I read a LOT during high school, and a lot of that was classics because of school. And I’ll tell you: Shakespeare? Steinbeck? I get they were great guys and all and changed literature and all that…but ugh, ugh, ugh. I can’t read either one without wanting to drown myself.

But I did discover a lot of classics I did like. I loved The Great Gatsby. Gone with the Wind. Poisonwood Bible (okay, which isn’t a classic, but is a great book). Brave New World. Huckleberry Finn. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD! (Hey, I named my dog Scout for a reason).

This was also the time that I was really getting into fantasy, especially young adult fantasy. It hadn’t QUITE broken out yet but it was definitely getting there. I had consumed the Lord of the Rings books with fervor, because I just loved the movies so much. (I had read The Hobbit as a kid). I was still reading Harry Potter like crazy, and I had discovered two of my still favorite authors, Tamora Pierce and Libba Bray. Tamora Pierce introduced me to a world of pure fantasy and it still is one of my absolute favorite fictional worlds to be in. Libba Bray gave me the sort of urban fantasy that I didn’t really know existed. I didn’t know that you could read fantasy books in a world you recognized, even if it was a Victorian England you never actually lived there. This is where I think my obsession with the supernatural, the fantasy, and all that started. I was full on 100% obsessed with Harry Potter and my reading habits were growing and growing by the minute.

I will also say that it was during this time that I discovered Twilight. Now as much as I don’t think its a well written book and all that, it was also very instrumental into the books that I enjoy now.

Young Adult (19-now)

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And this is where the trouble started :) This is where all the build up, all the YA I’d been obsessed with like Sarah Dessen, and Meg Cabot, Tamora Pierce, Libba Bray, Harry Potter just escalated.

Now, as you guys now, I read YA by the stacks and stacks of books. I consume YA so fast and so easily. I have discovered The Mortal Instruments (and in turn, the Infernal Devices), Percy Jackson and The Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, Seven Realms series, The Hunger Games, Divergent, John Green, The Lux Series, the Legend trilogy, the Grisha trilogy, and so so so so so many more that I couldn’t even begin to tell you them all.

But I’ve also continued my love of contemporary YA as well, as that is what started the journey. I still love Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot to no end. I read John Green now and David Levithan, Morgan Matson (!!!), Jessica Brody, and so many more. And this love of young adult books and what motivates me to do this blog and its what I read most of. I still read adult books but for the most part, its YA all day.

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So that’s my journey through books. Its been a long journey but an enjoyable one and I know its going to continue because my love for books only strengthens every day. I discover new authors and new books every day. I’m so grateful to my parents for pushing me so hard to read as a young child because I’ve been reading for longer than I can remember and books are magic to me, they are therapy, they are entertainment, they are escape.

So what was your reading journey? Did it start early like mine, or was there certain books or series that helped you to become a reader? As always, let me know in the comments!

And if you write a post as well, let me know and I’ll link it in this one :)

Tuesday Top Ten-Books for Fun!

For some reason, remedy I feel like its been FOREVER since I wrote a Tuesday Top Ten, page and its only been two weeks since my brother totally wrote last week’s. But I feel like its been SO long! I have been SO immensely busy the last few weeks, advice what with the end of school, and finals, and my boyfriend graduated college and so it was busy.

And then when I did finally have free time, I was SO lazy and didn’t want to write anything haha. I was like, school is over and I’m not writing ever again :) And I need to catch up on my reading! I have SO many books piling up, unread, because I’ve been busy with other things.

But I’m back :D Ready to rock your world as always.

I have some SUPER cool things coming your way, like a review of Arrested Development Season 4, a post on Leigh Bardugo‘s Siege and Storm release party, some awesome book reviews, and a feature on Cinda Williams Chima!

Its going to be AWESOME.

For now, let’s do the Tuesday Top Ten.

So I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t always read these serious books. Like, not all the books I read have these deep crazy messages with battles, and wars, and questioning humanities and all that sort of thing. I read everything and that means I love to read for fun too! I like reading books about summer, and boys and kissing, and books that make me laugh, I swear I do!

So that’s what this week is, all my favorite FUN books :) The ones that don’t make me cry haha and make me laugh and all that!

Not to say that any of these books don’t have value! Because they all do! They all do hit issues that are important, but they all do it in a light, fun, and happy way!

So here we go!

10. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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Lena, Carmen, Tibby and Bee have been best friends basically before they were even born. They have spent their entire life together, until this summer, where they’ll all be in different places. As the contemplate on this, they stumble upon a pair of pants, pants that magically fit all of them, despite their very different body types. They determine these pants are magical and that they will keep the girls together over the summer. Lena meets a boy in Greece, and struggles with her feelings for him. Carmen goes to spend some quality time with her dad, but finds he’s suddenly engaged to a new woman. Tibby is stuck at home, without her friends, working a terrible minimum wage job, and Bee is at soccer camp in Mexico where there is a VERY good looking coach, who is also VERY out of bounds.

I think I first read this book when I was about 13, and I just loved it. Its so fun, and its a perfect summer book. There’s all these serious issues in it like a parent remarrying, cancer, dating, love, losing your virginity but its so realistic and so easy to read. There’s no preaching, there’s no lesson, its just there and I’ve always loved these books. I love the absolute familiarity you feel with every single character.

9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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Yup, I went there. Bella Swan moves to rainy Forks in Washington to live with her dad, as a sacrifice to her mother who she loves. In this tiny town, she’s an attraction, something new to be figured out. But the only person she’s interested in is Edward Cullen, and his family, who are too beautiful for words and keep to themselves. However, Edward shows an intense hatred to her right away. For some reason, this intrigues Bella and she’s determined to find out about him, especially when there’s more to him than she saw at first glance. He’s a vampire and she’s his particular brand of blood and every moment they spend together is a danger to her.

Okay, that just sounded ridiculous even talking about it haha. I know that it is not the most fantastically written book. I know that its not even that good of a story. But I like it. Its one of my guilty pleasure reads. If I don’t want to think and I just need a super fluffy romance to read, this is exactly what I need. There’s no thinking involved here, and If I tune out for a bit, its fine because I just probably missed a super mushy scene that I was fine missing in the first place! But I do enjoy reading it, no matter how bad the writing is.

8. Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita 

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This book follows the life of Kaitlin Burke, famous teen television star of the hit show, Family Affairs. Her entire life is dictated by her very busy schedule, and between the show, various appearances and publicity, she just doesn’t have time to be a normal girl. So she comes up with this brilliant idea to disguise herself in order to go to a regular high school, just to find out what its like. But soon she’s falling hard for the hottest boy in school, and her enemy co-star, Sky Mackenzie, is making her life miserable at every turn.

I LOVE this book. I love love love it. Its so good! I am obsessed with Hollywood and pop culture and all of that, and I was trying to write a novel about a girl who meets a famous actor and this book helped me SO much. Jen Calonita used to work for teen magazines and so knows a bit about the life of these people and so she writes with accuracy and its SO helpful to someone who has no idea haha. But they’re also super fun, and Kaitlin is such a fun character, and I love her Star Wars obsession and I love that she’s a super gorgeous actress and still feels insecurities too, which I think is totally normal, but we don’t really realize it. I like that Jen gives us a super fun, celebrity world with a very real teen girl that we can all relate to, even though she’s famous.

7. Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot

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Disclaimer: This is NOT a YA book. There is SEX in this book. Just so you know haha. In this book, we meet Kate Mackenzie, whose life isn’t going the way she planned it. Her boyfriend of ten years just dumped her, she is crashing on her best friend’s couch, she has a terrible boss at work, and she feels completely inadequate. Just when things couldn’t get worse, she’s forced to fire the most popular person in her work, and to make it EVEN worse, that person decides to sue her and the company for wrongful termination! But things are going to look up for Kate when the lawyer assigned to the case ends up to be very, VERY hot and is VERY interested in her.

I adore this book. Its the second in the “Boy” series by Meg Cabot but you don’t necessarily have to read them in order. They’re separate books that just take place in the same workplace, the New York Journal. But this one is totally my favorite. I love Kate because things just keep going wrong for her. I know that sounds terrible but I know we’ve all felt those days when nothing can go right. We’ve all had times like these, and its fun to watch her going around like “WTF?”, and struggling to deny her attractive to hot lawyer, Mitch. And Meg Cabot is SO funny, she’s so insanely funny. She’s one of the funniest authors I’ve ever read and so all while this is going down, you’re just cracking up. I hope to make people laugh in my books like she does because its just so ludicrous and hilarious.

6. The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards 

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In this book we meet Kat, who is overweight. Now, this could be an okay thing if she wasn’t so obsessed with it. She’s tried every diet out there, and she lets it rule her life and she lacks self confidence in a huge way. She has a boyfriend in England, that she met online, but she’s lied to him and told him she’s a size four, when really she’s a size 22. Then she finds a way to make it all go away: a weight loss reality show called From Fat to Fabulous. She auditions, and is suddenly on TV! But its not as glamorous as it seemed. The girls aren’t all super nice, and losing weight is hard, and her relationship with her boyfriend is all based on lies. Can she make it out of this show with everything she wants?

Dun, dun, dun! I know I keep saying this but I do SUPER adore this book. Kat is a fun character, who has all these hopes and dreams that are SO out there, and we can all kind of relate to that. Like, I so want a size 2 body with a movie star boyfriend (not really, I love my boyfriend), and I want to be rich, with five cars and all of that. But none of that is actually going to happen and thats okay :) But Kat goes into this show thinking its all just going to be fixed: her relationship, her confidence, everything, just by losing weight and thats not really true. And being on the show shows her a lot more than that. But its fun to watch her on the show, losing weight, and the stupid games they play, and how Kat is branded “The Brat” by the press and its just fun and funny.

5. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

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This book follows two points of you. First you get Reid Alexander, the super hot famous movie star, who is all about the glamour of being him: the booze, the girls, the parties, the sex. Then you have Emma Pierce, who LOVES acting and hopes to act on stage, but is pushed to do movie roles. They both end up starring in a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as Lizbeth and Darcy, and there’s immediate attraction. Reid sees Emma as a conquest, someone he’s determined to have, though he doesn’t really realize how hard he’s working for and why he’s doing it. Emma is attracted to Reid but she’s unsure of his intentions, especially when Graham, another actor on set, is showing his interest as well.

Ohmygod Tammara Webber, you’re a goddess of New Adult literature. I didn’t even know what that was until you but you ROCK it. I love these books. I bought the first one because it was TWO dollars on Kindle. (Yeah, so buy it!) and I immediately read the next two in a couple days because they are so good and so juicy. The amount of sexual tension in these books is amazing and I love it! I also love the celebrity life of it, being on set, doing interviews, parties and all that, because again, obsessed with that kind of stuff. Tammara was another inspiration and help for my novel. But everything about this novel is so sexy, and so fun, and you can’t decide which boy you want Emma with because you love them both. And the steamy scenes are to DIE for.

4. Belles by Jen Calonita

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Aw Miss Jen again! This book follows Izzy, a girl living in Harborside, a beachside community that she loves but doesn’t have the best reputation. She lives with her grandma, who is slowly deteriorating from Alzheimers. Its not long before Izzy is yanked away from Harborside and sent to live with this newfound uncle, his wife and his kids in Emerald Cove, a very wealthy town nearby to Harborwide. Izzy finds herself in a world where she feels completely left out and the girls at school, including her own cousin Mira, are not making it any easy for her. Then there’s the mystery of her new family. She’s never heard of them before, and they suddenly appeared when she needed a place to live. Lastly, her uncle’s political advisor (he’s running for the Senate) is on her case, threatening her and her grandmother if she doesn’t stay in line or if she disrupts the perfect family she’s suddenly a part of.

This book is SO juicy. Its like a little mini soap opera for teens. There’s so much going on: the jerk political advisor, the mean girls at school are seriously mean (like, they do really horrible stuff!), a hot boy who, of course, is already taken, and a mysterious family she didn’t know she had. Its all so insanely juicy and FUN. I sped through this book (and the two following) because she has you on the edge of your seat, trying to figure out what is going on or whats going to happen. I love it. And when you figure out some of the mysteries, it leaves your jaw open, eyes wide, just as if you were watching a soap opera. Its BRILLIANT and I adore it.

3. Here Today, Gone to Maui by Carol Snow

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I’m not going to lie, the first time I picked up this book, I bought it because the main character lives in my hometown. And that NEVER happens. So this story follows Jane, who is a worrier. She worries all the time. She lives in suburban Southern California and she’s surrounded by families. (Because, honestly, that’s what suburban California is…) She’s determined to spice up her life a bit and so she agrees to take a trip to Hawaii with her boyfriend, Jimmy, even though everything is screaming at her not to. Before she can enjoy any part of her actual vacation, Jimmy goes scuba diving…and never comes up. Now he’s missing, and its absolute mystery, especially when she learns that she’s not the only girl that Jimmy brought to the island….

Carol Snow, you are brilliant and more people should be reading you! I love every single one of your books! I read this one…second, after Been There Done That, and I just laughed at how incredibly ridiculous and hilarious this entire book is. Jane is so funny, and the mess she gets herself into is SO funny. (I’m not trying to be a jerk, I know the plot sounds super serious but trust me, read the book). The entire situation with Jane and Jimmy, and Jimmy’s second girlfriend, Tiara, is just fantastic. She has me laughing the entire book, especially with the descriptions of Tiara, but also has me racing through it to figure out what the hell happened to Jimmy. SUCH a good read.

2. All American Girl by Meg Cabot

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One of my absolute favorite books of ALL TIME. I read this when I was about 14 years old and I think I still owe the Moreno Valley Public Library money for stealing this book from them…and that was 11 years ago! Anyway, the book follows Samantha Madison, a rebellious girl who wears all black, is an artist and completely in love with her sister’s boyfriend. When she’s caught selling drawings at school, her parents force her into art lessons (how dare they!), where she totally doesn’t want to me. After skipping art lessons one day, she stands outside, waiting to be picked up when she notices something: the president of the US coming to buy some cookies at the bakery next door to her art class, and there’s a guy with a gun pointed at him. She doesn’t think, she just moves. Suddenly, she’s a worldwide hero, and is incredibly famous, something she is way unused to it. And it turns out, David, the president’s son is in her art class, and is REALLY cute too.

The absurdity of this book is fantastic but I love it! Its literally one of my favorite books. I love Samantha, because she’s this wannabe rebel, punkish, ska girl who really isn’t any of those things but likes to think she is, which was totally me in high school too, now that I think about it. I love David, I have SUCH a huge crush on him and his stupid little secretive smiles. And I just love the ridiculousness of the situation. I love the idea of a teen girl suddenly saving the president’s life and becoming super famous, and having the president’s son fall in love with her, which she totally does NOT want. I love all the lists too. She makes these lists throughout the book, these top ten lists and I LOVE them. We all know how I am about lists :) Those lists are actually a big inspiration for the Tuesday Top Ten, though Samantha’s are infinitely funnier than mine :)

1. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot 

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Aw, my loves. The entire ten book series follows Mia Thermopolis, a high school girl, in New York City, who is everything that I was in high school: awkward, shy, unpopular, insanely tall (but I was small), no boobs, the works. She’s had a crush on Josh Richter, for ages, and her mom is dating her Algebra teacher, a class she is failing. Then her dad comes to New York to tell her something. He had cancer, and it made him…unable to have anymore kids, which makes her the now known heir to the throne of Genovia. Suddenly, Mia isn’t the normal kid she’s trying SO hard to be but she’s a princess and that takes a lot of work. The ten book series follows Mia from her freshman year to her senior year, following all of her awkwardness, her fun, her life lessons, her ups and downs, the different boys in her life (Michael Moscovitz for LIFE <3) and all the hilarity that ensues.

I first read this when I was 12 years old. I credit Meg Cabot (and Sarah Dessen) with my introduction to the YA lit world. I’ve been obsessed with YA since then and she has been one of my absolute favorite authors and one of my biggest writing inspirations since then. Her books are so GOOD. Written in diary form, you get to be in Mia’s head at all times, which is so great, because since she makes all the mistakes that we all made in high school, we get to see it from her point of view, and her reasoning and her out of control, awesome perspective. We get NO one else and it makes it great because we see how she can overreact or not react enough, and make mistakes and all of that. And Mia is a fun, relatable and hilarious character, and one of my absolute favorite characters ever. If you have not read these books, there is something wrong with you!

Also, the books are SO much better than the movie. I mean, I like the movie. But the books are so good. Its in NYC not San Fran. Her dad is NOT dead, he’s just hilarious. Her mom is hilarious. Her grandmother is NOT sweet Julie Andrews, but scary Grandmere. SO much win.

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So that was the Tuesday Top Ten for you!

Hope you enjoyed!

Stay tuned for awesome things heading your way this week!

And don’t forget to check out the previous Tuesday Top Tens!

Tuesday Top Ten-Contemporary Young Adult Novels

So….you know, information pills I spend most of my blog posts, shop including my Tuesday Top Tens and my Book of the Weeks talking about books that have some sort of fantasy or paranormal or dystopian…some kind of surrealistic feel to them. That’s just the kind of novels that I gravitate to.

But I’m a reader, viagra order first and foremost, and that’s what my blog is mostly about: books. And I’m also just a big fan of young adult novels, period. So I decided to dedicate my entire Tuesday Top Ten to those contemporary, non-fantasy young adult novels and authors that I love so much.

Sure, I could talk about Harry Potter and Mortal Instruments and Divergent and Delirium and Gemma Doyle and all of those over and over and over again, but let’s try something new.

Let’s break out of the box a little.

So here’s this week’s Tuesday Top Ten:

My Favorite Young Adult Contemporary Novels!

10. Between the Lines  by Tammara Webber

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Between the Lines is the first novel in the Between the Lines series, an ebook series by Tammara Webber, author of the novel, Easy. Between the Lines follows two different people: Emma, who is an aspiring actress who lands a major role as Lizbeth in a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejuidce, and Reid, an extremely famous actor, playing the part of Will Darcy, and is known for his partying and his different girls in his bed every night. Reid immediately feels an attraction to Emma and is determined to have her in his bed, but Emma is less sure. She likes Reid but she also likes another handsome actor as well. What I like about this novel is that it surprised me. Its in ebook format and I bought it because it was fairly cheap…and I consumed the novel incredibly fast and LOVED it. This novel had the potential to be cheesy and cliche but it wasn’t. Tammara creates wonderful, believable characters and she creates such depth to them. There is so much more to both Emma and Reid and their stories are so addicting. Plus I like that Tammara’s books are more “new adult” or “mature young adult”, so I get my love of YA but with a little smut on the side.

9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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Taylor and her family pack up their bags and head to their lake house for the summer, even though Taylor would like nothing more to avoid that place. First off, her dad just found out he has cancer and has not much time to live and he would like to spend one last summer with his family before he goes. Secondly, the last time she was at the lake, she ran away, from her best friend and from her first love and she’s afraid to face them both. However, she does return and she realizes that she begins to have second chances: a second chance to have her best friend, a second chance to find love and a second chance to have a relationship with her dad. Morgan Matson is an amazing author, who I was privileged to meet recently and this book is another example of her talent (see below for her prime example). She is able to capture the teenage consciousness: the awkwardness, the first loves, the fights with friends, friends in general, pimples, the confusion and the emotions. But she also captures the realness of the teen years too, and the feeling of first loves, having a parent with cancer, growing up. You really see Taylor go through a lot and you are happy to hold her hand through it.

8. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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Auden has spent her entire life being an adult. She is raised by her mother, a pretenious English professor, and her father, an award winning author, and they’ve expected a lot out of her. When they divorce, and her father marries a young woman, and quickly has another child, Auden suddenly finds herself with incurable insomnia. When she reluctantly agrees to spend the summer with her father and his new wife, she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, who shows her the many things that she can accomplish in the night, and shows her what it really means to be young. I LOVE this book. I absolutely, totally adore this book. Look at how beat up my copy is (which Sarah Dessen LOVED by the way).

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I love that you really get to see Auden grow up, but not in the way you expect. Auden feels like she needs to act like an adult all the time, with no fun, because this is what is expected of her. But she meets Eli, and a bunch of other new friends, and they teach her not only to have fun and be young, but not to judge people based on first impressions, like her mother does. We usually see novels about coming-of-age stories and growing up, and I think this novel has a similar concept but in the opposite direction. In order for Auden to grow up, she has to learn how to be young, and she has her new friends, especially Eli, to teach her.

7. Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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The Airhead Trilogy follows Emerson Watts, a girl who only has one best friend and abhors anything that is “popular”. She’s forced to take her sister to the grand opening of a brand new Stark Megastore, where the famous model, Nikki Howard, will be making an appearance. When a large television screen falls right above her sister, Em pushes her out of the way, and everything goes dark. When she wakes, she is suddenly looking a little different than before…in fact, she’s now Nikki Howard. After she was crushed by the flat screen, her body is declared dead…and Nikki Howard, victim of a brain anuerysm, is now brain dead. Solution: transplant Em’s brain into Nikki’s body, to fulfill the duties of the model for the huge Stark company. But of course, not all is as it seems and there is more to her transplant than she’s been told. I LOVE Meg Cabot, I love her. Her stories are so out of this world, but she also makes them so damn believable. Her characters are all so real, inside these surreal situations. I like it because its so….science fiction, but in this contemporary YA novel. It could be included in my “fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi” series countdown (which will be coming soon) but I put it here because it doesn’t feel that way. Em is just a normal teenage girl, with normal teenage problems, but with the slight problem of now being in a famous model’s body. Haha.

6. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

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This is the first book I ever read by Deb Caletti and I fell in love. Some may not consider it her best but I love it. The main character is Queenie, who is surrounded by women who have been burned by men, especially her mother by her father. But Queenie worships her father, until she finds out a secret about him. Queenie goes on a road trip to meet all the women in her dad’s past and learns a little about what prince charming actually means. What I really love about Deb Caletti’s books is that they are young adult but with some depth, and some serious balls in them. She attacks issues, and has been attacking issues, in very real ways. Nothing about her books isn’t real. Queenie’s father has some serious issues; narcissism as a major one, and Queenie has spent her entire life worshiping the ground that he walks on. This book tackles that idea that your parents, well, they aren’t always right and they aren’t always going to do the right thing. And I love the male lead character too. I can’t help it; I love a good fictional crush. But I love the issues that Deb Caletti writes about: teenage parents, murder, money, real stuff in very relatable situations. And she’s an absolutely brilliant author, very very talented.

5. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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Everyone always talks The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska when it comes to John Green. And while I love both of those books SO much, the first one I ever read from John Green was Paper Towns…and I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. But then I read An Abundance of Katherines and I absolutely love it. The book follows Colin, a kid prodigy, who is obsessed with making his mark on the world, capable of having “famous last words”, of having his “Eureka!” moment. After being dumped by his 19th Katherine (how does this even happen?), he is dragged on a road trip with his best friend, Hassan. They don’t get too far, when they land in the town of Gutshot, Tennessee, where they continue to spend the rest of the summer, hanging out with Lindsay and her mother, and trying to devise a formula that will help Colin figure out what went wrong with each and every Katherine. I love this book, because god, one its not seriously sad and heartbreaking like The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, and even Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Its more of a fun novel for John Green and its fun to watch Colin grow up, and become more…HIM. Its fun to watch him fall in love with someone who isn’t a Lindsay, its fun to see him be a normal teenager, its fun to see him get his moment, just not in the way he expected it. Its a fantastic novel, and I love that the formula created in the book is real, or real enough for the book’s purpose :)

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Morgan Matson, you are just too brilliant for words. I first read this book because I saw it on the ALA Top Ten list for Young Readers. It was a cool title so I went to check it out at the bookstore and decided to buy it. And LOVED it. The story is of Amy, a girl who was driving the vehicle when someone crashed into her, and her dad died. Not long after, her brother is sent to rehab for drugs. Her mom decides to pack them up and move them from California to Connecticut and she needs the car driven over. Of course, Amy doesn’t drive anymore, so her mom arranges for her friend’s son Roger, to drive them both over. What starts as a simple direct drive across the country becomes an adventure as Amy and Roger throw the itinerary created by her mom out the window and start choosing where they want to go. I can’t stress enough the brilliance of this book. I love it. I fell in love with Morgan Matson and when I met her last weekend, I couldn’t even form into words, because I was just so excited to read such a talented and inspirational writer. Its a fun, road trip novel with Amy and Roger hitting different places across the country, which is fun, because who doesn’t want to go on a road trip at least once in their life? But its also so good because of Amy’s battle to trust herself and to trust her feelings and Roger’s inability to move on from something that’s holding them back. They both learn so much on their road trip and its fun to be along with them. Also, its awesome that the book is almost laid out with a scrapbook kind of feel and she includes playlists at the beginning of each chapter :)

3. All American Girl by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot keeps appearing on this list haha. All American Girl is the story of Samantha Madison, an artsy girl living in the shadow of her popular cheerleader older sister, Lucy, and her genuis little sister, Rebecca. She’s in love with her sister’s boyfriend, Jack, and after she gets caught selling celebrity drawings at school, she’s forced to take art lessons from a hobbit looking woman who is “holding her back”. One day, she ditches art class, and when she is waiting for her housekeeper to come pick her, she stops a random gunmen from shooting the president of the United States. Suddenly, Samantha is the most famous girl in the world, as the presents and the fame come pouring in and she becomes the first teen ambassador to the UN…and her problems only get worse; the president’s son just may be in love with her. Again, with the crazy and ridiculous Meg Cabot. I read this book when it came out when I was about 13 or 14 years old and it absolutely never ceases to get old to me. Meg Cabot is one of my top inspirations besides Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson, in my young adult contemporary novel writing, and its because she’s a great writer that takes these ridiculous situations in OUR world and makes you absolutely believe them. Its one thing to write an urban fantasy or a contemporary science or a dystopian but Meg Cabot makes us believe that a fifteen year old girl saved the life of the president and is suddenly super famous. Its fantastic and addicting and just plain fun to read.

2. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

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Oh Sarah Dessen. Oh, oh Sarah Dessen. I love each and every one of your books but this by far is my favorite of yours. I love the main character, Remy Starr, and I love the male character, Dexter, EVEN MORE. Sarah said at the Festival of Books that Dexter has his own fan club basically and that sounds about right. Remy Starr is used to being in control, and this started with the fact that she has been in control of her mother and her many marriages her entire life. Its no surprise when that control flows over to her relationship. She doesn’t believe in the forever, she doesn’t believe in love. She believes in having fun for the moment but that every relationship has its expiration date. That is, until she meets Dexter, who comes to town with his band, Truth Squad. Dexter is out of control; his curly hair is all over the place, his shoes are always on time, he’s always tripping on things, everything that disrupts her perfect world. But after too many chance encounters, she agrees to date him, and all her rules go out the window. I liked this book because I really like Remy. Remy is the exact opposite of me. She’s such a dynamic character, such a strong one. I have never been a dynamic character; I’ve always had dynamic best friends. I think I envied Remy and her ability to be confident and aloof and perfect. Of course, she isn’t perfect but I liked watching her journey to realizing that she isn’t perfect and nothing can be controlled like she wants it to be.

1. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot 

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Okay, maybe this isn’t the most contemporary of young adult novels and doesn’t fit on the list, because its more like a paranormal novel series but I put it on here because its barely paranormal when compared to the tons and tons of paranormal romances that have been hitting the shelves in the last few years. The story follows Suzannah Simon as she moves from New York City to Carmel, California to live with her mom, her new stepdad and her three new stepbrothers. Everything is okay, until Suze sees her new house, and its old…and that’s never a good thing for her. An old building means there’s more likely going to be some ghosts hanging about…and unsurprisingly, there’s a 150 year old ghost hanging out in her bedroom, and an extremely hot one, at that. Like I said, not the most contemporary, but I consider it because the supernatural aspect of the novel isn’t overwhelming, not like with the novels we get nowadays. Suze just wants to be a normal teenager, going to dances and dates, and all that, without having to worry about ghosts all the time. This was the first series besides the Princess Diaries that I read of Meg Cabot, and as you’ve noticed from how many times she appears on this list…I really love her so much. She tells great stories, and again with the phenomenonal but in a very funny and contemporary way. She’s brilliant.

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So there you are guys, my top ten contemporary young adult novels. See, I can read books that don’t always have a fantasy or supernatural or science fiction-y feel to them, though I guess I couldn’t get through the entire list without including some haha.

What are some of your favorite young adult books?

As always, let me know in the comments :)