Several weeks ago I was reading Ten Cent Notes, which is run by Jordyn, when I came across this contemporary YA survey. While I haven't read as much contemporary as Jordyn or some other bloggers who claim it as their favorite genre, it was one of my preferred genre and I read a decent amount of it. With that said, here are my responses to the survey.
Favorite YA contemporary novel?
Being as indecisive as I am, I happen to think this question is evil. Since I've read so a handful of contemporaries, I'm dividing my answer into two categories: series and standalones.
I've loved The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot for the longest time, and for me, it's all about Mia. I love that Cabot created a girl who may not be perfect, but who has her own interests and beliefs and stands up for them. I think those are the kinds of characters teens need to read about.
I also adore The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, although I have yet to read 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows and Sisterhood Everlasting. Brashares is an author who understands teenagers exceptionally well. She understands the life events that matter to them and the range of emotions that comes with being that age. There's even one scene in the first book where she describes a feast of junk food the girls eat, and it's totally something I still want to eat, because my weakness for junk food do not die with my teenage years.
And of course, no one will be surprised by my mention of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I love all of the characters and the romances are incredibly cute and sweet. Plus, Perkins draws her settings so richly that now I want to go to Paris and San Francisco.
Definitely Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. At first, Sam seems like a totally unlikable character, but she turns out to be amazingly introspective and thoughtful. Oliver's writing in this book is simply beautiful.
I've also adored The Fault In Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, both of which are by John Green. What can I say about these books that hasn't already been said? I think Looking for Alaska is an incredibly well-done debut and based on The Fault In Our Stars, Green keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to read his other books that I've missed.
Lastly, I have to mention Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, which is decidedly one of the most beautifully written books I read in 2011. If you haven't picked this one up yet, please do.
Contemporary YA that deserves more recognition?
I have to say What Comes After by Steve Watkins. Although this didn't end up on my favorites of 2011 list, I've been remiss in not recommending it to more people. While I want my contemporary books to be good, I also think books that are different deserve a lot of credit as well. Iris is a really enjoyable character, but as an animal lover, I was fascinated by the farm setting of this novel as well.
That's a toss-up between If I Stay and Second Chance Summer, but If I Stay probably takes the cake. The scene between Mia and her grandfather is gutting.
Cutest contemporary YA you've ever read?
The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. I complete adore Oliver and the concept behind this book.
What contemporary YA made you feel all the feels?
Again, If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Although this book was gripping and I read it in a sitting, I initially felt conflicted over how Forman ended the story. Plus, there was sadness and hopefulness along the way. I'd say that covers quite a few of the feels.
Who is your favorite character from a contemporary YA?
In terms of love interests, Kent from Before I Fall and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. Kent is an incredibly sweet character, and I loved seeing how he interacted with Sam. As for St. Clair, he's a little bit louder and snarkier.
It's really hard to choose for females. Mia from The Princess Diaries sometimes drove me a little nuts, but I still love her.
What character do you relate to the most?
Tibby from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In some ways, she frustrated me, because she can avoid problems to an extent. However, I think that the problems she experiences and the way she deals with them is incredibly realistic.
What contemporary YA surprised you the most?
Second Chance Summer. I had no idea that it would be as good or amazingly readable as it was.
Why do you enjoy the contemporary fiction genre?
As many people who read my blog know, I try to read a bit of every genre. I love contemporary because there is so much to connect with in these books: characters, situations, conflicts, emotions, etc. Contemporary can remind you of emotions you once felt, good or bad, or make you think about the perfect lake house, or you can meet characters who remind you of crazy things you once did.
What contemporary YA are you looking forward to that is being released this year?
I am incredibly excited for are Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. I just love the cover of that book and want to try it, even though the reviews have been mixed. Since 2013 is approaching, I'd also like to list Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Use for Boys by Eric Lorraine Scheidt, The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler, The Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg, and This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Yes, it's going to be a great year for the contemporary YA novel.