Top Twelve Hidden Gems In Contemporary YA Lit

Posted August 28, 2017 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 7 Comments

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with contemporary YA right now. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and not relating as easily as I used to, or if trends in the genre are shifting and I’m just not as happy with the new direction? I’m not sure. I keep holding out hope, though, and I continue trying books and adding them to my TBR because of hidden gems like these that I’ve loved over the years. And I couldn’t pick just 10, so here’s twelve for you!

Note: I’m defining hidden gem as a book that I don’t remember hearing much about when it came out, or a book that is so backlisted that nobody is really talking about it anymore.


Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
Reality TV and pizza. What more can a person ask for?

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
I was sold when I heard school trip to Italy.

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Popular cheerleader turns nerd over the summer and falls for a boy in a comic book store. It’s adorable.

Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Summer backpacking trip through Italy! Plus it’s a retelling of A Room With a View!


The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
Artsy character! And a super cute romance that’s compared to Anna and the French Kiss.

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney
This book was a gift to my inner art historian. It’s about a boy who falls in love with a girl in a Renoir painting, and dances and eats dessert with her on the museum floor each night. So fun!

From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer
The entire story had a very “Grease” kind of feeling.  Kylie is the valedictorian of her graduating class. She’s smart, and liked by pretty much nobody except her hilarious gay friend named Will. She gets paired up for a last-minute class project with the jock of the school, Max. He’s extremely hard to work with, but she HAS to get a good grade. So she pushes him. In a conglomeration of crazy events, they both find themselves smuggled across the border in a van of stolen electronics. They are in Mexico with no passports, no way of getting home, and graduation day is closing in. Geeky girl turns hard core, and jock notices. So cute!

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
Clementine spends her summer on her parents’ sailboat nursing a broken heart. But it might not be the kind of heartbreak your mind just jumped to. She falls in love and spends a lot of time with her family eating disgusting meals made only from canned foods, eating s’mores by blow torch, star gazing, sunbathing, laughing, and bonding. I really loved this book!


Decked With Holly by Marni Bates
I have a big thing for books set on cruise ships… and cute Christmas stories… so this book won in two areas of my bookish heart. It was just as adorable and laugh-out-loud funny as I had hoped.

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer
Adorably quirky heroine who is a self proclaimed writer, witty dialogue, mature word choices (I had to use a dictionary a time or two), tons of glorious 90’s references, a so sparkly and Christmasy story. Kate’s family has this huge traditional Swedish Christmas with lots of yummy food, decorations, great music playing all the time, a TON of snow, Christmas tree shopping and trimming, etc.

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
This book warmed me inside and out, and had me smiling like an idiot while I read it. It takes place in a little Outer Banks town that I’d love to visit, the descriptions are dripping with summer, I fell in love with the characters, there’s an amazing family dynamic, and I love the messages of learning who you are and having fun while you do it.

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
This book shocked me so many times, but how I felt at the end of it shocked me more than anything else.

Did you read and love any of these, too?
Have you added any of these to your TBR?
Any recommendations for other contemporary YA gems that have slid past me?

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