Recent Reads-- With Reviews!

I've been reading one YA Contemporary after another these past two months and what I've found is that it's true:  Many contemporary novels for teens deal with friendship issues.  And boy issues.  So, are those plots overdone?  Or are they just what happens to be realistic in the world of Teen? 

Without adding any paranormal elements into my own contemporary novel (with friend and boy and parent issues), what I need to do is this:  make my MC different.  Make her a page-turning MC.  Make her the difference.  How can I get the reader to care about her when they've already read about a dozen other MCs with the same dilemmas in their lives?

(I so hope you are NOT expecting an answer here.  Not today anyways!)

Because those are the questions circling round and round in my brain these days.

So while I contemplate and frustrate and try not to regurgitate (plot lines)...I'll share these three novel reviews with you.  I hope you have time to enjoy one or all of them! (Er, not just the reviews, but the actual books!)

Getting Caught

by Mandy Hubbard and Cyn Balog

This story is about two girls who used to be the best of friends, but due to a misunderstanding, become enemies.  Not speaking is beyond these two.  They take no longer being friends to a level that is page-turning and funny--at the same time that it's pitiful and saddening.  They are horrible to each other, but it's worth it to see how they up the stakes for each prank they pull to make the other miserable. 

The book is told from alternating POVs and I loved getting inside each girl's head to find how they really felt about their lives and their ex-friend.  There's a wonderful romance blossoming for one of the girls too, and I don't know about you, but it's love that makes the world go round.  I mean makes pages turn.  This was a fast read and even though it centered around a friendship gone bad, the plot was uniquely done as were each of the characters' voices.

Perfect You
by Elizabeth Scott

The MC of this book has to deal with it all--parent issues, an ex-best friend who can't stop breaking her heart, and trying to figure out if the "hot, everyone wants him boy" is really interested in her or not.  Yup.  Another YA contemporary novel.  See?  It can be done in oh so many ways! 

The unique aspect of this book is in the family situation.  Her dad quits his lucrative, reliable job to live his dream--and sell vitamins in a stand at the mall.  What's worse, she has to help him every spare chance she gets.  All the while, her ex-best friend is living it up with the most popular girls in school and ignoring her. 

I liked that this book showed the reality of how everyone has their own struggles, their own agendas and most times it's hard to make it all mesh.  Nobody can make the others understand.  There won't always be a happily ever after.  Although, some parts of her life will work out and leave you saying ahhhh as you close the book for the final time.

This was another fast read and another book that made me say....sugar, maybe the long-time best friend gone bad because they've grown apart and now one is super mean and nasty and the other needs to get a backbone thing is all been there done that.....  Sigh.

width: 100%
by Chelsea Fine

First Lines:

I’m late for English.
This is not uncommon. I have a tendency to doddle at lunch. ‘Doddle’ is a word my mom would use when she wanted to call me lazy. I never use it out loud, but I use it a lot in my head.


Each chapter alternates between the POVs of Sophie and Carter.  Their lives are NOT typical.  Each wears a mask at school, never letting the other kids know what kind of lives they lead at home.  Carter supports his mother who has fallen apart after the devastation his abusive father left behind.  Sophie is raising her brothers and sister on her own.  The two are neighbors and the only happy time either have is the time they spend on her porch swing each night. 

The two are best friends who rely on each other and I fell in love with each of them while inside the pages of their stories!


  1. I don't mind reading about the same problems. The difference is in the writing. How skilled is the writer in making me care about the characters, in bringing out unique details in the world, and in letting me know how to create tension.

    Not easy!

  2. I don't read too much contemporary, but these sound good. That's a good question you raised. Not sure of the answer. Laura's response is good.

  3. Getting Caught sounds a bit like Getting Revenge on Laura Wood, only a dual POV. I'll check it out! :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  4. These sound really great! I'm going to check out Getting Caught. I love a good contemporary and you gave us some great choices, here1

  5. Thanks for the great read suggestions!

  6. I haven't read much contemporary lately, so thanks for the suggestions!

  7. I enjoyed those first lines from "Sophie and Certer" :-) Interesting how two of those covers are quite similar!

  8. Sophie and Carter...I love when people read indie books that they love and recommend. It's always a crap shoot so I take these sorts of reviews VERY seriously. :)

  9. I read more YA fantasy/paranormal than YA contemporary. The Lipstick Laws was about two girls being mean to one another, but more like the movie Mean Girls.

    When I was in high school, friendship did mean everything.

  10. Thanks for the book reviews. I'm always happy to have someone else's opinion before diving into the unknown.

    And good luck on your own WIP. I have a list on my blog of traits that make characters likable--a list I got from award winning author Martine Leavitt--if you think it might help.


  11. I haven't read any of these, but I've come across these books. I'd love to read them. Thanks for these suggestions. I'm always looking for great contemporary.

  12. Have I told you how much I love you, Christy?? I totally do!! Go contemporary (and your love for it!).

    And I got the sample of Sophie and Carter from Amazon on my Kindle a couple months ago. Totally getting it for my next purchase!

  13. yay! glad i could help some of you out! julie--i'm totally checking out that link asap. my shelby (my mc) needs it!!!! i want people to like her and sympathize with her and to read her story! erica--awwww! you're the one who re-turned my head to contemporary. it's what i loved as a teen so it was so much more natural for me to write it than the other stuff i couldn't even name a genre for! :0)christy


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