Hi everyone! After sharing my favorite SFF and my favorite middle grade reads of 2018 with you, it’s now time for me to share my favorite 2018 YA contemporaries with you! I’ve read a ton of really excellent YA contemporaries last year and I’m super indecisive so beware: this list is going to be LONG.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann – This book has an ace biromantic main character, and a love interest who 100% respects and is okay with her boundaries. This alone made me so happy that I could’ve cried happy tears, and it’s one of my favorite romances ever.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – This book is entirely written in verse and it’s just absolutely incredible and so, so powerful. After I was done listening to the audiobook (which I can definitely recommend because it was narrated by the author herself) I grabbed my physical copy to highlight my favorite passages and… I accidentally ended up rereading the entire thing again. And for someone who doesn’t reread books often, that’s a sure sign it’s good.
I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman – This book means the world to me. One of the main characters, Jimmy, has anxiety and gets panic attacks and reading about this made me feel so seen for the first time ever. Plus, I just loved every single character and this is one of the first books I’ve ever read that involved fandom and didn’t make me cringe. Alice got it right, and that was so great to see.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo – This book has the most amazing and mouth-watering food descriptions, an amazing father-daughter relationship, a great hate-to-love friendship and an adorable romance. It’s the perfect summer read.
The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde – I was eagerly anticipating The Brightsiders because I absolutely loved Jen Wilde’s Queens of Geek and I have to say… I liked The Brightsiders even more. I adored the friendships, the romantic relationship between two characters was so adorable that it literally made me giggle, and the way the book addresses important topics like abuse and alcohol abuse was just incredibly well done.
This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow – If I’m being totally honest, the cover is what piqued my interest in this book and why I added it to my TBR, but the content is even more incredible? It explores messy friendships, has an f/f relationship between two brown girls, a teen mom mc with the most adorable daughter, a recovering alcoholic mc, and it’s all centered around a girl band. If I had to pick a #1 favorite contemporary of the year, this would be it.
To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin – This book is about a fat girl who’s mom lost a lot of weight on one of those weight loss shows, and is trying to push her way of thinking onto her daughter too, who is fine with the way she looks. This was incredibly hard to read about, as a fat person myself, but the heavy stuff in the book was balanced well with an adorable romance, a great friendship and fun journalism stuff.
American Panda by Gloria Chao – I almost forgot to add this book because I read it at the end of 2017, but because this is a 2018 release and because I loved it a whole lot I wanted to include it anyway. This book made me laugh out loud, but it also made me cry. Multiple times, because this book and the way it talks about parental relationships was very hard-hitting. Mei was a fantastic main character, and Gloria Chao has definitely become one of my auto-buy authors.
Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram – This is one of the 2018 books that made me cry the most. Seriously, I sobbed at the ending. I loved reading about Darius meeting his family, seeing Iran for the first time and forming a close friendship with a boy he meets there. The way this book talks about depression is also incredibly relatable and honest, and I appreciated that a lot.
The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding – When I read that this book was about a plus size fashion blogger and included an f/f romance I was sold, and this book ended up being so so lovely? Not only did I really like the romance (although I could’ve done without a bit of drama but oh well), I also really liked the m/f friendship that was included in the book and ALL THE BURGERS. Plus, the fat-positivity made me incredibly happy.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – I went into this expecting not to love it a lot, because I didn’t really love the Shatter Me series and with this being her first contemporary… I was skeptical. But once I started reading I just couldn’t put it down. I finished it in one day and I was completely blown away by this book, and I basically loved every single thing about it.
I know I should write a proper outro or conclusion for this but I feel really sick and want to go to bed so this’ll do. Sorry. Please let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what your thoughts on them are!