Monthly Archives: June 2013

Karen Avivi’s Contemporary YA Suggested Summer Reading List

I’m not going to name names (mainly because I can’t find where I bookmarked the pages), but people have written articles on the internet claiming they can’t find contemporary YA to read. Too bad they don’t live near me, because I could lend them a pile from the selection on my bookshelf.

YA books on Karen Avivi's bookshelf

YA books on Karen Avivi’s bookshelf

So here’s a list. It’s not comprehensive but it will get you started.
In the words of Sadie from Awkward, “You’re Welcome.”

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. Although her YA novel Speak is the one most people talk about, I really really liked Twisted. It’s less of an issue book, and more about the slow-building pressure of reality that finally explodes. Bonus: male point of view.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X Stork. This book is freaking amazing.  You have to trust me and just read it and then go read his novel The Last Summer of the Death Warriors.

Right Behind You by Gail Giles. You’ll want to hate this protagonist, but it gets harder as you keep reading.

If you’re thinking, Hey Karen Avivi – you’re not telling me what these books are about. What’s up with that?  Here’s what I’d say: “If you need a synopsis, you can look it up. But you should really just try them.” Back to the list:

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. This one can be confusing at first. Keep going. It’s worth it.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. I can’t tell you what makes this book so amazing without ruining part of it, so again… trust me.

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. This one will tear your guts out. Actually everything by Chris Crutcher will. If you haven’t discovered this author yet, now is the time!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart. The description for this one is odd so ignore it and just start reading. Then read all the Ruby Oliver books starting with The Boyfriend List.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This was one of the YA books that converted me to a card-carrying YA fan.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. This one sparked my interest in dystopias.

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden. Another excellent dystopia.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. This one made me run around the house checking our end-of-the-world preparedness status. What about water? How much food do we have? How would we stay warm? Turns out, we’re pretty well prepared. Excellent book.

This is getting long so I have to skip a bunch like John Green, Sara Zarr, Sarah Dessen, A.S. King, Jaclyn Moriarty, Rachel Cohn, Suzanne Supplee, and Alex Flinn, but you should find and read their books! And there are many, many more. There are a TON of fantastic contemporary YA books out there. Don’t even think about writing an article claiming you can’t find any.

Finally, Shredded by Karen Avivi. I HAVE to recommend my book, don’t I? Even if you’d never try to do a flip on your bike, it’s still fun to read about girls who will : )



I know I skipped a bunch, but if you have suggestions to add to the list, let me know!