5 YA Contemporaries You Need to Read This Spring // Mini Reviews & Heart Eyes!

I’m back again with the contemporary reviews, spring edition!

So far, 2019 has been a wonderful year of reading contemporaries for me. I mean, it’s pretty much all I read. Today I’m back with a new batch of YA contemporaries that I’m going to be doing mini reviews for! Expect lots of squealing and heart eyes. 😉

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Of course, these books can be enjoyed any time of the year, I just think they’d be especially amazing during spring or summer…but honestly, it doesn’t matter. We all know I’m going to scream about contemporaries no matter what time of the year it is.

Without further ado, on to the reviews!

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Title + Author: Just For Clicks, by Kara McDowell

Page Count: 352

Goodreads // Amazon 

Published: 2.19.19

 

thoughts

This book was, simply put, adorable.

I loved a lot of things about it. First of all, the main character and her sister were social media influencers and had a Youtube channel, Instagram, etc. It was really cool to read such an up-to-date story that captured a new dilemma presented by all our technological advancements- what if you don’t want to be a part of this online life anymore?

I also loved Rafael, the most precious character who didn’t have a phone and was basically the epitome of a cheerful, friendly little sunflower. I just love sunflowers. The slow burn romance developed really well, and the main character’s slightly dysfunctional (but also loving?) relationship with her mom and sister was interesting to read about, too.

There was a plot twist- and I didn’t see it coming. I love being surprised by plot twists?! This book definitely succeeded in that, giving it major points.

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Overall, while there were a few things I wasn’t in love with (the writing style wasn’t my favorite and I was kind of screaming at some of the MC’s decisions), I thought this book was super sweet and cute. Definitely good for reading in the spring or summer. 😉

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Your Destination Is on the Left

 

Title + Author: Your Destination is on the Left, by Lauren Spieller

Page Count: 304

Goodreads // Amazon

Published: 6.26.18

 

thoughts

This book is everything I didn’t know I ever needed.

For the longest time back when I used to write, I wanted to write a story about a family who traveled the country in an RV. Little did I know that it existed?! It’s called Your Destination is on the Left, and well, it’s amazing.

I loved the dynamics between the main character, Dessa, and the rest of the families in their caravan, as well as her relationships with Cyrus (the boy next door, literally in the RV next door) and Taryn, a girl who she randomly meets and becomes friends with.

The whole time, Dessa was battling between following her dreams of going to art school or following her parents’ wishes. It was interesting because normally in this kind of book, her parents would want her to be a doctor or something, but in this case, they kind of didn’t want her to be anything? They just wanted her to stay with them in the caravan, which was kind of weird. Dessa just wants to go out and live her life.

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I liked the characters (especially Dessa, Taryn ((who inspires her to be more spontaneous!)), and Dessa’s art mentor) and the premise, but it just didn’t have that little push that makes it a five star read. I would recommend, though!

★☆

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The Other Side of Lost

 

Title + Author: The Other Side of Lost, by Jessi Kirby

Page Count: 320

Goodreads // Amazon

Published: 8.7.18

 

thoughts

If I were to describe this book in two words, I’d have to say it was emotional and empowering.

This was yet another relevant book that suggests the dangers of social media (but doesn’t demonize it). The main character, Mari, lived a fake social media life for her thousands of followers, but really it was an act hiding her grief and shame following the death of her cousin.

She ends up hiking the John Muir trail (something she was supposed to do with her cousin) and along the way she makes a new group of friends (yes, there was an amazing squad in this book!!) and ends up learning a lot about herself and about the importance of living in the moment.

The self-discovery in this book was such a strong theme that I really liked!! Mari was honestly a different character from the first page to the last page, and the reader gets to be there for every step of her development.

I did find it a little unrealistic that she managed to hike the trail, seeing as she had no training and people died training for the hike, but I don’t know much about hiking?? It just seemed like the pieces fell into place a little too easily there.

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I would definitely recommend this book! I really liked its relevance, the topics it addressed, and how it portrayed Mari’s journey. I would reread it, though there were a few parts I wasn’t the biggest fan of and I didn’t feel a huge connection with the main character.

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Brave Enough

 

Title + Author: Brave Enough, by Kati Gardner

Page Count: 280

Goodreads // Amazon

Published: 8.21.18

 

 

thoughts

Wow. Just, wow.

This book was so powerful and sweet and inspiring and just!!! The only word that comes to mind when I think about this is wow.

I felt an instant connection with one of the two main characters, Cason, because she’s a ballet dancer and so am I. I mean, she was a professional dancer, and I’m decidedly not, but still. Even though Cason didn’t dance for most of the novel, since she finds out she has cancer almost right away, I still could relate to her passion and love of dance.

The relationship between Cason and the other main character, Davis (they both have chapters from their perspective) was absolutely my favorite part of this book. They were there for each other, their banter was adorable to read, and, well, I really do love a good friends-to-lovers.

This was the first book that I’ve read with the main character struggling with an addiction. Davis was sober in the book (it took place after his rehab), but his addiction didn’t disappear, and the reader really sees him battling against it. It was very eye-opening to read.

This book was giving me The Fault in Our Stars vibes when I first heard about it, but I was so wrong. It ended up being so uplifting and just!!! I loved it!!

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As you could tell, I really did enjoy this book quite a lot. I think there was something just stopping me from going all the way to five stars??

★☆

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Summer Bird Blue

 

Title + Author: Summer Bird Blue, by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Page Count: 375

Goodreads // Amazon

Published: 9.11.18

 

thoughts

Well, Akemi Dawn Bowman did it again.

I loved Starfish and now I loved Summer Bird Blue. While this wasn’t an easy read, it was full of loss and grief, it was so beautiful and yes, I cried, because so many emotions.

Throughout the story, Rumi is dealing with the death of her beloved sister and best friend, as well as struggling with how her mother has left her to deal with on her own. Rumi’s grief felt so authentic and I think that’s what made this book so emotional.

On top of all of that, the town she moves to in Hawaii (to stay with her aunt) has quite a few interesting characters. There’s Kai, the super chill surfer boy who’s utterly adorable, and my personal favorite Mr. Watanabe, the grumpy grandpa who’s secretly a marshmallow on the inside.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was Rumi’s relationship with music. At first, it’s like her music has died with her sister, but she slowly brings it back into her life and that just made me so happy. After everything she went through, music was a constant for her.

I already want to read this book again?? Like I said, it just felt so authentic. And to me, authenticity is what makes a book so wonderful.

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I’m still crying over this book, and if you read it, you’ll probably be crying over it too. Overall, I felt as if it was such a genuine experience that really hits you deep. Please, please read it!

★☆

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There you have it, five books to add to your TBR. 😉 (Please add them. You won’t regret it, I promise.) These reviews were a little longer than usual, but I just couldn’t stop talking about the wonderfulness of all these books!

I hope you’re all having a great March and happy almost-first-day of spring to all my friends in the Northern Hemisphere.🌷(Is it fall in the Southern Hemisphere? I think so, but I’m not positive- if so, happy fall to all of y’all.) Thank you for reading!

Have you read any of these? If not, do you want to now? What’s the weather like where you live? I’d love to chat with you all in the comments.

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Photo by Darren Nunis on Unsplash >> Credits for the image I used in this post’s featured image.

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42 thoughts on “5 YA Contemporaries You Need to Read This Spring // Mini Reviews & Heart Eyes!

  1. Aw I love this post so much Olivia!! I’ve been trying to read more contemporaries lately (fantasy is my fave but I’m attempting to branch out haha) so this is perfect. I’m especially looking forward to Summer Bird Blue because I loved Starfish! So glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for all these recs 😊✨💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so, so much, Brianna!💓I’m really so happy that this post could give you some great recommendations. We’re kind of opposites in the sense that I’m a contemporary reader looking to branch out to some fantasy, haha. I am about to read Six of Crows, though, so maybe that will send me into a fantasy spiral?? Thank you again! 🙂

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  2. I’m so in the mood to read contemporaries right now, so this post was perfectly timed for me! These all sound like really wonderful reads! I’m adding Your Destination is on the Left, The Other Side of Lost and Summer Bird Blue to my TBR 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. AHH YES ALL THE CONTEMPORARIES ahh. I’m glad you liked Just For Clicks, I had such a fun time reading that one! ❤ I really want to read Your Destination Is ON The Left, it sounds amazing and this kind of "travelling" book just appeal to me SO much somehow, I can't WAIT to read that one! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES, YES, ALWAYS.😍Yay, I’m glad to hear that! It was just so genuinely adorable. Oh, I feel like you’ll really enjoy Your Destination is on the Left- it had the perfect combination of adventure, romance, friendship, and self discovery. Thank you for your comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I always love turning to you for contemporary recommendations because you have amazing picks ❤ I thought Your Destination on the Left was a cute read so it's nice to see it on your list. I also have been dying to read Summer Bird Blue so I'm really happy that you loved it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely love contemporary recommendations! And I loved how these recommendations came with mini reviews! I definitely need to check out Brave Enough and Summer Bird Blue because your reviews have me so intrigued! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book dealing with addiction, but I’m glad there’s something out there that discusses it well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked them and that you found some recommendations. Yes, I was so intrigued to find a book dealing with addiction! I can’t speak to if it’s an accurate depiction, but as a reader it felt authentic. Happy reading! 🙂

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  6. Okay, Summer Bird Blue is sitting in my bookshelf right now, and I still haven’t read it! But, I really want to. I haven’t heard of many of these books, but your reviews were so fun to read.
    Who knows, maybe I’ll like contemporaries after all 🙂
    Don’t forget to be awesome,
    Vaishnavi

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh I’ve read some of these! I’ve read Summer Bird Blue, Brave Enough, Your Destination Is On The Left and I just bought Just for Clicks!! I’m super excited for that one eep. Also I agree about your hiking comment…sometimes I read books and characters don’t train and go on these epic hikes and I’m like…really?😂

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    • Aah, I’m so happy to hear you’ve read a lot of these! I hope you enjoy Just For Clicks, it was just altogether super sweet and cute.🤗Haha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks of that?? It just seems slightly fishy that people who didn’t train could carry out on the hike??

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  8. Ahhh yay, book reviews! I love getting your contemporary recommendations. :)) And seeing all the great covers-that’s always a pro. Okay, Mr. Watanabe, the grumpy grandfather who is actually a marshmallow inside might be a bit of a trope, but it’s a trope that I love. About The Fault in Our Stars-what did you think about it? And have you read any of John Green’s other books? I’ve read the Katherine one and Paper Towns. I think it’s insane that he wrote those books and makes the Crash Course videos. They’re so different. What are you reading right now? I literally just finished a book called Far Away an hour ago (it was one of those just one more chapter situations), and I’m starting a book called Interment.

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    • Thank you, Annie! 🙂 Yes, yes, most definitely. I love the grumpy grandfather but actually marshmallow trope too- it never fails to be adorable. The Fault in Our Stars! I really liked it, although I didn’t necessarily think it lived up to all the hype- I can think of a lot of books I liked way more and if it wasn’t so famous I don’t think I’d remember it that much. What are your thoughts? I’ve read Paper Towns (my favorite John Green book, at least that’s what I remember thinking after I read it, though I don’t remember it now), Turtles All The Way Down, and I just finished the Katherine one last week. I really liked that one. I know, it’s crazy! We always watch Crash Course World History in one of my classes, and last year I was watching one to study for a test, got bored and googled John Green on another tab, and almost screamed when I realized it was the same person. (It’s kind of hard to watch them the same way now.) The one more chapter situations are the best! What was Far Away about? I just finished a reread of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (I got it at Half-Price Bookstore over break) and I just started Six of Crows.

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      • I haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet, but I might at one point to decide what I think about all the hype. I actually didn’t like Paper Towns! I didn’t like the main characters, which is probably tied for first of what I need in a book. I remember liking the Katherine one. What did you think about it? For some reason I vaguely remember the main character taking his friend’s younger sister out for ice-cream-is that true in any shape or form? I know right?? It’s unbelievable how the same person made those videos and also wrote a crazy bestselling YA (romance?) book. I’ve been watching Crash Course videos in class too! Far Away had an interesting plot-a girl lives with her aunt who is a medium but things start to fall apart when she finds something out about her mom and about her aunt’s business. Oh, nice! I’ve read Six of Crows but haven’t read Crooked Kingdom. I got my friend King of Scars for her birthday (which still needs to be wrapped or something), which is also set in the Grishaverse. Have you read the Shadow and Bone trilogy?

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        • You should! Even though I didn’t love it as much as the rest of the world seemed to, it was still really good. Ah, yes, that makes sense. Haha, I actually don’t remember an ice cream part in the Katherine one! I did like it a lot though, my favorite part was how there were so many entertaining footnotes on nearly every page. Yes, it’s crazy!! Oh, that sounds interesting. I haven’t read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but I’m planning to eventually read it after I read Crooked Kingdom.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oops, okay it was another book then. Plots sometimes get mixed together. Oh yea, footnotes! You saying that makes me remember it. I actually only read the second book of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and then I looked up spoilers for the first and third book. I know, weird weird.

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  9. I read the contemporaries from your other post and branched out from my usual choice of books… and found myself in love and sort of (maybe actually completely) fangirling over characters and books and series I’d just met. So I’ll be reading this list, and thanks for the recommendations!

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  10. I’m so glad you enjoyed all these books! Just for Clicks is one that’s high up on my TBR; I’ve heard it’s good and I always enjoy books about sisters. Summer Bird Blue is soooo beautiful; I don’t think it gets the love it deserves!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. All of these sound super great! I especially want to read Summer Bird Blue because I really loved Starfish as well. I haven’t read The Other Side of Lost, but just as a teenager I really appreciated how in your review you pointed out how the book talks about the bad sides of social media without demonizing it. I always feel torn when social media is brought up because it can be super frustrating and I don’t want to be someone who uses my phone too much, but at the same time I feel like some people (especially adults) think or act like social media is inherently bad, which I don’t agree with. Recently I’ve been thinking about how to find a balance, as I definitely feel like technology can be either annoying or rewarding, depending on how I use it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They really are! I hope you get to read some of them soon. 🙂 Yes, I so agree- I don’t think social media is inherently bad either, and it’s hard for me to read books (or to face scenarios in real life) that just automatically only talk about the negative benefits. I’m working on finding a balance, too!

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