Top Ten Contemporary YA Book Themes

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and features a new top ten list each week. This week is a top-ten-freebie week so I’ve decided to write about some favorite contemporary book themes.

Maybe it’s because summer is approaching but all I want to read lately is contemporary, and luckily there are a lot of interesting titles on the horizon. For this list I’m focusing on books I’ve already read though it was tempting to list out all the ones I’m looking forward to. This list turned out to be a much more daunting undertaking than I’d thought actually – mainly because there are so many themes to choose from – enough to add a part two sometime!

Listed in no particular order, here are my top 10 contemporary YA books by theme:

1. Road Trip – Since I just finished In Honor by Jessi Kirby, it’s a road trip book that’s fresh in my memory. It has great characters and is about family, grieving, and love, with a new adult vibe. And another favorite road trip book that is my go-to recommendation is Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. I don’t know what it is about road trip books – but I love ’em.

2. New Adult – The New Adult category features older YA characters, those that are college age. Would love to see more of these types of books, and one I really liked is Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. The quirky characters, romance, family drama, and unforgettable dialogue make this one a stand out.

3. Novels in Verse – The first book that sold me on verse novels is The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder. The story takes place over 24 hours and involves two people who meet the day before something big happens in each of their lives. It is gorgeously written and made me a believer in verse novels! I want to read all of Schroeder’s books now.

4. Music – So many choices here, and in fact I’ve already done a top 10 music book list. But Zero by Tom Leveen is one I read recently that centers around music as well as art, and is a good coming of age/ new adult type book. It features a very crush-worthy love interest too.

5. Humor – Sometimes you just want to laugh, and I thought Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin was very funny. If you like embarrassing moments like high school play mishaps or funny school photos give this one a try.

6. Illness – Though books dealing with sickness and terminal illness sound depressing, many times I’ve found these types of books very uplifting and positive. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green would fit the bill, but one less popular choice that I also fell for is The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder. It is a touching, magical story with funny moments and romance.

7. PTSD – There are two books about PTSD coming out in June, and both deal with PTSD. One book is Miracle by Elizabeth Scott, an author who could have had her own dedicated book theme post. Miracle is an intense and satisfying read about a plane crash survivor. And another book about PTSD that I just started reading is Something Like Normal by Trish Doller.

8. RomanceΒ  – One of the best at writing romance is Stephanie Perkins, and from the Paris setting to the swoon worthy love interest, Anna and the French Kiss is not to be missed.

9. Love Triangle – The Summer trilogy by Jenny Han features one of my favorite love triangles, and it’s the story of a girl torn between two brothers. Try not to let the main characters name (Belly) put you off though.

10. ArtThe last book on the list is one of my favorite contemporary books of all time, and that is Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. It’s another Older YA/New Adult type book; it takes place over 24 hours and features the arts in the story. Glass blowing, poetry, and graffiti art all add a lovely creative element to this breathtaking read.

What is your favorite contemporary book? I would love to know!


23 thoughts on “Top Ten Contemporary YA Book Themes

  1. This is a great list, I’m loving the genres you chose! I’ve heard about some really great things about Miracle but have yet to read it. And I’d forgotten about Flat-Out Love, I’d heard about it awhile back and wanted to read it – thanks for reminding me! I read In Honor a few weeks ago and absolutely fell in love with it, her trip with Rusty is absolutely lovely and perfect.

    My Top Ten [Book Things I Want To Do]

    1. Ashley, read Flat-Out Love right now. You won’t regret it.

    2. Lucy says:

      Hope you enjoy Flat-Out Love when you get the chance to read it. Glad you enjoyed In Honor too- I totally agree their journey is lovely πŸ™‚

  2. tinalinatime says:

    Great list Lucy! I’ve never thought of breaking contemporary down into smaller mini genres. πŸ™‚

  3. I just received Graffiti Moon for review and i am super excited to read it. Guess what? It just got pushed up to #1 on my review reading pile. πŸ˜€

    1. Lucy says:

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of Graffiti Moon! Glad you have a copy on hand.

  4. This was a great post! Some of the books you mention I have read and loved and some have been added to my tbr list. My fave genre is contemp ya, so this was a very useful Top Ten.

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks! Contemp is fast becoming a favorite genre of mine too. Will have to check out more reviews on your blog for some new recs!

  5. Lori says:

    I LOVE your list! I really adore road trip books. Amy & Roger is one of my favs and In Honor was so good! Have you read Saving June? It fits the road trip and music theme!

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks, Lori! I adored Saving June too. Yes it absolutely deserves a mention – I was sad to leave books like that one off the list. Road trip and music books are my fave πŸ™‚

  6. BermudaOnion says:

    I’ll have to look for The Day Before – I love novels in verse!

    1. Lucy says:

      I think you’ll like it! Novels in verse are wonderful, aren’t they?

  7. Yep, you and I share the same tastes (Anna & The French Kiss, Jenny Han’s Summer trilogy, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour to name a few). I just added Freshman Year and…, Flat Out Love to my list (In Honor is already there after your previous post). I’ll never catch up….! πŸ˜‰

    1. Lucy says:

      And there’s so many Contemp authors I’m still catching up on (Melina Marchetta, Sarah Dessen, John Green, etc) as well as new releases this year. You and me both will never catch up πŸ™‚

  8. Candice says:

    Summers are most DEFINITELY the time for some contemp reading! I don’t know what it is about summer that makes me want to throw off fantasy and paranormal and go out and read some chick lit or drama or… well… any of these books on your list! I’ll totally have to check out some of these this summer… ANNNNND maybe reread Anna and the French Kiss πŸ™‚

  9. Great list. Ahhh, road trips πŸ™‚

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve also been more in the mood for contemps and romance lately… I think I want to read just about every one on this list, especially those featuring New Adults. I have the impression that they’re a little edgier (at least that’s my impression from reading Sloppy Firsts and the very beginnings of Please Ignore Vera Dietz) and sometimes I need things a little less sugar-coated!

  11. beckireads says:

    Great list. Loved the categories you picked.

  12. VeganYANerds says:

    This is such a fantastic post, Lucy because like you, I love comtemp YA! You’ve listed books that I’ve read and want to read and reminded me of a few that I still need to buy!

  13. Nicola says:

    Brilliant list! I had never heard the term ”New Adult” before this month but it’s a category I’m really excited about since I myself am a ”New Adult”! I have Flat Out Love on my Kindle. I’ll have to read it soon. πŸ˜€

  14. Just stumbled onto you from “Grown Up YA.” What a prolific reviewer you are! I’ve read every single one of those except for “Freshman Year,” so obviously I think you have great taste. And we’re big fans of “Flat-Out Love,” and actually had Jessica Park pick her five favorite books for us last year:

  15. I’m so excited verse novels made your list (and vampires didn’t!). I have a verse novel coming out next year so I take an unnatural interest.

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