Top Twelve YA Contemporaries I Adore And Wish People Talked About More

Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I count down my top ten choices on a particular theme. This weekly event is hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Top Twelve YA Contemporaries I Adore And Wish People Talked About More.

Today’s selection of books have been listed in no particular order.

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Mallory hasn’t left the house in sixty-seven days – since the day her dad left. She attends her classes via webcam, rarely leaves her room (much to her brother’s chagrin), and spends most of her time watching The X-Files or chatting with the always obnoxious BeamMeUp on New Mexico’s premier alien message board.

But when she’s shockingly nominated for homecoming queen, her life takes a surprising turn. She slowly begins to open up to the world outside. And maybe if she can get her popular jock neighbor Brad Kirkpatrick to be her homecoming date, her classmates will stop calling her a freak.




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In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken…




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When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off — and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia’s graffiti tags, You’re Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.




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Sneak out. Make out. Rock out.

Riley and her best guy friend, Reid, have made a pact: they’ll help each other pursue their respective crushes, make something happen, and document the details in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over a girl’s heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, the guy she’s been obsessed with forever. His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But between a chance meeting with a fellow musician in a record store and a brief tryst with a science-geek-turned-stud – not to mention Ted’s own tentative attentions – cute guys are suddenly popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! As their love lives go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid’s pact may prove to be more than they bargained for.




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“Just let it go.”

That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life — her dad most of all — to leave her alone.

Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.

Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth?




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On October fifteenth, everything changed. That was the day that Morgan tried to do something kind ― and inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy.

Before, Morgan loved the beach and the smell of the ocean breeze. Before, Morgan competed on the school swim team and savored the rush she would get from being underwater.

Now, Morgan can’t move on. She is unable to even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

The only person she interacts with besides her family is Brenda, her psychologist. “Breathe,” Brenda tells her, but Morgan doesn’t feel like she can.

Before Morgan can step outside, she must find the courage to forgive – first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and finally herself.




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Three days after learning of her brother Finn’s death, Honor receives his last letter from Iraq. Devastated, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously sets off to California to fulfill it. At the last minute, she’s joined by Rusty, Finn’s former best friend.

Rusty is the last person Honor wants to be with — he’s cocky and obnoxious, just like Honor remembers, and she hasn’t forgiven him for turning his back on Finn when he enlisted. But as they cover the dusty miles together in Finn’s beloved 1967 Chevy Impala, long-held resentments begin to fade, and Honor and Rusty struggle to come to terms with the loss they share.

As their memories of Finn merge to create a new portrait, Honor’s eyes are opened to a side of her brother she never knew — a side that shows her the true meaning of love and sacrifice.




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What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying — only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs — however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?




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When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.




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When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.




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What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.

Almost.

It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what is best left to become a memory.




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Ten years ago, Braden was given a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in his father’s upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four mile per hour pitch already has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.




Now it’s YOUR turn! What are some books that you love and feel don’t get enough attention? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

12 responses to “Top Twelve YA Contemporaries I Adore And Wish People Talked About More”

  1. These all sound so good! You’re Welcome, Universe is new to me. It sounds super intriguing. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. I’ve read and enjoyed a few of these and have many of them on my TBR! What a wonderful list! 🙂
    Chrissi Reads recently posted…Ten Gems In Mental Health LiteratureMy Profile

  3. I haven’t read a single one of these, so they are all going on my TBR as they sound awesome.
    Cora @ Tea Party Princess recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #97My Profile

  4. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Conviction, and seeing it make your list only strengthens my resolve to pick it up when I spot it in a bookstore here in the Philippines.
    Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome recently posted…3 Practical Ways to Get More Reading DoneMy Profile

  5. Dahlia Adler says:

    Looooooved SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL and CONVICTION so, so much – like, two of my all-time fave YAs so much.

    If you haven’t read UP TO THIS POINTE by Jennifer Longo, I’d think you would love it and I definitely think it deserves more attention!

  6. Louise says:

    Love and Other Alien Experiences sounds adorable!

  7. All of these look amazing! I need to check them out on GR. Can I just say how amazing your blog is?!?! OMG i’m obsessed!! Great job seriously!!

    My TTT:Hidden Gems in YA
    Jessica | ReadingwithJessica recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday | Hidden Gems in YAMy Profile

  8. Carmen says:

    The Museum of Heartbreak was on my summer TBR, but I didn`t get the chance to read. I might try again in Spring when I`m in a contemporary mood again.
    Carmen recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems in YAMy Profile

  9. Jo says:

    The only one of these I’ve heard of is Side Effects May Vary but it’s on my TBR.
    Jo recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #122My Profile

  10. Sam@WLABB says:

    You have 3 books I loved on this list, and The Museum of Heartbreak was on my gems list earlier this year (so good, right?). Love and Other Alien Experiences earned a spot on my favorites shelf. I just adored that book to shreds! You have a bunch of book I have been meaning to read (and I own!), so I was glad to see them get your endorsement. Great list!
    Sam@WLABB recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden YA Contemporary GemsMy Profile

  11. Joli says:

    I have almost all of the books on my shelves. Still unread. I guess I better get to it.

  12. I love a good contemporary, but I haven’t read any of these. I can’t wait to dive in! I have Side Effects May Vary, so I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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