Hey guys, it’s been a while. Sorry, I’ve been a little MIA. I just have been feeling kind of down and exhausted lately, and it put me in a blogging slump. I needed to take a break to rejuvenate and relax. Now that I’ve done some of that, I feel more motivated to keep up with this blog (and all of the other things I have going on).
Anyway, what better way to celebrate my return than with a Top Ten Tuesday. I’m so excited that The Broke and the Bookish are back with this meme, I certainly have missed it!
This week is all about finding the Hidden Gems in a genre of your choice. I picked YA Contemporary because it is the genre that I have read the most from. It’s a wide range of books and there are definitely a ton of throwbacks on here. Some of them may lean more on the “popular” side, but I put them on my list because I don’t see them talked about enough in the Book Community. Anyway, on with the list!
1. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
I randomly stumbled upon this book a few years ago. I was drawn in by the cover, the title, and the premise. As a music enthusiast, I’m sucker for books that involve music in their plot in any way. I ended up loving this book! Elise was such an awesome character and I really related to her (even though I’m not secretly a DJ, sorry guys). If you pick up any book from this list, I think it should be this one.
2. Sorta Like a Rockstar by Matthew Quick
This was on my syllabus for a YA Literature class I took in college. I had never heard of it, but was really blown away. Amber, our main character, was one that leaped off the page and I loved her voice. I also really loved all the quirkiness that was in this book, but don’t let the quirkiness deceive you. This book pack’s a major punch. I need to reread it, because I remember loving it but it’s been a while. It was such a solid book though and an underrated one at that. Also, if this author sounds familiar it is because he wrote The Silver Linings Playbook.
3. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Okay, so this book is a hidden gem for a couple of reasons. One, you probably haven’t heard of it. I certainly hadn’t until my YA Literature class. This book was another great one on our syllabus (my professor picked some really awesome books). The second reason why this falls perfectly in the hidden gem category is because this book is not a romance. Yes, I repeat, THIS BOOK IS NOT A ROMANCE! I know, the pink cover is misleading, but this is really a story about the friendship between Bea and Jonah. It is so rare to see a book about a boy and a girl who don’t fall in love with each other. I’m also pretty sure that they’re both heterosexual (please correct me if I’m wrong), which makes it even rarer. I really enjoyed this, because it was quirky and hit me in the feels. It’s been a while since I read this, so it’s definitely due for a reread.
4. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
If you know me, then you know that I really enjoy reading unrealistic realistic fiction. Basically, books that are set in the real world, but the things that happen in them don’t necessarily happen in everyday life. This book definitely falls under that genre as it follows Avery West who gets caught up in this secret society called the Circle. Apparently, she is the key to some ancient prophecy, but this is the first time she’s hearing of all of this. While this book did take me a while to get into, once I did get into it I could not put it down. I needed to know what happened next, which of course, led to more questions. This definitely gave me a bit of National Treasure (yes, the Nicolas Cage film) vibes too, which I liked. It was such a fun read, and I definitely plan on continuing on with the series.
5. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Okay, so this is another great book that also falls under that category of unrealistic realistic fiction. On GoodReads, the synopsis claims that it is a mix of Scandal and Veronica Mars in YA Thriller form. That statement is so accurate and should make you want to pick up this book immediately. I have read another novel by Barnes and really enjoyed her writing style. This book is definitely my favorite by her, and it is not talked about enough! I don’t hear anyone talking about it and it makes me so sad! If you pick up a second book from this list (after This Song Will Save Your Life), it needs to be this one! There is also a sequel that I need to get my hands on asap.
6. Airhead by Meg Cabot
Airhead is another strange contemporary novel that is so good. Basically, our main character Em gets into a bizarre accident that changes her life completely. I won’t say exactly what happens to her, but you may be able to gather that information from the GoodReads synopsis. The concept of this book definitely scared me a little, but once you accept certain aspects it’s so good and addicting. Airhead is the first book in a trilogy, by the same name. I flew through all of the books, they were so good. Quirky and weird, but also fun and good.
7. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
I would describe this book as a YA Sherlock retelling with a female Sherlock. Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are descendants of the famous detective duo you’ve probably heard of. They first meet at Sherringford, a prep school in Connecticut. Things start to go awry when a student dies and they’re sort of being framed for the murder. There’s not enough love for this book. I’ve seen a few people talk about it here in the Book Community (especially since the sequel, The Last of August, came out in February). I really enjoyed reading this, and thought it was super unique. I mean how many YA Sherlock retellings do you come across?
8. Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian
You may be familiar with this author. She wrote the Private series and the Shadowlands Trilogy. This book was super popular when it came out back in the mid 2000s (this book was published 2006). It was the first book that I remember really falling in love with when I was a teenager. It holds a special place in my heart, and definitely is part of the reason I love YA contemporary romances so much. I included it on this list, because nobody talks about it anymore even though it was such a good book. If you’re looking for a great throwback, I think you should pick this one up. I hope to reread this one day, and see if I love it as much as I did then.
9. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Okay, so you’ve probably also heard of this author. She just had a book come out and is considered a queen of YA contemporary romance. This is probably my favorite book that I’ve read by her and I’ve read most of them. Since it is an older book, it does not get talked about as much (hence why it is on this list). I think what stood out for me was the romance between Remy and Dexter. Also, Dexter is a guitar player and in a band, which makes him even more swoon worthy. As we have established previously, I’m such a sucker for books about music and this is another one of them.
10. The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
Speaking of books that involve music and romance, this is another one I really loved. I’m a sucker guys, what can I say. I’m especially a sucker for the celebrity falls for a regular person trope. This book does that trope well, and satisfied all of my needs. It was just such an adorable romance and a perfect summer read. I believe this is the first book in a series. The other books revolve around the romances of the other members in the boy band that is featured. I definitely plan on continuing on and seeing how Novak handles that without writing the exact same story but with different characters.
Those are my favorite hidden gems in the YA Contemporary genre. As I was typing up this list, I realized that a good chunk of these books are in desperate need for a reread. If you see one of them pop up on a future TBR, you will know why.
Please let me know if you’ve read any of the books I’ve listed. We can gush about these awesome books in the comment section togehter Also if you have a favorite YA Contemporary that is completely underrated and not on this list, let me know down in the comments. Always looking for more unknown books to read.