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6 YA Contemporary Book Recommendations

Natalie is a bookworm with a penchant for romance, adventure, and intrigue who loves to share her thoughts on popular novels with the world.


"All the Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Why You Should Read It

All the Bright Places is a beautifully written story with elements of mental health, romance and teen angst. This book has many alluring quotable lines that makes you want to live life the fullest and gives you insight on how to find those bright places when you are in dark times. The two main characters were easy to sympathize with as we view the world in their point of views. Finch's and Violet's romance was not only addicting to read about, but was also a great friendship as they helped each other try and survive in their hard times.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.


"All This Time" by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott

Kyle and Kimberly have been the perfect couple all through high school, but when Kimberly breaks up with him on the night of their graduation party, Kyle’s entire world upends—literally. Their car crashes and when he awakes, he has a brain injury. Kimberly is dead. And no one in his life could possibly understand.

Until Marley. Marley is suffering from her own loss, a loss she thinks was her fault. And when their paths cross, Kyle sees in her all the unspoken things he’s feeling.

As Kyle and Marley work to heal each other’s wounds, their feelings for each other grow stronger. But Kyle can’t shake the sense that he’s headed for another crashing moment that will blow up his life as soon as he’s started to put it back together.

And he’s right.

Why You Should Read It

If you looking for a book that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, this is it. I cannot tell you how many times I had to close my book and process it before continue reading. The writing flow is easy and the pacing is quick making you want to read the whole thing then and there. This book has morals have dealing with grief and how yourself can move on and help others.


"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Why You Should Read It

If this is your first time hearing about this book then you must live under a rock. This is a very hyped book and I must say that the hype is deserved. While reading be prepared to smile, laugh and cry. Experience is best with a box of tissues beside you. The Fault In Our Stars teaches its readers that life isn't always fair, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't live life to the fullest ability because of it.

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"Breathless" by Jennifer Niven

Before: With graduation on the horizon, budding writer Claudine Henry is making plans: college in the fall, become a famous author, and maybe—finally—have sex. She doesn't even need to be in love. Then her dad drops a bombshell: he's leaving Claude's mother. Suddenly, Claude's entire world feels like a lie, and her future anything but under control.

After: Claude's mom whisks them away to the last place Claude could imagine nursing a broken heart: a remote, mosquito-infested island off the coast of Georgia. But then Jeremiah Crew happens. Miah is a local trail guide with a passion for photography—and a past he doesn't like to talk about. He's brash and enigmatic, and even more infuriatingly, he's the only one who seems to see Claude for who she wants to be. So when Claude decides to sleep with Miah, she tells herself it's just sex, nothing more. There's not enough time to fall in love, especially if it means putting her already broken heart at risk.

Compulsively readable and impossible to forget, Jennifer Niven's luminous new novel is an insightful portrait of a young woman ready to write her own story.

Why You Should Read It

This is a story that teenagers need to read, and the book that adults wished they had when they were teens. Breathless explores all about first loves, first times and teens emotions when their parents are going through divorce. The heated romance makes you eagerly turn the page, the island vibes makes you want to go into the page.


"Instant Karma" by Marissa Meyer

Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her.

Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.

When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, she begins to uncover truths about baby otters, environmental upheaval, and romantic crossed signals—not necessarily in that order. Her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed, love and hate . . . and fate.

Why You Should Read It

An enemies-to-lovers with karaoke, good music taste and insights about ocean animals such as baby seals? This book has it all. Marissa Meyer takes you to a whole new place within this fun beach location with realist character features (As opposed to everyone being the most attractive person ever) Addictive writing pact with cute romance and life lessons to take to heart.


"Five Feet Apart" by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Why You Should Read It

Very endearing and engaging book which really makes you relish in small things that you hadn't thought to take granted of. This novel really makes you think about if you truly are living life to the fullest or are you simply just existing in small moments. Definitely a story that makes you want to try adventurous things and hug your friends.

© 2021 Natalie Zappa

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