My Favorite YA Contemporary Books | Recommendations

My Favorite YA Contemporary Books | Recommendations

Hey guys, it’s Trina and this is my
monthly recommendations video for May. Monthly recommendations is a Goodreads
group that was created by myself and my friend Kayla Rayne. May’s topic is
contemporary, which is a pretty broad genre. We’ve been wanting to do it for a
while. We thought it was very fitting for the spring and summer months. I want to
kind of take this opportunity to just talk about my personal favorite
contemporary books. My first contemporary series that I want to talk about is the
Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins. Although I do have some mixed opinions on some of the things that occurred in
these books, I just remember that I did not want to read this book. I thought it
was going to just be so bad, and then I finally picked it up and I just blew
through it. Like, it was one of those read it in one night kind of books for me. So
I had a really fun experience with that first book and then I ended up enjoying
books 2 & 3 a lot more. So if you aren’t familiar with the series, these are three
different companion novels, so each one does follow a new character. If you’re
looking for books to just kind of breeze through really easily and if
fluffy romantic contemporary is your thing, I definitely think that this
series is a really good kind of standby series to meet that fluffy romantic
contemporary vibe. The third book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, is definitely my
favorite of the series because I felt so much more connected to that relationship
than I did to the first two. Whereas the other two books just showed the swoony
romantic build-up to getting together, Isla actually showed a relationship in
progress and I just really appreciated it for that. So I definitely loved this
series but specifically it’s Isla and the Happily Ever After out of this series
that is my favorite. Next I’m going to talk about the Burn For Burn trilogy by
Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. This is a revenge story. It’s following three high
school girls from completely different cliques who have all been burned and
hurt by the popular guy in school. So these three girls all kind of band
together and keep their friendship a secret and they’re plotting revenge to
get back at this guy who is like ruining their lives, and I’m just a sucker for
good revenge story. I also enjoyed watching these friendships
develop because none of these girls have a lot in common
except for their desire for revenge and then the revenge plot kind of goes off
of its tracks at times and they get in way over their heads. I thought it was fun so
if you like revenge stories and you’re more in the mood for that as opposed to
something very fluffy, although there is some romance in that series too, then I
would recommend the Burn For Burn trilogy. Next up is Fangirl by Rainbow
Rowell which I know is a standby for like everybody. Reasons why I love
this book is because first of all, it’s set in college and I think at the
time that I had read this, which was years ago by the way,
I think I hadn’t really read any books that were set in college. I just found
this time of life to be so much more relatable to me. But I also had an
extreme connection to the main character, Cath, because she does have social
anxiety and again I don’t think I had ever read a book at that time of a
character that had anxiety and I saw so much of myself in her. I also really
enjoyed the romance, the friendships, the sister relationship, the family dynamic
in this book and it is definitely a book that when someone says, ‘hey what are some of
your favorite contemporaries?’ this one always comes to mind because of that
connection I’ve had with it. Next up is one of those grittier, more hard-hitting
books and that is The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. It’s one of my
favorite contemporaries because this book is so real. If you don’t know, this
is a rape revenge story and it is just tackling rape culture. That’s the entire
purpose of the book. Now, because this is dealing with rape culture you are going
to have some scenes in this book that do depict attempted rape and just some
really horrible stuff, like there’s murders and stuff that happen in this
book because of that revenge aspect too. But on the other side I think that this
book is approaching it in an informative and a healing way. It’s not doing these
things just for shock value, just to like get a reaction out of you. It’s really an
examination of them so I do think it is a healthy examination. I also enjoy the
friendships in this book and the family of one of the main characters Peekay, like
her parents were just so supportive and I just think that this is a healthy
conversation starter that we really need to have in YA so I really love this
book. It is a favorite contemporary of mine. Next is The Girl Who Fell by S. M.
Parker which is a… really dark book because this one is examining an inside
look at an abusive romance. So we’re following a girl who
meets a new guy, she falls for him, and then slowly but surely the reader
starts seeing that this is an abusive relationship. It’s a very terrifying type
of novel. It’s definitely not a feel-good book. You’re going to hate it but that’s
the point, and as someone who has been in an abusive relationship I actually love
this book. This is the best examination of an
abusive relationship that I have ever read about in a book. This book just
offered a really well-rounded look at all the things that might happen in a
relationship like this. It offered me a mirror yet again and I just felt very
empowered by this story and I’m really really glad that we have stories like
this that exist in YA because I think more teenagers need to be seeing
examples like this so that they will kind of recognize some of the warning
signs. At least, I wish I had when I was a teenager. Next is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I just read this a couple months ago and
it’s my favorite book that I’ve read so far this year. Like, it really is that
good. It follows a black teenager named Starr who witnesses one of her
friends being shot by a white policeman and just kind of like the repercussions
of this and the media coverage of it and how it wants to paint her black teenage
friend as just a thug, and hoodlum, and you know he’s a drug dealer and they’re
just slandering him and they’re trying to make the white policeman out to be
like he was scared for his life even though the guy was not doing
anything threatening at all. Aside from it tackling a very important issue this
book was just amazingly well written as well. Angie Thomas wrote so many
different tones, so many different scenes in this book. She transitioned between
them flawlessly. The characterization was amazing, the relationships between Starr
and her friendships, and her family, and the community, everything was just
written so well. It was such a real story and Starr’s such a real character.
I just loved everything about this book so it is definitely one of my favorite
contemporary stories. Next is If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, which is
a book about a trans girl and her experience. She has already transitioned
and she’s at a new school, she just moved in with her father where she previously
was living with her mother, and this book is amazing at examining – again family
dynamics. I feel like that’s probably a theme in why I’m liking a lot of these
books because I keep saying, ‘I love the family dynamics in this book,’ but
I loved the family exploration in this book. This one is ownvoices and I just
think that there is a lot of value in it. There’s a really cute romance in it,
there are some good friendships, although some of the friendships I felt like
weren’t the best, but the story itself and the characters were really really
great and it’s definitely worth mentioning because every time I think
of amazing contemporary stories this one definitely does come to mind. Next
is In Real Life by Jessica Love. It is about two characters who know each other
online. One of them has a crush on the other. She decides to go out and meet him
in real life for the first time ever and tell him about her crush and when she
gets there she realizes that he hasn’t been completely truthful about
everything in his life. Now, I have recommended this to a few friends and
they say that they hate the tropes that are in it and I do see that there
definitely are a few tropes that are pretty heavy in it but when I read it I felt
like this book flipped all those tropes on their heads like it was actively
trying to subvert them because it would like start going down this one path and
the characters would be like, ‘well why are we really doing that?’ and I just
really enjoyed it. This one to me was just like a feel-good happy making book
so if you’re looking for a book that’s just going to be really easy to fly
through and just going to make you feel happy this one did that for me so I
still think it’s definitely worth recommending. Another favorite is Just
One Day by Gayle Forman. This is about a young girl who is on a college trip in
London and then she meets a guy there and they decide that they’re going to
take a train and go to Paris for just one day to spend it together. She’s never
really taken a risk like that so she just goes for it and they spend this
wonderful day together in Paris and then she wakes up the next morning and he’s
gone and she has no idea what’s happened to him. The story follows her as she
tries to piece together this mystery of what really happened during that day and
how that day has changed her life. So, this book does not all take place from
start to finish in just one day, that’s about maybe the first third of
the book and then the rest of the book examines her life in like the following
year after that and when I read this book this is another one that just had a
really deep personal meaning for me because this character is a person
that’s struggling to move on from a relationship that she doesn’t know why
it ended. She needs closure and I had had a relationship
like years and years ago when I read this book and I never got any closure
from it and when I read this I was like oh my gosh this is a piece of my life.
Obviously I didn’t go to Paris but when I read this book I remember feeling like
it was medicine and this book again is one that was set in college and it does
explore things like family and depression and pressure that’s put on you
for school and I just related to so many aspects of this character. I mean, I
know a lot of people have said that they don’t like this book but when I read it
it meant everything to me. I haven’t reread it since then. I
probably should but I don’t want to like ruin that first impression that I had of
it, you know? Like it just meant so much to me and I just want it to continue
meaning that much to me so this is definitely one of my favorites. Next is
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, which is about a
young boy who is gay and he is not out to his friends or his family but he
is in an online relationship with another boy at his school who is also
gay and is also not out. So the two of them don’t know their real identities
since they aren’t out and our main character Simon really wants a boyfriend.
He really wants to find out who his online crush is. This is another one of
those books that is just so happy making. If you’re looking for something that
will make you gush and swoon this is definitely it. There are some
heart-wrenching moments that just make your heart drop like oh I can’t believe that just
happened, but overall this is just a swoony story that I love it so so much.
I just loved it. I loved it, I loved it. If you have a recommendation for a contemporary
novel that you think I would enjoy let me know that down below too or just tell
me what one of your favorite contemporary books is. Thank you so much
for watching and I will see you in the comments. Bye! [music only]


  • Jessy 420 says:

    Burn for Burn sounds like the movie John Tucker Must Die

  • Jay G says:

    I love Anna and all the companion novels! I feel you on the mixed opinions though!
    I LOVE BURN FOR BURN!! Not many people have actually read them so yay! I'm glad you have!
    I'm planning on reading Just One Day this month! 😊😊

  • MisterBassBoost says:

    Great! Keep it up!

  • Hannah Hodgson says:

    I have just finished fan girl and love Rainbow Rowell's style of writing! I am about to start the hate you give this afternoon so I hope I enjoy it! I have been a long time subscriber and really enjoy your stuff. I would love to emulate your style in some on my videos! LOVE your lipstick as well xx

  • Pages and Pens says:

    I recently read The Upside of Unrequited and loved it-now I have to read SIMON vs. πŸ’œ I also really liked PS I Like You by Kasie West.

  • Basically Britt says:

    I just ordered Anna and the French Kiss and The Hate U Give and I'm beyond excited to read both of them! I've heard more than amazing things about all of them! Great recommendations! Even though I don't really read a lot of contemporary, I definitely want to pick up some more now


    I always plan to read the Anna series every summer and every time I procratinate. Some very good recommendations, Trina. Thank you.

  • Latin Lector says:

    I have to keep reading the Burn for Burn series! I totally forgot I started that series last year and never picked up the next one.

  • nimrat17 says:

    Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š

  • PukNukBooks says:

    I so wanna read Anna and the french kiss series :))))))

  • sandramiksawrites says:

    All great contemporaries! πŸ˜€

  • Pople BackyardFarm says:

    I haven't read fan girl yet, will have to read that soon πŸ™‚

  • Brittany & Books says:

    in burn for burn they actually each want revenge on a different person, not just the one guy. πŸ™‚

  • Michele A says:

    YA Contemporary…YA….wish that was in the title. I do, however, need to get to IRL and to buy Female of the Species.

  • LucieReads says:

    Isla was my favorite of the Anna and the French Kiss series as well which I think may be an unpopular opinion.
    I've seen the Girl Who Fell around and never really looked into it but I'll definitely be taking a closer look at it now as it sounds like something I'd be interested in

  • randomreader says:

    Anna was the first YA contemporary I had read, I think that was around 2013 when I read it, but that book is so nostalgic for me. Have you read the Upside of Unrequited? I think it's even better than Simon, and I didn't even think that was possible

  • JulianGreystoke says:

    When I'm in the mood for contemporary and romance (which admittedly isn't often) I really like St Anything by Sarah Dessen (sp). It's sweet, slow paced, and the "villain" is delightfully creepy and hate-able. There's a lot of family stuff in that one too.

  • HardbackHaven says:

    I loved Fangirl & THUG! πŸ™‚ they would be on my list of fav contemporaries for sure! Have you read Wonder by RJ Palacio? I think it's considered middle grade since it's following a boy in 5th grade, but it's so good! The movie trailer just came out & I can't wait to see it!

  • lyndsayreads says:

    I felt really similar about Just One Day and have also been scared to reread it for the same reasons. I also read The Female of the Species earlier this year and really really loved it! My favorite contemporary of all-time is This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. IΒ read it in high school and it has stuck with me for a long time. I don't know if I'd feel the same if I reread it now, but it meant so much to me then and it'll always have a place in my heart. Great recommendations, Trina! I'll definitely have to check some of these out.Β πŸ˜€

  • The Sloth Reader says:

    We had a few books in common and the other ones you mentioned are all high on my contemporary list

  • sabritten says:

    I've really enjoyed following your videos for some time now for your recommendations and it's just one of the most satisfying things to hear some of my favorites and be able to say "oh I read that too!" or "I'm so glad someone else liked this so much as well!"

  • Devon Munn says:

    I might suggest the Stories About Melissa series by Bethany Lopez, I haven't read it yet (hence the use of suggest rather recommend) I like the covers and the books have received quite positive reviews

  • Alyssa D'Aniello says:

    you should read aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe if you love complex family dynamics πŸ™‚ it's my fav book & the hype is definitely worth it

  • BookGeekMovieFreak says:

    Oeh I've been meaning to read the burn for burn trilogy, I'm so glad you loved it. I just ordered the girl who fell, party because of you and I can not wait to read it. Great video as always Trina πŸ˜€

  • JustBookishThings says:

    I love Fangirl. I read during the second semester of my Freshman year of college. I was going through a really rough time especially with my anxiety so I really connected to Cath. I absolutely loved it! I'm glad that I read it when I did.

  • Mysteries of Writing says:

    The Girl Who Fell sounds really interesting. I just think it's good to learn about such serious topics through well written books as well. I hope to pick this book up soon some time. Awesome recommendations! πŸ˜€

  • juliababyjen says:

    Have you read the Lara Jean series by Jenny Han? That one is just adorable. I love how cute and naive and sweet the MC, and I also adore her family. The family dynamics in that series is really great too!

  • sandyreadsalot says:

    Fangirl is definitely one of my fave contemporary books! The Female of the Species and Simon vs. are really great ones too!

  • Stubbornly Bookish says:

    I think my favourite contemporary is I'll Give You The Sun be Jandi Nelson. But you can't go wrong with THUG either

  • Megan Koenen says:

    these are so good! <3 great video!

  • McKinlay's Bookshelf says:

    i loved Just One Day so much. i remember needing the second book so badly but there was a really long wait at my library and i was broke until payday. it was a sad week.

    my favorite contemporary is Girl Mans Up.

  • jo anne says:

    my favorite books were also mostly based on the memories and the emotions it brought me at the time that i was reading it πŸ˜­πŸ’•

  • Isabeau's Literary Musings says:

    I love the Anna and the French Kiss series… Isla was my favourite I think!
    The Hate You Give is one I definitely want to read… The concept is so interesting. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

  • Samantha P says:

    How are your shelves organized? I just noticed the Help between Harry potter and the daughter of smoke and bone series

  • Fabulous Book Fiend says:

    I definitely agree with you on the ones that I have read! I have Just One Day but haven't read it yet so you definitely put that back on my radar again! I recently read How To Make Out by Brianna Shrum & loved that-its definitely a one sitting read! I also loved Jess Chunk and the Road Trip to infinity which is own voices if you're looking for something like that! UK contemp that I loved this month would be Boys Don't Knit by TS easton or Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison, if you're looking for something set in the UK!

    Great video!


  • talia f says:

    I remember reading Fangirl and quickly connecting to Cath for the same reason, but, as I look back, I feel that the book kinda dragged a bit. Also, I regret skipping the fanfic snippets

  • bentheoverlord says:

    If you liked Just One Day, you should try Richard Linklater's Before movie trilogy, it has a similar premise and each movie deals with the different aspects of that one life changing day

  • kathleen mulvihill says:

    Great video and awesome book choicesπŸ‘πŸ» just subscribed πŸ€—

  • soulmoonpages says:

    I literally loved Anna and the French Kiss, I really didn't like Lola and the boy next door, I can't get past the third chapter. It's just not as good as the first one. However, you've encouraged me to pick up Isla

  • happycomesfirst says:

    I've been wanting to read The Female of the Species ever since Riley talked about it! I read If I Was Your Girl last month & it's SUCH an important book & the fact that it's an own voices book lends so much authenticity to the story. Simon is definitely on my priority list this year & I can't wait to experience the cuteness! πŸ™‚

  • Mariel B34 says:

    I love the book β€œthe female of the species”!

  • Brooke Dzwonkiewicz says:

    My Amazon books to buy list has grown so much since I subscribed to your channel!

  • Alyssa German says:

    I love your eyes!

  • desertrose0601 says:

    On a similar feeling to Simon, Eleanor and Park also was a contemporary romance that just made me smile. If you haven’t read that one, I definitely recommend it!

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