Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Favorites: Contemporary

2011 was a fantastic year for books and I'm counting down some of my favorites of each genre and listing some of the 2012 titles that I'm most eagerly anticipating! Today I'm featuring contemporary novels!

Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando.
Dutton Juvenile - May 12th - 389 pages.
Why is this book not raved and ranted about throughout the blogosphere? Why when I bring it up do people scratch their heads and give me a "huh" look? This contemporary is absolutely brilliant; the characters, the setting, the stories, everything. Buy this book. Right now.

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt.
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - July 12th - 320 pages.

I've read so many "girl falls for best friend's boyfriend" books and I've hated pretty much all of them. I don't condone cheating and I certainly don't condone hurting your so-called best friend over a guy. BUT this book, with the perfect title, kind of opened my eyes. Sometimes, things just happen, and I loved that it really made me stop and think. Loved this one so much and can't wait to read more from her!

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez. Simon Pulse - October 18th - 294 pages.

This intense drama about competing violinists who begin to fall in love is so, so engaging. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Carmen's stage anxiety and the pills she takes to help calm it felt so authentic and raw, and her struggle to break from under her mother's thumb was downright incredible.

Love Story by Jennifer Echols.
MTV Books - July 19th - 243 pages.

My first Jennifer Echols book and I absolutely loved it. The story was amazing. She captures the emotions that go along with being a writer, I think, very well. And her edginess and what she's allowed to do in her books seems pretty much limitless. I like that she's not afraid to get dirty and gritty with her characters. Can't wait to read more from her!

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle.
HarperTeen - September 16th - 432 pages.

Oh my god, I don't think I've ever cried so hard before. This book is so, so heartbreaking and emotional. Even though I had a few skeptical moments when it came to Laurel's grieving, I loved this book to pieces.

And now for some 2012 Contemporary novels I'm most looking forward to:

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy. Simon Pulse - May 1st, 2012 - 320 pages.

Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl's perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys' band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free...until it isn't any more. When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl...and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char...being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby.
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - May 8th, 2012 - 288 pages.

Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her. Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - May 8th, 2012 -224 pages.

Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor's dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home 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 summer 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, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware 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.

Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby.
Walker & Company - Feburary 28th, 2012 - 272 pages.

Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.

SomeoneElse's Life by Katie Dale.
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books - February 2nd, 2012 - 384 pages.

When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all...