22 YA Contemporary Romances Teen Me Would Have Loved

Posted April 27, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 25 Comments

Happy TTT! Is it just me, or are the weeks both flying AND dragging? I feel like I’ve been in isolation forever, yet I also feel like I’m writing up TTTs every single day. It’s weird how that happens. Oh, before I forget. I’ve updated the TTT topic schedule through June (including TTT’s 10th birthday topic) and will be adding July soon!

Today’s topic lets us think back to a simpler, less chaotic time in our lives. As you can see by my post’s title I switched the topic up a little, but the actual topic is Top Ten Books I Wish I’d Read As a Child. Maybe you weren’t much of a reader as a kid (a.k.a. me), maybe the book you’re thinking of hadn’t been published yet, or maybe you just simply didn’t have the opportunity to read it then. Whatever the reason may be, tell us about the books that little you would have really loved or really needed to read.

I turned 13 in 2000, and contemporary YA romances were just not a thing back then. Actually, YA lit was barely a thing and if it was nobody knew about it. lol. When I went to the bookstore, I never saw any evidence that there were books written just for me. Apparently there was a shelf of “teen reads” in the back by the huge kids section, but I never noticed it. I read historical romance and mysteries instead. YA has now exploded and become an expansive ocean of books that I wish existed when I was a teen. The titles I’m sharing today are all 5-star favorites of mine, and I know I would have loved even MORE if I’d been able to read them as a teenager instead of as an adult. And no, I couldn’t limit it to 10! The book links will lead you to my review, which is where you will find more info on the book and all my thoughts!

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Save the Date by Morgan Matson
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore Stultz
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer*
(*This is the only one of my picks that was actually available when I was a teen.
I SO wish I’d known about this hidden gem! It’s exquisite!)

Are there any YA contemporary romances you wish you’d been able to read as a teen as well?
Or any books at all that you’ve read, but would have loved to read as a teen/younger child instead?


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25 responses to “22 YA Contemporary Romances Teen Me Would Have Loved

  1. RS

    I’m the same age as you, and I always find myself scratching my head when people say YA didn’t exist then. I mean, I will grant there was a marked shift in style in the 21st century from the 90s and earlier; before that they were generally shorter/smaller, not as likely to be read by people past age 15, and far more likely to be released in paperback first…but the teen section was definitely its own full size section in the library, separate from the children’s chapter books, and it occupied the same amount of space in 2015 as it did in 1998. I’ve got plenty of hardcover books from my high school years that wouldn’t look out of date next to today’s if you put them side by side on a shelf. Sarah Dessen had gotten her start by that point, after all.

    But I would agree contemporary teen books are more romance-centric as a whole than they used to be. I promise I am not actually trying to be a downer, because I really love that you super-sized your list. I had the exact opposite reaction as you — I couldn’t think of a single YA novel I would have honestly appreciated more as a teen than I did as an adult, so it’s awesome seeing your take. You have so many wonderful choices. The Summer My Life Began & Instructions for a Broken Heart are personal favorites, but there are a lot on my TBR or about to be added to it, and basically every single book here is an exemplary representative of the genre.
    RS recently posted…Top [20] Books I Wish I Had Read as a Kid

  2. I guess I was thinking of this topic too literally. I didn’t think to say I wish I could have read these books as a kid or teen in this instant, so I changed up the topic completely! Lol. Now that I see yours, I’m like this makes so much more sense! Lol! Ironically, I felt like when I was a teen the little YA section that I had to deal with had nothing but contemporaries. The fantasies and paranormals were harder to find. I had to “settle” for reading contemp at the time though it wasn’t what I really wanted.

    Here’s my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  3. Tonyalee

    I’ve… only read one of these! Lol

    My YA contemporary I wish I read as a teen is PERFECT CHEMISTRY. :)

  4. I did a similar topic last year and therefore have linked to the one I did then (Top Ten Books I wish I read as a kid ). My TTT today is an old one I missed (Books I’ll Never Read).

    Hope that’s alright.

  5. I’m showing my age but I read either most of the Sweet Valley High books, or a version that came out before – way, way back in the 80’s. As a teenage girl in the UK Sophomore, junior etc held very little meaning – I always struggled with how old they all were!
    I would have loved these books as a teenager, I went for a younger age group list.

  6. This is a great list. My teenage years were spent in the 80s, so definitely no dedicated space or marketing for these types of books back then. In high school, I read John Jakes’ Kent Family Chronicles series. I was also into mystery novels and watching shows like Murder, She Wrote and Father Dowling Mysteries. In my early 20s I was reading Margaret Truman books like Murder at the Pentagon. I still love both these genres.

  7. This is a fun list. I think the internet really helped create more variety in the genres available for YA readers. I noted on another post that it is tough to think about books we missed back then because we really didn’t know what we were missing. I only knew the books that were in my school library or local library.

  8. There are SO many great reads here that I just haven’t read yet. (I think they’re great because a lot of the people I follow think so. Lol!) I have literally only read ONE and I didn’t finish the series. :( I loved Anna and the French Kiss but failed to follow through. This is a frequent problem.

    Great list! I need to get to some of these books!!
    Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter recently posted…Stephanie’s June 2020 TBR Goals