Monday, November 18, 2013

Top Ten Contemporary Books I'd Recommend to a Fantasy-Lover
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I'm a fantasy girl. I like witches and wizards and princes in disguise. I like explosions and high-octane plots. I like science fiction and dystopians and worlds I've never been to. I like monsters and epic romances and life-or-death stakes. I like speculative fiction.

Which means a treacherous corner of my brain always thinks, "Ugh. Contemporaries? You mean more of our world? How... boring. There are no dragons! Or magic spells! Or sword fights! It's highly unlikely that anybody's going to get stabbed or blown up or forced to walk the plank. WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT?"

But I have discovered that there are some books that can be magic... without having magic.


Most of the contemporary books that grab me are ones with very high-concept plots, are known to be funny, or have a unique twist to them. Issue books intrigue me less, though I've loved a few (Speak, for instance).

I'm limiting this list to books that have ZERO bending of earthly rules, by which I mean no after-life, no magical realism, nothing. So no Before I Fall or If I Stay. I'm going for books that exist completely in our world. Also, I'm not the most well-read in this category, so I'm sure there are MANY MORE contemporaries that would appeal to fantasy girls and boy like me that I simply haven't read yet. If you think of more, please tell me in the comments!

1. An oldie-but-a-goodie with a twisty, turny, mysterious puzzle: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin


2. A book about someone as reluctant to leave a fictional fantasy world as you are: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


3. Where magic comes in the form of Paris and a hot boy: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


4. False identies, take-charge heroines, maybe-madness, and laughs for days: The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty


5. Where revenge is a dish best served in knee-socks and a plaid skirt: Premeditated by Josin McQuein


6. Cynical, snarky, and real: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger


7. Nearly anything by Meg Cabot, whose books are funny, fluffy, and oh-so-fun:


8. Vair vair amusing and brills with knobs on: The Georgia Nicolson series


9. Absolute crazeballs with a side serving of intensity drizzled with stress: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas


 10. Reality has no place in this spy-tastic, thief-ful place: either series by Ally Carter


11. Bonus: ALL THE SWOONS (and lots of laughs): My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


Honorable Mentions: Find Me by Romily Bernard, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Past Perfect by Leila Sales, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.


  1. I've only read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and FANGIRL, which are two of my all-time favorites. But I want to read so many of the others, especially MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. Great list and topic!

    Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf

  2. Fangirl: YES! Anna and the French Kiss: YES! The Georgia Nicholson series: YES! I love half your list which means I need to read the other half! Have you read Prep School Confidential? It was pretty great so I'm excited to try Ally Carter's spy series and I pick up My Life Next Door every time I'm in Barnes and Noble. Also, your description of #4 really makes me want to try it! Lastly, your Harry Potter gif is perfection :) Great list!!

  3. I'm a fantasy lover - so yay thanks for this list. i haven't read any of these books - although I've heard good things about Anna and The French Kiss.

  4. Ooh Dangerous Girls is on my list this week too. Such an amazing book. I love your choices this week.

  5. I'm totally the same about magic vs. contemporary! That being said, I do enjoy the contemporary here and there. The Westing Game was one of my absolute FAVOURITE books when I was a kid. I recently grabbed a copy so I could reread it :) And I LOVE The Year of Secret Assignments! It's one my favourite books of all time.

  6. I haven't read all the books on your list, but I totally agree with the 75% that I have. They all totally have a magical quality to them! What a fun list you have going on!
    My TTT

  7. I loved Anna and the french kiss and most of them are actually in my to-read list!
    Here's my TTT!

  8. Anna and the French Kiss is the only one of these that I've read (it's on my list, too!), but I'm going to have to look into some of the others you have on here. :)

  9. Really great list, some I have read and loved myself. There are quite a few on here that I am still desperate to read myself, but especially My Life Next Door as I have seen so many great reviews of it. My TTT.

  10. I am that person - the fantasy lover who can't quite do contemporary right now. But speaking of, I've very much been meaning to get into MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, so I'm glad to see it made your list. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Anna and the French Kiss is such a universal book. Everyone seems to just love it no matter what their taste is. Great list.

    My TTT List

  12. I'm seeing Fangirl on a lot of people's lists today! I really need to read it. :) Great list!

  13. As someone who is definitely not a fantasy lover, I fully approve of your list ;) But really, these are great picks! And I can definitely see the non-contemp reader enjoying them.

  14. This list is just so much win. I haven't read many of them, but the ones I have read I agree with wholeheartedly!!! <3 Mine was the complete opposite of ten books for dark, gritty readers ;) with 3 bonuses, SHADOWLANDS being one of them.

  15. Great list. I still haven't had a chance to read FANGIRL!!

    Our TTT

    Doris @ OABR

  16. I really want to read Anna and the French Kiss as well as My Life Next Door, they both look fantastic! :D

    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic
    My TTT Post! :)

  17. I feel like Fangirl gives you a magic loophole due to the Simon Snow fan fiction and book excerpts. It's on my list too, as is Anna. Great list!

  18. From this list I only loved Fangirl. <3 Read Anna years ago; and I hated it :\ Sad face. But anyway. I.. heh. My favorite YA genre is Fantasy. I crave fantasy. Though I have been reading a bit more contemporary books lately :) I do enjoy them, but yeah, nothing like fantasy books :D Thank you for sharing your awesome list. <3

  19. Great list!! We have A LOT of books in common this week. I really need to read the Med Cabot books. They have been on my TBR list for a while.

    Here is my TTT:

  20. I like how your sentences turn into Disney quotes :D

    I was very much on the YAY speculative fiction, BOO real world side of the fence until very recently. Fangirl and Anna are two of my absolute favorite Contemporaries. Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins and Kasie West completely 180-ed my opinion on the genre.


    I only just heard of Dangerous Girls and it is on the top of my TBR, it sounds fascinating.

    My Life Next Door was adorable and sweet.

    An excellent list!

  21. ALLY CARTER!!!!! Everyone should try her books. :)

  22. I just re-read The Westing Game and I'm SO glad to see it on this list! :D It's a wonderful book!

  23. *toodles off to add these to the book wishlist*

  24. Yes to this list, Gillian! The DUFF is ah-mazing and spies are oh-so-cool.

    Aaand I got to know there's going to be a Dangerous Boy (not a sequel)! So excited =D

  25. Love this! I don't read too many contemps for the same reasons---who wants to escape to our OWN world?? LOL But these all look great. I loved Anna and the French Kiss and I've been meaning to read My Life Next Door for ages. Great list!

  26. This is sooo awesome! I am just like you, a hard core fan of speculative fiction! I rarely go for a contemporary book unless it was HIGHLY recommended, as you said -- what's the point?! I want magic!! Haha ;) Anyways, thanks for the list. I've read Anna and Fangirl, but I'll give the others a try :)


  27. That list has a lot of different fictional books in it! I need to read Fan girl!! I've heard such good things about it!


Note: comments on posts older than 90 days are automatically moderated, so they won't show up here immediately. Thanks for commenting! :)