If you’ve glanced at my blog for longer than ten seconds or know me on social media, you’ll be well aware than I’m a massive fan of contemporary YA. It’s definitely my favourite genre out there. Sure, I love a good fantasy story, and yeah, thrillers are pretty cool too, but nothing makes me want to curl up with a mug of tea and a book on a chilly afternoon quiet like a cute contemporary does.
As we’re halfway through 2019 already (umm, excuse me? where did my year go?), I thought it was the perfect time to share my top five contemporary reads of this year so far! There are still a ton on my TBR that I need to get to before the year’s over, and I’ve got a massive stack on preorder, but these are just a few that I’ve absolutely loved from the first six months of the year.
If you’re looking for a new contemporary novel to pick up, I highly recommend checking out these ones right here!
It’s a well-known saying that books have the power to change us, and I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. Some of the most important things I’ve learned, not only about myself, but also about the world around me, has come from books.
Book have taught me that I’m not alone in whatever I’m going through or whatever I’m feeling. Books have taught me to be brave. Books have taught me how to stand up for myself, and believe in myself, and learn to love myself—flaws and all.
And most importantly, books have helped me realise that I am indeed hella queer, and they’ve helped me not only come to terms with my sexuality, but EMBRACE it. Be PROUD about it. And I think that’s a really important thing. I have YA to thank for that.
Answer me this: when am I not screaming about Aussie YA?! Let’s be real… when am I not screaming about books in general? Or just screaming into the void. Ya know. Waiting for the void to start screaming back at me. BUT ANYWAY. I’m here to talk about books, not my impending existential crisis. SO LET’S DO THAT.
Today, I wanted to speak about some new Aussie releases that I’m excited for! One of them I’ve already read, but the others are on my TBR: three fantastic upcoming #LoveOzYA novels, and one middle grade one! There’s just something so comforting and warm to me about Aussie YA. About falling into a story in a landscape you know and love. It really feels like home, with all that Aussie slang and mentions of snags on the barbie and sangas.
We’re going to start off this recommendation post with a book I actually have read! Yes, I’m as shook as you are! After reading—and adoring—Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky, I was so excited to receive a copy of his latest novel, Promise Me Happy. Heartbreaking #LoveOzYA?! SIGN ME THE HECK UP. And wow, this book took my heart and slowly crushed it… but like, in the best way possible. I HAD FEEEEELINGS. I should have expected the pain this book would inflict upon my soul—it’s about a boy who’s just out of juvie and left with an uncle who doesn’t know or want him—but I was just all naive being like WELL IT SAYS “HAPPY” RIGHT THERE IN THE TITLE. I am but a smol mistaken child.Read More »
I absolutely love YA books that deal with themes of mental health and grief. In fact, some of my favourite books of all time, like We Are the Ants and History is All You Left Me, are about loss and mental illness. There’s something about these books that just feels so raw. So powerful. And I always love picking one up and just escaping the word for an afternoon to get to know these characters that I laugh with, cry over, and who end up leaving a permanent mark on my heart.
So today I thought I’d share my top three mental health YA releases of 2019 so far, as well as some that are on my TBR that you should look out for as well! I hope you like my selections!
I seriously can’t even begin to describe how much I adored this novel. I’m always a fan of YA contemporaries with characters who are living with mental illnesses, characters who are queer, and of course I love a bit of romance—and this book had it all… AND THEN SOME. I had such high expectations for this new #LoveOzYA novel, and I just… sobbed a little bit because it was so perfect?! BRB SCREAMING FROM THE ROOFTOPS ABOUT HOW INCREDIBLE THIS NOVEL IS.
It’s about a girl who’s still grieving the loss of her father, struggling with friendship dramas at school, and questioning her sexuality. Helena Fox’s writing style is just spectacular, and I fell in love with Biz from the very first page. Her grief is written in such a raw, realistic way, and her experiences really resonated with me. It was just BEAUTIFUL. So many people are going to fall in love with this novel just like I did. I’m already looking forward to picking it up again for a reread!Read More »
I’m absolutely OBSESSED with sorting people into Hogwarts Houses. One of my first questions when I’m getting to know someone new is “what’s your Hogwarts House?”, because I really feel like it gives you a snapshot of a person and what they might be like. As a Slytherin, I’m well aware of the bad reputation we have in society (WE’RE NOT ALL EVIL, I SWEAR), but I just loooove finding out how my friends and my colleagues have been sorted. I also love hearing what people’s Myers-Briggs type is, but less people know that than their Hogwarts House. *sigh*
And you know who else I love categorising into Hogwarts Houses? Characters! Especially the characters I write about in my own novels. Right now, I’m working on one with a Hufflepuff whose love interest is a Gryffindor, and I’m having so much fun with it. So today I decided to sort my recent reads into Hogwarts Houses, inspired by Christine @ polandbananasbooks‘s epic video where she did a similar thing! If you’re looking for a new novel to pick up based on your Hogwarts House, I definitely recommend these ones!
I don’t know about you, but my favourite genre of YA at the moment is the romantic contemporary sort. Give me a YA contemporary any day and I’ll love you, but give me a cute, swoony romance? I’ll bake you a cake every day for a year. Give me a queer, cute, swoony romance?! I’LL BUY YOU A PLANET. No joke. Take your pick. Personally, I’d go for Saturn.
So today I wanted to share reviews for some of the romantic YA books I’ve read recently, as well as provide you with a list of all the upcoming cute contemporaries you simply must add to your TBR. Your bank account may be over in the corner quietly sobbing, but hey, sacrifices have to be made. Be warned that your heart might also be sacrificed to the bookish gods because of all the feeeeeels. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Always be prepared to have your heart ripped out when your OTP is having relationship problems.
2019 is SLAYING with all the amazing new releases – both ones that have just come out and those that are upcoming! I mean, can y’all SLOW DOWN FOR A SEC? Let my bank account and I catch up, and while you’re at it, please add 15 hour to each day so I have time to devour all of these exciting fantasy books.
SO TODAY, I’m going to be sharing just five 2019 fantasy releases you need on your TBR! I’ve only read a couple of them, and the others are on my TBR, so I hope I get to read them ASAP and just avoid allllll my other responsibilities. You know how it is. Oh, and I got to chat to the lovely Gita Trelease about her YA fantasy novel, Enchantée. Check it out!
IS THIS NOT THE MOST GORGEOUS BOOK YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE?! Seriously. My eyes are in love. And just when I thought I couldn’t love this book even more, then I read it. And wow — I instantly knew this would be one I’d just devour. I mean, it’s set in 1789 Paris, which is an instant star just for setting alone. The writing was flawless. The world was intriguing. The characters were fun and the banter was solid gold and it was just such an enjoyable reading experience.
Okay, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you… my favourite character in this book maaaay have been the dress that feasted on blood? And was magical? WHO CAN BLAME ME, I WANT A VAGUELY MURDEROUS DRESS THAT LOVES BLOOD. What could be better? Okay, well maybe Camille came pretty close to being my favourite as well. She can do petty magic to transform scrap metal into money, but when her magic stops working properly, she has to venture into the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette for something a little more lucrative.Read More »
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love books with great characters and even better representation – and that includes books with plus-size protagonists! WHICH WE NEED MORE OF, PLEASE. But I’ve been lucky enough to have read a few really amazing, body positive books recently, and I think these are all ones you should have on your TBR if you haven’t read them already!
THIS WAS SUCH A CUTE, SUMMERY BOOK! Jenna is thoroughly awesome, so it only made sense her book would be the same, but gosh. It was perfect! What I Like About Me is a summer romance about the ups and downs of teenage friendships, the awkwardness of crushes, and the importance of learning to love yourself and your body. I absolutely loved the authenticity of Maisie’s voice and it felt like she was speaking through the pages and directly to me. She was such a fun, fierce character who I loved getting to know, and I’m sure I’ll be rereading this gorgeous novel countless more times. SO MUCH LOVE FOR MAISIE AND HER FRIENDS.Read More »
Two months into 2019 and I’m pretty sure I maaaay have just found the three most important books of the year (well, so far at least). This year has kicked off with SO MANY AMAZING NEW RELEASES that it’s hard to keep track of all of them – but if you’re looking for some important ones to add to your TBR, you’ve come to the right place!
I seriously didn’t know how Angie Thomas was going to be able to write another novel that was just as incredible as The Hate U Give — it’s a heck of a lot of pressure to live up to, when it basically hasn’t left #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for over 100 weeks. But WOW. I don’t know how it’s possible for me to love On the Come Up even more than her PERFECT FIRST BOOK BABY, BUT I DID. IT WAS FREAKING PHENOMENAL. And this is coming from someone who thought it would be kind of meh because I’m not a fan of rap. LET ME TELL YOU: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A FAN OF RAP TO APPRECIATE AND LOVE THIS BOOK. (warning: you may develop a sudden urge to listen to rap once you’re done.)Read More »
YA is often famous for particular tropes or subject matter taking over our shelves in a rotating fashion. When I first started reading YA, dystopia was all the rage – think The Hunger Games and Divergent and The Maze Runner. We also had a pretty good run of vampires for a while, with Twilight and Vampire Academy and House of Night. You get the idea. We love a good theme.
I don’t know about you, but 2018 definitely felt like the Year of the Water Creatures / Mermaids. We had Sea Witch and To Kill a Kingdom, and it felt like those books were everywhere. But today I want to talk about some particular things I think are making a comeback in 2019 / 2020 that I’m excited about! Ahh! Books!