Wednesday, September 28, 2016

T5W: Gateway Books to YA Contemporary

Hey everyone and welcome back to my blog! I'm Genni, and today I'll be participating in Top 5 Wedensday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Lainey from Gingerreadslainey is the founder of Top 5 Wednesday. This week's topic is Gateway Books to Your Favorite Genre. To be honest, I don't have a favorite genre. I try to read an array of genres, so I just decided to pick one and roll with it. 

I'm going to be focusing on YA contemporary, but ones that have darker themes. While I adore the happy go lucky contemporaries, I tend to enjoy contemporaries that deal with heavier subjects more. Here are five gateway books to YA contemporary:

5.) Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Leaving Paradise is one of the first YA contemporaries I read that dealt with darker material. Maggie now permanently walks with a limp after she was hit by a car by her next door neighbor Caleb. Both teenagers are outcasts, and they eventually find solace in each other, but their past is very messy and leads to heightened tensions. 
4.) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Twenty Boy Summer wrecked me when I first read it. The novel follows Anna and her friend Frankie. They dare each other to see who can kiss 20 boys within the summer. What makes this different from a light contemporary is the fact that Anna was secretly dating Frankie's older brother, Matt, before his death a year ago. Frankie never knew, and seeing Anna dealing with her grief, lying to her friend, and coming to terms with Matt's death is heartbreaking and bittersweet and ugh SO. GOOD. 
3.) The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Nelson is known for her hard-hitting contemporaries (I'll Give You the Sun is extremely popular). When I read The Sky is Everywhere a few years back, I was a mess. The novel focuses Lennie and how she deals with the untimely death of her older sister. This book hit me so hard because the relationship between Lennie and her sister is much like that of my own. If you've only read I'll Give You the Sun, I urge you to pick this one up!!
2.) The Running Dream  by Wendelin Van Draanen
Jessica's dreams are seemingly shattered when she loses one of her legs due to a car crash. She struggles with accepting that her future is changed, as well as being a social outcast. Jessica's character growth is great here; she befriends Rosa, a girl with CP that Jessica dismissed before her accident. I loved the ending, and writing about it is making me want to read the book again!
1.) Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Yoon's debut novel Everything, Everything was one of my favorite books of last year. Maddie has a rare disease that is commonly known as the 'bubble disease'; she needs to live in a sterile environment and has no interaction with any humans besides her mother and her caregiver, Carla. The latter changes when she meets Olly, her new next door neighbor. Everything spirals out of control, and the plot twist was fantastic.

Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you soon with another post!

Happy Reading!

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!


  1. I just finished Everything Everything last night on audiobook and I was quite surprised by that twist!

    1. I'm glad you were surprised! When I read it, I remember just sitting back and making sure I read the right thing! :D

  2. This is a great topic. I've been reading more YA contemp and even though I gravitate towards more suspenseful or scifi stuff, I think this looks like a great intro / gateway list for darker YA. Everything Everything seems to be well loved and Leaving Paradise looks good too. they all do really.

    1. Thanks Greg! I'm glad you are. I can't wait to see some recommendations from you. I hope this helped. :D

  3. Yikes, I have not read any of these! No surprise though, since I'm not a huge fan of YA contemporary, especially darker "tough-issue" YA contemporary. My YA contemporary recs would be any Kasie West book, or My Life Next Door, books like that. =)

    Great post, Gennifer!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I can see why you're not. I always have to be in the right mood and mind-set to take on darker YA contemporaries. Sometimes they are a bit too dark for me to handle. I actually didn't like the one Kasie West book I read, but I want to read her others to give her a fair shot! :D

      Thanks Alyssa!