My Favorite Genre is YA…CONTEMPORARY?!

I have been a hardcore YA Fantasy fan for years! As in since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone years. So believe me, this revelation has come as a bigger shock to me than anyone else!

I began dabbling in YA contemporary a few years ago when I discovered John Green’s books, which I instantly fell in love with. Things slowly began to snowball from there. I started reading books by Jennifer E. Smith, Stephen Chbosky, Rainbow Rowell, and Stephanie Perkins. And I was stunned to find out that I LOVED them all.

You simply CANNOT read John Green without reading David Levithan. I discovered David’s books after reading Will Grayson Will Grayson, and once you discover David, you’re done. If you don’t fall in love with YA contemporary after reading David, then I’m not entirely convinced that you are human.

At this point, I was a certified YA contemporary fan. Fantasy was still my favorite, but I was consistently mixing in a contemporary here and there. And then I received an ARC copy of History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, and I was a goner. I needed more! So I started reading books by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Becky Albertalli, Emery Lord, Nicole Yoon, Jeff Zentner and so many others! I was officially addicted.

I also fell in love with fluffy, adorable YA romance novels by authors like Sierra Abrams, Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, Jennifer E. Smith, Kasie West, Sandhya Menon, Maurene Goo, Kate Watson, Stephanie Scott etc. For me, these books are the ultimate escapist novels. They are so fun and happy and have some serious swoons!

So while I do still love me some good YA fantasy, scifi, magical realism, etc., what I am constantly craving is contemporary. Luckily, I have A LOT to catch up on (my friend Christy from Tales of the Ravenous Reader keeps me well supplied with contemporary recommendations). There are also a whole lot of wonderful contemporary novels that are set to be released. Here are some of my most anticipated upcoming contemporary reads:


Alright, hit me! What are some YA contemporary novels that you love that I absolutely have to read?!


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58 thoughts on “My Favorite Genre is YA…CONTEMPORARY?!

  1. kozbisa says:

    I see so many books I love on this page, and I am sitting right there with you in the contemporary section. I am an SFF dabbler, but the bulk of the books I read or listen to are contemporaries. I love them! I found great delight in magical realism lately as well, because they are like contemporaries with a twist.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Hooray! Another contemporary reader! I still read a lot of all the various YA genres, and I do enjoy them, but contemporary has my heart. Magical realism is definitely one of my other favorites. Contemporaries with a twist is the perfect way to describe them!

  2. Lois says:

    Morgan Matson is one of my go-to contemporary author but my favourite contemporary books are Heather Demetrios’ I’ll Meet You There and Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road. Both books just packed the punches and are the ones I always turn to if I’m in a reading slump. I can’t get enough of contemporaries but I am such a mood reader so I always fluctuate between genres.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      I do love Morgan Matson’s books, so I’m right there with you on that! I haven’t read Heather Demetrios, but she is tops of my to read list right now, so I’m excited to hear that! And now I’m adding Jellicoe Road as well. Thank so much for the recommendations!

  3. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    I definitely see your point! I guess every time I do read a contemporary (which is usually in the summer) I end up really enjoying it and feeling super warm and fuzzy inside. Fantasy is my heart but contemporary also has a place in it too 🙂
    Also, thank you for so many recs! <3

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      I’m happy to hear we have another contemporary fan here! 🙂 Summer is definitely the time where I only want to read contemporaries. LOL. I still read all the other YA genres, but I have a constant craving for them! Thanks, Sophie! <3

  4. Tina Woodbury says:

    I don’t read a lot of young adult, but I really should throw it into the mix more often. There are a lot of great books to be read 🙂
    I loved The Fault in Our Stars and enjoyed the movie Everything, Everything.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      There are definitely a lot of great books to read in all genres. I pretty much read YA exclusively these days, because of the blog, and I can’t even come close to keeping up with that! I loved The Fault in Our Stars as well. And it will always be special to me for being my first contemporary since I was a kid and reading The Babysitter’s Club, etc. 🙂

  5. Life of a Literary Nerd says:

    I have been on a contemporary kick since around April. Some of my favorites I’ve read are: This Side of Home by Renee Watson, Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler, It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy. Contemporary books are just so feel good, that I love reading them, especially in the summer.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      I have not read any of those books! Thank you so much. Those are all going on my contemporary rec list. Ramona Blue was on there already, of course, but not the others! So this is super helpful! Thank you!! 🙂

  6. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads says:

    I’ve always considered sci-fi my favorite genre, but I have been reading contemporary nonstop recently and I’m loving it. I really want to read Moxie when it comes out!! And now I’m just thinking of all the contemporaries I still need to read, hahaha.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      I’ve noticed that you’ve been reading a lot of contemporary. We’ve discussed several of them. I am so excited for Moxie, so we’ll add that to our list of books we’ll need to discuss. 🙂 There are SO many I need to read now!

  7. Arya D. says:

    I love ya contemporary I have read a lot of the older contemporaries on your list but I’ve been on a little break from ya cont. For a while now so I really excited to see some I haven’t heard of to get myself back into contemporary again thanks for the recs!

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Oh, you’re so welcome! We’ll have to chat if you read any that you really enjoy. I always want more YA contemporary recs. 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!

  8. TeacherofYA says:

    Ok, so I’m not a big contemporary reader. But, I did read one so far and I enjoyed it a lot: Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven. You KNOW I don’t read it often bc I get enough real life in my own life. But I did love it.
    I just got one by the author of Our Chemical Hearts (haven’t read it), but it’s very cute sounding. I just posted it on my TL and it’s by Krystal Sutherland. It’s actually pinned to my TL currently so it should be there. But I can’t remember the name: something like A Semi-Definitive List….I can’t recall the rest. There’s also one I want to read called Amish Guys Don’t Call: it sounds so funny!
    I don’t want to lose you to contemporaries!! Ahhh!!

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Oh, my goodness. Jennifer Niven is AMAZING! I have Our Chemical Hearts sitting on my shelf and still haven’t gotten to it, which I feel terrible about. I really need to! You’ll have to let me know if you read that one. I heard about the Amish Guys book. It sounds so adorable. You won’t lose me! LOL. I still love fantasy/scifi/etc. Contemporary is just my favorite. 🙂

  9. Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons says:

    Judging by this list, I also enjoy YA contemporary more than I think. Love David Levithan and The Fault in Our Stars and Alterations and so many more! I highly recommend Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde and Two Boys Kissing by Levithan! 🙂

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      I love that! LOL. I feel like YA contemporary love is something that sneaks up on us! Two Boys Kissing has been on my TBR for forever. I need to get on that one! But I am definitely adding Queens of Geek!

  10. bookprincessreviews says:

    *pushes The Summer I Became a Nerd at you one more time ;)* This was a brilliant post!! Also: I have not nearly enough of these and I’m ASHAMED. Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm is the newest contemporary that I found recently, and it sounds adorableeeee. <3 Wonderful job, Krysti!!

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      On the contemporary recs list! As are many of those beautiful books you sent me. I really want to read All the Feels ASAP. Also adding Prince in Disguise. I knew I could count on you for more recs. <3<3<3 Thanks, Mandy!!!

      • bookprincessreviews says:

        Wooooooooo! But yessssss, I’m super interested to see what you think of it. It definitely has some cute moments. And cons! But yayyyyyyy. <3 It sounds ridiculously adorable. 😀

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        I’m all about the ridiculously adorable. As you know. 😉 I’m so glad we can fangirl over the fluffy books together! 🙂

  11. Marie says:

    I think we might be twins or something. I fell in love with the genre – and ith my favorite author, John Green, a little while ago now, and since then I never stopped loving contemporaries. I loved Jennifer E. Smith’s and Stephanie Perkins books so much afterwards, and now I’m just reading and adding all of the contemporaries to my TBR, it is ENDLESS.And I LOVE all of the writers you mentioned here so, so much ; David Levithan is so good, I only read More Happy Than Not but LOVED IT so much, Morgan Matson is one of my favorites…. I love this post ahah <3

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Yay! So glad to hear that you love contemporary as well! There are so, so many incredible contemporary authors out there. They’ve given us some phenomenal material. Morgan Matson is also one of my favs. I need to read more of her books though! I need to make sure I’m doing a dedicated contemporary week each month, so I can get caught up on some of this backlog!

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        The Unexpected Everything is my favorite so far, but you’re definitely right. I NEED to read them all!

      • Marie says:

        Oh yes that one was pretty great! My favorite is Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour for now, but…all of her books are pretty awesome 🙂

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        I definitely need to read that one. Oh to be young enough to still have summer vacations. I would be lounging outside with contemporary books for the entire three months.

  12. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    I used to be big into contemporary, but have found that as I’ve gotten older, I am less drawn to it. I think our reading tastes definitely change and we go through genre phases. I am big into fantasy right now, which has never been one of my top genres. I’m sure I’ll visit contemporary again in the future 🙂

  13. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I have also discovered that I enjoy contemporary way more than I ever knew! Thank goodness for attempting to branch out this year 😉 I have to bookmark this as I see so many potential “new favorites” <3

  14. Beware Of The Reader says:

    You named most of my fav Kirsty but you could try All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven or Stolen by Lucy Christopher and If you Find me by Emily Murdoch. I also am reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Hahaha. Thank you! It’s a good place to be. I’m definitely adding that to my list. Thank you for the rec!

  15. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    This is such an awesome post!! Fantasy (and also classics) still (and probably always will) edge it out for me over contemporaries. That said, I’ve ended up falling in love with contemporaries completely unexpectedly! I love Perks and the Anna series (I think it was the Anna cinched it for me) And gosh I love Serpent king and to all the boys- such great books on here!! Sorry- getting distracted by all the lovely books on here- but I really love your story of how this became your favourite genre 😀

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks so much! I do still love fantasy and classics as well, but contemporary just has my heart. I’m glad you love all those books as well. They’re some of my favorites! This genre totally snuck up on me. It was definitely a slow progression to it becoming my favorite. 🙂

  16. Lauren says:

    Like you, I started reading contemporary because of John Green’s books and I never looked back. I also really love Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me, which is right up there with John’s books 🙂

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      I’ve been talking to a lot of people who have our same story with contemporary. So many people have hopped on the John Green hater train for whatever reason, and I don’t understand it. The words he writes are beautiful, and I adore his stories.

  17. dominds says:

    I really like this blogpost. I also adore YA contemporary, but I like to read Fantasy as well. To be honest, I don’t quite like John Green’s books, but he is the one who introduced me to YA and contemporary so <3 My favorite contemporary would be A List of Cages, it is soo good. I also enjoyed The Hate U Give very much.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks so much! John Green seems to be hit and miss with readers. You either love or hate him, but he did introduce so many of us to contemporary! I will definitely add A List of Cages to my contemporary TBR!

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