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Just Contemporary!

Here at YA Highway, we read, write and adore young adult books in every genre. We're also aware contemporary YA gets less publicity nowadays that higher-concept genres like paranormal and speculative.

That's why we're excited to feature Just Contemporary, a month-long celebration of contemporary YA from book bloggers Ashley (Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing) and Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit). The event runs all through November on both girls' sites, and will include author interviews, contests, and other sorts of contemp-centric revelry.

As an author of contemporary YA, I wanted to know what inspired Ashley and Shannon to host Just Contemporary. In their own words:

Contemporary has been my favorite genre since I was old enough to realize that there was such a thing as genres.

While it can be fun to disappear into a fantasy or race through a dystopian, Contemporary will always be the genre that most speaks to me, most captures me. Contemporary, when written well, is so unflinchingly real and honest, so completely full of emotion that it's nearly impossible to pull myself out of the story, to remember that these characters aren't actually real, and a small piece of my soul mourns the fact that I will never know these people in real life.

I decided to host this event because I feel that Contemporary as a genre is often overlooked or brushed aside, but if given a chance, Contemporary can be life changing. I think that there is something within the Contemporary genre for every reader. I've recommended books to those- Contemp just isn't for me- nonbelievers before and every single one of them has gotten back to me about at least one of those Contemporary books and told me that I might have just changed their minds. There's no better feeling, and I'm hoping that this event can reach even more.

While I read (mostly) all genres, contemporary is always the one that I fall back to simply because it's so real.

The stories focus on characters, their emotions, their families, their relationships - it's such a genuine focus on life itself that I find myself always coming back to it. My very favorite thing in a book is watching a character develop throughout the story, and contemporary does it the best time and time again. It's important to me to spotlight contemporary because it's often a genre skipped over - and many times when someone gives it a chance they end up finding a new favorite or learning something about themselves.

Thanks so much, girls!

Everyone else: What's your favorite contemporary YA novel?

Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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  1. In answer to your question: All of them.


    Happy to see a celebration of contemp, definitely my favorite genre!

  2. Contemporary is my favourite YA genre for all these reasons.
    Plus, I love the real deal.

    I've got so many faves. Some are Before I Die, Ballads of Suburbia, The Sky Always Hears me And The Hills Don't Mind, Before I Fall, Anna And The French Kiss, The Sky Is Everywhere etc.

  3. Thank you for spotlighting us! I'm SO excited for this event! :D

    @Bee- YAY for Ballads! One of my very favorites! And, Stephanie has an interview going up later in the event! :)

  4. Probably my favourite book of all-time is "Jellicoe Road" by Melina Marchetta, which is contemporary, and I'm also a huge fan of "North of Beautiful" by Justina Chen Headley.

  5. Yay! I read all genres, but contemporary is my favorite and what I'm usually drawn to. Some of my favorites have already been named: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, and Melina Marchetta's books. I have to add Laurie Halse Anderson to the list.

  6. I loved CURES FOR HEARTBREAK by Margo Rabb. If you haven't read it, do it now!!! Seriously though, so good.

  7. I love John Green's books. I haven't read as much contemporary YA yet, but this summer I really enjoyed Moonglass by Jessi Kirby.

    Bee: several of your choices are on my list to read!

  8. I love Like Mandarin ;) And John Green's books and Stephanie Perkins's books.

  9. My favourite contemporary books would have to be Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road. It was amazing! I love contemporary. <3

  10. My favourite genre too, I'm so excited for Contemporary Month! Hehe, i feel unoriginal, but my fave contemp is still and will probably always be Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta :) I adore John Green and Courtney Summers' books as well!

  11. I have too many to list, but I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS you have no idea. Contemporary YA is my favorite!

  12. Oh good. I don't think contemporary very often gets its due. There are lots of great contemporary authors but recently I read and really enjoyed Emily Wing Smith's "Back When You Were Easier To Love."

  13. thank becca! :)

    count me among those who love Jellicoe Road best. still my very favorite!

  14. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I don't actually read a lot of contemp YA, but I love getting my teeth into such raw emotion.

  15. Yay! I'm very excited for this because comtemp YA is my absolute favorite genre. I have SO many favorites...Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Sky is Everywhere...the list goes on!

  16. Some of my favorites have been THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger, THE SUMMER OF SKINNY DIPPING by Amanda Howells, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by AS King, TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler...and the list goes on.

    Contemp YA I'm looking forward to: CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally, SHOOTING STARS by Allison Rushby and BREAKING BEAUTIFUL by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (course I am biased as those are all my clients)

    still, love this contemp YA thing! CHEERS!


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Item Reviewed: Just Contemporary! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard