I’m the type of person who doesn’t always pick up a contemporary. They’re a bit of a hit and miss, but it’s like I forget that while I don’t read them a lot, when I do pick up a contemporary, I easily fall in love. They’re such a mixed bag, and I think people push them aside because they have an assumption of what a contemporary contains. And sure, sometimes they do contain stereotypes, but doesn’t every genre? But also doesn’t every genre have those books that speak to you? That make you cry and laugh? That make you feel warm and fuzzy. These are the gut-wrenchiest, the cutest, the most real, and the most romantic contemporaries (and authors) that I love.
Rainbow Rowell is the queen of the contemporary genre. Her books are just the right blend of cute and romantic as well as pulling at your heartstrings hard. There isn’t a book of hers I have yet to dislike. I remember sitting on a bus reading Landline trying not to cry, and sitting on a train reading Attachments trying not to cry. I’m on public transport a lot, ok? And of course, Fangirl is a warm hug that book nerds can relate to (and wish we all had a bf like Levi). Want to hear me gush about Carry On? My friend, you need Hollie’s Fantasy Recs!
Now if Rainbow Rowell is the queen of contemporary, Alice Oseman is the queen of existential crises. I wish I’d had these novels as a teenager; reading about kids my age struggle with school, friendships, love and obsession in a very dramatic and often heartbreaking way. Not fitting in and figuring yourself out at such a confusing age where you feel like you have to be a certain way to fit in. I needed that at school (despite having an extremely average/stereotypical teenage life), and I’m so glad that teens in 2018 have them at least. Radio Silence is probably my favourite, while Solitaire speaks to me on a spiritual level. I Was Born For This is for the fangirl in us all.
Jandy Nelson is my saviour. Despite not finding joy in every single contemporary I read, Jandy Nelson was one of the first contemporary authors I picked up after losing my love of reading during school and uni. AND BOY, does she know how to make you cry. I’ll Give You The Sun is definitely my favourite, but The Sky Is Everywhere is also phenomenal and I’m constantly waiting for her next book! (Yes, Jandy Nelson only has two books published, it’s so upsetting to think about).
Adam Silvera seems to be where people meet me at an impasse. I love Adam Silvera’s novels and just love books that make me cry on the first page, apparently. While I can’t seem to find many who actually agree with me, I am highly recommending this author if you want some #ownvoices gay and latino stories that aren’t always on the happy side, but will make your heart swell 10x bigger after reading. Ignore the naysayers! Please give them a go!
If you’re looking for some wholesome LGBTQ+ contemporaries to read, Becky Albertalli is your author. Love, Simon came out earlier this year and I absolutely adored it. I haven’t read Simon Vs The Homosapien’s Agenda in years, but I’m seriously considering a re-read, especially since I’m going to the Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera book talk in Manchester in October (!!!). My next favourite is The Upside of Unrequited, a seriously underrated book which I think gets overshadowed by it’s predecessor Simon Vs. I also enjoyed Leah On The Offbeat, but it wasn’t exactly the best book for bi rep in my opinion. But I think, for someone going into the contemporary genre, Becky Albertalli is a no brainer.
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Unless you’re new to Hollieblog, you could have guessed that Autoboyography would be on this list. This book is without a doubt, one of the best LGBTQ+ books I’ve ever read. It’s relevant, cute, sad, romantic, and hilarious. I’ve never felt myself represented so well in one book, and it’s not even about a bisexual girl. Two boys, one bi, one gay (and closeted) fall in love. It’s about sexuality and religion and family. They also meet in a creative writing class. Could this book BE any more perfect??
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Ever since the Netflix movie came out, I can’t stop recommending this book. It’s cute, romantic, and funny, and Lara Jean Song Covey is such a vibrant character that you’ll want her to step out of the page and show you how to decorate your room. It’s a very innocent coming of age novel yet treats teens like teens and shows you that not knowing everything isn’t wrong or bad, and that teens do mess up sometimes and that can be OK.
What are the contemporaries that you’d recommend based on my list? What are the contemporaries that you’d stick on your recommendations list?