~ On Hiatus ~

July 15, 2012

My Favorite YA Contemporary Reads!

Hey guys!

I mentioned in my review for Pushing the Limits that Katie McGarry revived my interest in YA Contemporary lit. Well, here are some of the books I read and LOVED ever since I finished that book. Most of them received 4.5 and 5 stars ratings on Goodreads and I recommend them to everyone.



Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

My thoughts right after I finished the first book: 

I'm not sure if this story got to me so much because the health situation hit really, really close to home or because it was, overall, an emotional roller coaster (or maybe both), but it did. It was an intense, emotional, compelling story and I can't even express how much I liked it (and usually I'm not a sucker for heartbreaking stories. Really.) And those must be the most beautiful I love you's I have EVER read!!! I think I stood frozen there staring at the screen for 5 minutes after reading those poems. And the timing? Priceless! *deep breaths* So... yeah. One of those books that require time to recover after reading them. *sigh*

This is the kind of book/series that changes you. It's so raw, emotional, and powerful that leaves you breathless. You cry, you laugh, you cry some more. You want to jump right into the story and hug the characters, be there for them, cheer them on and smile with them. And the writing - oh, the writing! <3 Simply put: A MUST READ!



Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages.

This book has the whole package: fun, wit, love, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, family, drama, mystery, life lessons, Facebook statuses... you name it. :) It's just... perfect. There's something for everyone in it. And I loved it so much, that I read it twice - in one day. Which I never do (even with my all times favorites I take a break before reading them again). I was so WOW-ed by it when I finished it, that I couldn't write a single coherent sentence - really, my heart was beating like crazy and my thoughts were scrambled. I was really affected - but in a good way. So, once again, A MUST READ. 



When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, stalked by her ex’s frat brother, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Her econ professor gives her an email address for Landon, the class tutor, who shows her that she’s still the same intelligent girl she’s always been. As Jacqueline becomes interested in more from her tutor than a better grade, his teasing responses make the feeling seem mutual. There’s just one problem—their only interactions are through email.

Meanwhile, a guy in her econ class proves his worth the first night she meets him. Nothing like her popular ex or her brainy tutor, Lucas sits on the back row, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. At a downtown club, he disappears after several dances that leave her on fire. When he asks if he can sketch her, alone in her room, she agrees—hoping for more.

Then Jacqueline discovers a withheld connection between her supportive tutor and her seductive classmate, her ex comes back into the picture, and her stalker escalates his attention by spreading rumors that they’ve hooked up. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

Wow. Don't even get me started on this one! It was... Magnificent! Another 're-read twice in a day' thing. Another story that melted my heart, turned my brain to mush and left me breathless all at once. Another great life lesson. I won't get into details, but my partners in crime Cristina and Mona @ Bibliophile Mystery did an amazing job at talking about it in their reviews

P.S. If I ended up on a deserted island and I only had to take three books with me, these would be the books I'd take (technically, Slammed has 2, but it's a mini-series, so that doesn't count LOL). And if Goodreads had a 6 stars rating system, they'd all get 6 stars. 

***


Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

A cute book with a great message. There was a lot of buzz around it when it came out two years ago, and I'm sorry I haven't read it sooner, all that praise was worth it. This is the kind of book I'd recommend to someone who doesn't usually read YA contemp - it would be a great ice breaker (and not only because it's smoking hot!).



Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her stepbrother...at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

A companion novel to The Duff. Also, amazing! Kody Keplinger is a very talented young author and she knows how to take the problems young adults have nowadays and turn them into spectacular stories. 



Being the good girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ashton Gray has grown weary of playing the part to please her parents, and to be worthy of the town’s prince charming, Sawyer Vincent. Maybe That’s why she’s found herself spending time with Sawyer’s cousin, Beau, while he’s away for the summer camping with his family. Beau is nothing like her perfect boyfriend. He’s the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, dangerous in ways she’s only day dreamed about, and the one guy she should stay away from.

Beau never envied Sawyer his loving parents, his big nice home, or his position as quarterback. He loves him like a brother. Which is why he's tried everything in his power to keep his distance from Sawyer’s girlfriend. Even if he has loved her since the age of five, Ashton is Sawyer’s girl, so therefore she’s off limits. But when Sawyer leaves for the summer, Ashton, the one girl Beau would move Heaven and Earth for, decides she wants to get into trouble. Stabbing the one person who’s always accepted him and stood by him in the back, is the cost of finally holding Ashton Gray in his arms. Is she worth losing his cousin over?.... Hell Yeah.


These books were so freaking adorable!
The kind of stories that make your toes curl and leave a big goofy smile on your face. 
Ms. Abbi Glines clearly knows her way around YA romance - phew!
My recommendation: read at the beach, with a glass of iced tea close by!
Those boys are HOT!  








Courtesy of watching his mom’s relationships, Sebastian Hawkins knows what girls need to do to get a guy. He has what he considers a PHD in hooking up. When he needs extra cash for a car, Sebastian starts up an online venture as The Hook-up Doctor, to anonymously help girls land the guy of their dreams. Of course, his services don’t offer a happily-ever-after guarantee. He’s seen firsthand getting together never means staying together.

And then he falls in love…

With the last girl he would expect…

Totally not in his game plan.

Suddenly, Sebastian finds himself muddled in the game he’s always prided himself on. He can’t even pick up girls at parties anymore! Why would anyone want to be in love when it turns you into a stuttering, screwed-up, mess with really lame stalker tendencies? Stalking? Totally not his gig.

But the Hook-up Doctor won’t let himself go down easily. He’s always known how to give a girl what she wants and now it’s time to figure out what a boy wants… and he definitely plans on getting it.

Another fun, super cute reads! Great stories, addictive writing, awesome characters, fun lines! <3

My thoughts right after I finished What A Boy Needs (my favorite):

Holly smokes this was a whole new level of AWESOMENESS! <3
I can't write a coherent review right now (you know it always happens when I get emotional over a book;)), but I loved it! Jay's story was beautiful and heartbreaking and powerful and sweet and inspiring and funny at times (I could go on and on here)... I may or may not have cried there at the end and I may or may not be super jealous of these four friends relationship and I may or may not have felt like calling my high school friends in the middle of the night and I may or may not have laughed out loud a few times because Bastian and Jay have the best lines... So, yeah... AWESOMENESS!





Life sucks for orphans Callum Tate and Harper Bailey.

Kicked out of their foster homes because they suffer the 'eighteen disease' with nothing but a hundred dollar check from the government and a pat on the back, they're forced to rely on a system that failed them miserably.

So they sit. They sit inside Social Services, waiting for their social workers to call their names and offer them the miracle they know will never come but they sit anyway because they have nowhere else to go, no other options on their very literal and figurative empty plates.

But as they sit, they notice the other. Although captivated, they each come to the conclusion that life is complicated enough without throwing in a boiling tension that can't ever be acted upon because they're both too busy thinking about where their next meal will come from but when their names are called and both are placed on a year long waiting list for permanent housing, suddenly relying on each other seems like a very viable plan B.

And, oh, how lovely Plan B's can be.

Well, except for the psycho from Harper's past that haunts her and, oh, yeah, there's the little issue that neither of them knows they're in love with the other.

Needless to say, Callum & Harper's life just got a bit more complicated.

“One day, you and I are gonna’ wake up and be alright. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but one day. One day. I promise you.” - Callum Tate

Yet another sweet, intense, heartbreaking book. You can't not be moved by Callum and Harper's story! They are the kind of characters you wish they were real so you could hug them and take them home. They're simply amazing and everyone should learn something from them! Their strength, the ability to move forward, no matter what life throws at them, and to see the good side of everything and smile are incredible - and inspiring! <3 And Ms. Fisher Amelie has such a way with words, that pulls right into the story. There are sweet, fun and romantic (HOT!) moments in it as well! All around,  a great book!




Thomas Eriksson thinks he has it all figured out.

"People crossed the street when they saw me. I’m not really sure why that was. I mean, okay, I might have looked a bit intimidating if I was being truthful with you. I’d changed since New York. New York represented a life that wasn’t real, not truthfully, anyway. No, New York was the “young, immature, in love, idiot" side of Tom. The “Tie-Dye Tom of New York City” didn’t exist anymore. Tie-Dye Tom was dead."

January Mac Lochlainn thinks she’s her own worst enemy.

"I quit Berkeley. Threw away a full scholarship. Plans, you ask? What plans?"

But they’re both wrong.

***

Tom approached me slowly and met me under the light on the stone walkway. He leaned over me so closely, my neck craned to see his face. His expression was one of confusion as he studied my own.

“What is it about you?” he asked me.

I gulped. “What do you mean?” I whispered, closing my eyes and swallowing again, my breaths becoming labored.

He lifted his hand and dragged the backs of his fingers across my jaw so lightly I barely felt them, but they made me feel dizzy all the same.

 “How can you be this extraordinary, January MacLochlainn?” He leaned closer, a look of pure frustration and anger lit his eyes and pressed his lips. “And why couldn’t I have met you before I realized I didn’t want anyone...ever?”

Life for Thomas and January will never be the same again...whether they like it or not.


This is a companion novel to Callum & Harper, but it has a different feel to it. It's still sweet and intense, but a little lighter. And, to be honest, a bit more my style!:)) Because there's lots of humor, wit, sarcasm, easy banter and sexual tension in it. And music!<3 Thomas and January's story is still very beautiful, but not as dramatic and tragic as Callum and Harper's was. I loved the sizzling hot chemistry between them, I loved how their relationship developed and I loved the friendship and the sense of camaraderie and belonging I got from this story! <3




"Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers."

It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.

His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.

Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.

But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

I just finished this one the other day and my mind is still reeling. It got to me on a level I can't exactly put into words right now. *still speechless* I could say that maybe I was enthralled, captivated by the whole story? Because for a few hours there, the outside world faded away completely, and all I could see were colors and wonderful words and all I could hear were lyrics. The writing is so stunning and imaginative and lyrical and.... Wow! Just.... Wow! *sigh* (This is going to sound a little extreme, but the closest I got to feeling like this about a story and a writing style was when I read Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi - the writing kind of has the same lyrical, enchanting quality to it).

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I also recommend:

***

Phew! That's a lot of books, but you have to find the time to read them, you won't regret it!;) 
 *Most of these books are self pubs, if you go to my free/cheap reads page, you'll find links to Amazon for all of them!;)  

Have you read any of these books?  
Any new recommendations for me?:)

xoxo

2 comments:

  1. Hi! I'm over your silence /:).. so... a lot of books to put on my list, but, like always, I'm going on your hand. I read already Easy and Flat Out love - indeed they are very good I mean I liked them a lot. Rest of them I'm sure I'll love them also.
    Kiss

    ReplyDelete
  2. @CCAM Hehe I'm glad you're over my silence! Yay for Easy and Flat-Out Love!<3 I hope you'll like these books as well. ;) *hugs*

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