Contemporary 2

The books found here are contemporary in nature (life-like; realistic).  Books in this category, doesn’t seem to have an overlying or prominent sub theme.  The central focus is about identity and “coming of age.”  Being yourself or finding who you are, and understanding what life means to you – to others.  What others mean to you – to each other – to the world as a whole.

Books are listed by author’s last name.  A series will be counted as one entry.  The summary of the first book will be the only summary given as later book summary may include spoilers.  Titles are hyper-linked to their Goodreads page.

PREVIOUS PAGE (A-L)

morgan MATSON

Second Chance SummerSecond Chance Summer

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.  Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.  As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

norah McCLINTOCK

Close to the HeelSeven: Close to the Heel (book 5)

(Note:  Part of a series called “Seven”, though none of the books features the same main characters (though I think they are related – brothers/cousins).  Each book in the series is also by a different author.)

No one is more surprised than Rennie to hear that his late grandfather, whom he hardly knew, has left a mission for him to fulfill. Rennie is to fly to Iceland and deliver a message from beyond the grave, but when he gets there, nothing is simple or straightforward. For one thing, Brynja, the teenage daughter of the family he’s staying with, is downright hostile. Her father Einar, who is to be Rennie’s guide in Iceland, is preoccupied with looking after his elderly father-in-law, an old friend of Rennie’s grandfather. Bored and a little bit annoyed, Rennie explores the town and becomes aware that the family is dealing with more than their grief over Brynja’s mother’s death the year before. Before he realizes what is happening, his curiosity puts Rennie in grave danger, with no one to trust and no one to save him except himself.

liz MOORE

HeftHeft

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur—a plea for help—that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives.

meg mitchell MOORE

So Far AwaySo Far Away

Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents’ ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. Adrift, confused, she is a girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to either neglect or despise her. Her salvation arrives in an unlikely form: Bridget O’Connell, an Irish maid working for a wealthy Boston family. The catch? Bridget lives only in the pages of a dusty old 1920s diary Natalie unearthed in her mother’s basement. But the life she describes is as troubling – and mysterious – as the one Natalie is trying to navigate herself, almost a century later.   I am writing this down because this is my story. There were only ever two people who knew my secret, and both are gone before me.  Who was Bridget, and what became of her?  Natalie escapes into the diary, eager to unlock its secrets, and reluctantly accepts the help of library archivist Kathleen Lynch, a widow with her own painful secret: she’s estranged from her only daughter. Kathleen sees in Natalie traces of the daughter she has lost, and in Bridget, another spirited young woman at risk.  What could an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? As the troubles of a very modern world close in around them, and Natalie’s torments at school escalate, the faded pages of Bridget’s journal unite the lonely girl and the unhappy widow – and might even change their lives forever.

lauren MYRACLE

ShineShine

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

jandy NELSON

I'll Give You the SunI’ll Give You the Sun

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

lauren OLIVER

Panic

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.  Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.  Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.  For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

amy REED

Style: "Porcelain vivid"Over You

Max would follow Sadie anywhere, so when Sadie decides to ditch her problems and escape to Nebraska for the summer, it’s only natural for Max to go along. She is Sadie’s confidante, her protector, and her best friend. This summer will be all about them. This summer will be perfect.  But that’s before they meet Dylan.  Dylan is dangerous and intoxicating, and he awakens something in Max that she never knew existed. No matter how much she wants to, she can’t back away.  But Sadie has her own intensity, and has never allowed Max to become close with anyone else. And Max doesn’t know who she is without Sadie.  There are some problems you just can’t escape.

karen RIVERS

Encyclopedia of MeThe Encyclopedia of Me

Tink Aaron-Martin has been grounded AGAIN after an adventure with her best friend Freddie Blue Anderson. To make the time pass, she decides to write an encyclopedia of her life from “Aa” (a kind of lava–okay, she cribbed that from the real encyclopedia) to “Zoo” (she’s never been to one, but her brothers belong there).  As the alphabet unfolds, so does the story of Tink’s summer: more adventures with Freddie Blue (and more experiences in being grounded); how her family was featured in a magazine about “Living with Autism,” thanks to her older brother Seb–and what happened after Seb fell apart; her growing friendship, and maybe more, with Kai, a skateboarder who made her swoon (sort of). And her own sense that maybe she belongs not under “H” for “Hideous,” or “I” for “Invisible,” but “O” for “Okay.”

rainbow ROWELL

Fangirl

Fangirl

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.  Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .  But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.  Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.  Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.  Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.  For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?  Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?  And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

frances dowell O’ROARK

Ten Miles Past NormalTen Miles Past Normal

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that normal target. She has to milk goats every dayand endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation–and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.  It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in “like” with a boy named Monster – yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…

shane PEACOCK

Last MessageSeven:  Last Message (book 7 – final)

(Note:  Part of a series called “Seven”, though none of the books features the same main characters (though I think they are related – brothers/cousins).  Each book in the series is also by a different author.)

Adam has a good life in Buffalo: great parents, a cute girlfriend, adequate grades. He’s not the best at anything, but he’s not the worst either. He secretly lusts after Vanessa, the hottest girl in school, and when his dead grandfather’s will stipulates that he go on a mission to France, Adam figures he might just have a chance to impress Vanessa and change his life from good to great. When he gets to France, he discovers he has not one but three near-impossible tasks before him. He also discovers a dark and shameful episode from his grandfather’s past, something Adam is supposed to make amends for. But how can he do that when he barely speaks the language and his tasks become more and more dangerous? Despite the odds, Adam finds a way to fulfill his grandfather’s wishes and, in the process, become worthy of bearing his name.

j.d. SALINGER

Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.” His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

julie SCHUMACHER

Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable GirlsThe Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls

I’m Adrienne Haus, survivor of a mother-daughter book club. Most of us didn’t want to join. My mother signed me up because I was stuck at home all summer, with my knee in a brace. CeeCee’s parents forced her to join after cancelling her Paris trip because she bashed up their car. The members of “The Unbearable Book Club,” CeeCee, Jill, Wallis, and I, were all going into eleventh grade A.P. English. But we weren’t friends. We were literary prisoners, sweating, reading classics, and hanging out at the pool. If you want to find out how membership in a book club can end up with a person being dead, you can probably look us up under mother-daughter literary catastrophe. Or open this book and read my essay, which I’ll turn in when I go back to school.

richard SCRIMGER

Ink MeSeven:  Ink Me (book 4)

(Note:  Part of a series called “Seven”, though none of the books features the same main characters (though I think they are related – brothers/cousins).  Each book in the series is also by a different author.)

Bunny (real name Bernard) doesn’t understand why his late grandfather wants him to get a tattoo. Actually, Bunny doesn’t understand a lot of things, so it’s good that his older brother, Spencer, is happy to explain things to him. But this is a task Bunny is supposed to do on his own, and nobody is more surprised than Bunny when, after he gets tattooed, he is befriended by a kid named Jaden and adopted into Jaden’s gang. The gang hangs out at a gym, where Bunny learns to fight, but when it finally dawns on him that the gang is involved in some pretty shady–and dangerous–business, Bunny is torn between his loyalty to his new friends and doing what he knows is right.

marcus SEDGWICK

She Is Not InvisibleShe Is Not Invisible

Laureth Peak’s father is a writer. For years he’s been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he’s obsessed, Laureth thinks he’s on the verge of a breakdown.He’s supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong.

On impulse she steals her mother’s credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.

regina SIROIS

On Little Wings

Jennifer must do the impossible – bring her mother home. When a family is torn apart by death, two sisters take violently divergent paths and the story of their family appears to end terribly and abruptly. Two decades later Jennifer never dreams that the photo she finds stuck between the pages of a neglected book will tear open a gaping wound to her mother’s secret past. Abandoning her comfortable life with her parents and best friend in the wheat fields of Nebraska, Jennifer’s quest for a hidden aunt leads her to the untamed coast of Maine where she struggles to understand why her mother lied to her for sixteen years.  Across the grey, rocky cove she meets Nathan Moore, the young, reluctant genius surrounded by women who need him to be brother, father, friend, provider, protector and now, first love. The stories, varied, hilarious, and heartbreaking, unfold to paint a striking mural of the shattered past. As Jennifer seeks to piece together her mother’s story, she inadvertently writes one for herself.

andrew SMITH

Stick

Stick

Fourteen-year-old Stark McClellan (nicknamed Stick because he’s tall and thin) is bullied for being “deformed” – he was born with only one ear. His older brother Bosten is always there to defend Stick. But the boys can’t defend one another from their abusive parents.  When Stick realizes Bosten is gay, he knows that to survive his father’s anger, Bosten must leave home. Stick has to find his brother, or he will never feel whole again. In his search, he will encounter good people, bad people, and people who are simply indifferent to kids from the wrong side of the tracks. But he never loses hope of finding love – and his brother.

ann recisch STAMPLER

Where It BeganWhere It Began

Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving, and without a single memory of the accident that landed her there. But what she can recall, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the crash.  As Gabby describes her transformation from Invisible Girl to Trendy Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why has Gabby been left to take the fall?  As she peels back the layers of her life, Gabby begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex…and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be.

ted STAUNTON

Jump CutSeven: Jump Cut (book 3)

(Note:  Part of a series called “Seven”, though none of the books features the same main characters (though I think they are related – brothers/cousins).  Each book in the series is also by a different author.)

Spencer loves movies, but real life is boring, right? When his late grandfather’s will reveals the tasks he wants his grandsons to undertake, Spencer thinks he got screwed. He’s not going to France or Spain or Africa. He’s not even getting a cool tattoo, like his younger brother. No, he’s going to Buffalo to get a kiss from an ancient movie star. Gross. And he’s supposed to film it. Grosser. But Spencer hasn’t bargained on Gloria Lorraine, star of the silver screen back in the day. Gloria has big plans–plans that involve her granddaughter AmberLea, a gun, a baker who might be a gangster, some real gangsters and a road trip to Nowheresville, Ontario. After being shot at, jumping into an icy lake and confronting some angry bikers, Spencer finally realizes that real life can be as exciting (and dangerous) as reel life.

melanie THORNE

Hand Me DownHand Me Down

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Reid has spent her life protecting her sister, Jaime, from their parents’ cruel mistakes. Their father, who’d rather work the system than a job, pours every dollar into his many vices, denying his daughters the shoes and clothing they need. Their mother, once a loving parent, is going through a post-post-adolescent rebellious streak and finds love with a dangerous ex-con. When she chooses starting a new family over raising her first-born girls, Elizabeth and Jaime are separated and forced to rely on the begrudging kindness of increasingly distant relatives. A string of broken promises that begins with Liz’s mother swearing, “I would never hurt you, Liz. You’re family,” propels her between guest beds in two states searching for a safe home. All the while, Liz is burdened by her stake in a bleak pact with a deceitful adult: to tell the truth about the darkest of her circumstances will cost her the ability to shelter Jaime. As Liz spirals into the abyss of fear and shame that haunts her sleepless nights, can she break free from her bonds in time to fight for her life?

l.b. TILLIT

Unchained_CVR.inddUnchained

After two years in a loving home, TJ’s mother got him back. She was clean. No pot. No meth. His chest felt like it was burning. His heart was racing. Trapped. He felt trapped. He didn’t have a say. Everything he had come to care about would be gone: Miss Dixie, hot meals, friends, Mae’s little hand, and Annabelle. And the brutal life he’d escaped quickly reclaimed him. Kaden Cruz didn’t run after him. Instead his voice boomed, “You owe us.” TJ didn’t look back. But he knew this wasn’t the end of Kaden Cruz. He could still hear his father’s voice. “It’s not free. You’ll have to pay them back one day.”

john VAN DE RUIT

Spud:  Spud  (book 1); Spud:  The Madness Continues (book 2);  Spud: : Learning to Fly (book 3); Spud: Exit, Pursued by a Bear ( book 4 – final)

It’s 1990. Apartheid is crumbling. Nelson Mandela has just been released from prison. And Spud Milton – thirteen-year-old, prepubescent choirboy extraordinaire – is about to start his first year at an elite boys-only boarding school in South Africa. Cursed with embarrassingly dysfunctional parents, a senile granny named Wombat, and a wild obsession for Julia Roberts, Spud has his hands full trying to adapt to his new home.
Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes readers of all ages on a rowdy boarding school romp full of illegal midnight swims, raging hormones, and catastrophic holidays that will leave the entire family in total hysterics and thirsty for more.

ned VIZZINI

Teen Angst Naaah...Teen Angst?  Naaah…

Ned Vizzini started writing seriously at age 15. He was 16 when one of his essays was published in “New York Press”, 17 when another appeared in “The New York Times Magazine”. He’s about to turn 19, and this is his first book. Watch Out, World! With humor, intelligence, and refreshing honesty, Ned reveals what it was like to grow up in the 1990’s. Starting in junior high (“the time after the pathetic dreams of childhood and before the hormones kick in”), continuing through high school (“I’d have to run through the halls naked…for any senior to acknowledge my presence”), he shares his impressions of school, sports, cool people, boring people, friends, fame, parents, money, music, obsessions, and more.

eric WALTERS

Between Heaven and Earth

Seven:  Between Heaven and Earth (book 1)

(Note:  Part of a series called “Seven”, though none of the books features the same main characters (though I think they are related – brothers/cousins).  Each book in the series is also by a different author.)

DJ is David McLean’s eldest grandson, so it stands to reason that he be the one to scatter his beloved grandfather’s ashes. At least that’s how DJ sees it. He’s always been the best at everything–sports, school, looking after his fatherless family–so climbing Kilimanjaro is just another thing he’ll accomplish almost effortlessly. Or so he thinks, until he arrives in Tanzania and everything starts to go wrong. He’s detained at immigration, he gets robbed, his climbing group includes an old lady and he gets stuck with the first ever female porter. Forced to go polepole (slowly), DJ finds out the hard way that youth, fitness level and drive have nothing to do with success on the mountain–or in life.

scott WESTERFELD

AfterworldsAfterworlds

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…   Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

laura WIES

Me Since YouMe Since You

Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.  If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.  Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?

john WILSON

Lost CauseSeven:  Lost Cause (book 2)

(Note:  Part of a series called “Seven”, though none of the books features the same main characters (though I think they are related – brothers/cousins).  Each book in the series is also by a different author.)

Steve thinks a trip to Europe is out of the question–until he hears his grandfather’s will. Suddenly he’s off to Spain, armed with only a letter from his grandfather that sends him to a specific address in Barcelona. There he meets a girl named Laia and finds a trunk containing some of his grandfather’s possessions, including a journal he kept during the time he fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. Steve decides to trace his grandfather’s footsteps through Spain, and with Laia’s help, he visits the battlefields and ruined towns that shaped his grandfather’s young life, and begins to understand the power of history and the transformative nature of passion for a righteous cause.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s