Favorite Contemporaries Reads of 2018!

Summer is mid-year all summer long, right? Which means I can keep posting list posts and fangirl about my favorite reads of the last six months. Yay!

And I absolutely promise I am NOT on hiatus. I am just EXTREMELY busy! Working close to 40 hours a week with tons of sixth graders is completely, utterly exhausting. I don’t have as much mental energy to blog, and I’m really sorry! I promise once the summer starts winding down I will be posting more consistently.

SO back to books! What are some of my favorite contemporary reads of 2018? I have ten favorites today… and they are NOT just 2018 published books, but all sorts of contemporary books! Also, yes, I’ve been reading most of these this summer, because once a flower blooms, it’s time to read everything contemporary.

And maybe, just maybe, these are written in some sort of order? From #10 favorite to my very favorite of top favorites? 

me, trying to put these books in some sort of order. 

#10 – The Forgotten Book

This was the first first contemporary I read this year? And it’s kind of a mix of contemporary and magical realism? It was interesting, and I really enjoyed the Austen elements, as well as the mix of German folklore.

Also, it’s an Emma and Darcy pairing, at least in my opinion. Which is totally different, but I like it?

PS…I have a review for this book you can totally check out!

#9 – American Panda

Such an incredible own voices book! I love the college setting, the characters’ voice, and the food! Please, more dumplings, please pretty please, someone make me dumplings. Or I could learn how to make them myself, sure. I will one day, I promise.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this angsty, coming of age read. It was funny and real.

By the way, also another review on my blog for this 2018 release!

#8 – What If It’s Us

How many Hamilton references can you fit into one book? I don’t know but I think Adam and Becky try to break a record of both Hamilton records AND Dear Evan Hanson records. It’s seriously a lot of musical fangirling.

But this is NOT higher up on my list because it felt super dramatic for no apparent reason? Ok, I get that Arthur is a theatre boy, but why make him so…drama kingish?

I did appreciate the way insecurity in relationships was dealt with, but the ending was very meh. Still a fun read, though!

Also, the musical references DID get a tad bit repetitive. and no review yet… because this book ins’t released until October. But I will have a review coming out later in the year!

#7 – Pride

This is the absolute BEST Jane Austen retelling, ever. It’s even greater because it was NOT first written an Austen retelling but the author realized how it could be such an amazing Pride and Prejudice spin! And it absolutely is!
Set in a New York Bronx neighborhood that is being overtaken by rich folks that are planning on gentrifying everything, the style is completely different. Absolutely fresh. Zuri Benitez is the best Lizzy Bennet to ever exist. 

I love the Afro-Latina culture. The Benitez family is my favorite and Darius Darcy is adorable. If you like Jane Austen + #ownvoices, than this book is really for you. 

#6 – A Thousand Perfect Notes

Agh, one of the best NEW books of 2018! I love Cait’s blog and writing style, and A Thousand Perfect Notes is a beautiful tear worthy story that is full of heart and meaning.

I did read this precious story in about an hour. I just curled up in my chair next to a sunny window, and poured myself into Beck’s Story.

So if you’re looking for the sweetest story to read this summer, pick up Cait’s debut.

#5 – Queens of Geek

All the FLUFF and NONE of the ANGST. Yes, I might live for these sort of happy stories. You just need them, okay?

Not only is this book set at a comic con mixed with vidcon, but it’s about a Chinese-Australian youtuber and her best friend, who is on the autism spectrum and working through her social anxiety. It was incredibly real! I fell head over heels in love with both girls and definitely wanted to read their story.

PLUS – this book is super short, so it’s a quick, easy read.

#4 – Love, Hate, and Other Filters

A fast paced, moving contemporary story. Not only is this #ownvoices, but it addresses a ton of modern issues. Racism and coming of age and family expectations.
I really enjoyed Maya’s voice. I mean, she was definitely 17 and sometimes, she could be really silly. BUT she was super idealistic and she has big dreams. I loved her passion and feelings. She was fun and relatable.

And the story is incredible. I think it’s an important read, a lot like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. So if you haven’t checked it out, you should! 

#3 – Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda

I’ve read BOTH of Becky Albertalli’s books this year, and so now, they are some of my top 2018 favorites. I love the Simonverse, even if I fail and never get around to reading Upside of the Unrequited. Oops.

But I didn’t want to put both books on this list? SO I had to choose Simon, sorry Leah! But I fell in love with this Soft Boy™️ and his sweet charm and adorable family. And of course, Blue.

Also, please, let’s go on lots of study dates to Waffle House.

#2 – Ari & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

I have finally read this book this year and GOSH, it’s so poetic and just beautiful? and there’s a sequel? And a movie? Please, yes!

But I didn’t know any of THAT when I was reading this treasure and just fell hard for Ari. And Dante is precious and must be saved from all heartache.

And even though it’s contemporary, it’s set in the 1980’s. I LOVE the setting. And everything El Paso.

#1 – Dress Codes for Small Towns

This is my most recent contemporary read! And it was utterly fantastic. The characters, Billie especially, felt incredibly real and raw. I love the Hexagon friendships and the small town vibes. This book is full of tense but loving relationships and crazy fun ideas and teenage shenanigans.

And the actual story? It made me cry. Billie coming to terms with her own feelings and place in the world. I wan’t expecting to love this book as much as I do. It’s just beautiful and so relevant. 

And as always, don’t tell the books that I picked favorites! 

lets chat

Alright folks, that’s all I have today! And do you know how long it took me to write this blog? WAY TOO LONG. I hate getting behind on blogging but this summer is not cooperating, ergh. Just 5 more weeks and life will be fairly NORMAL again.

Anyway, what’s your favorite contemporary reads of 2018? Do we have any of the same favorites? Any books you think I should add to my TBR right now?




  1. July 16, 2018 / 7:41 pm

    I love this post! Yes to American Panda, ATPN (I just finished it yesterday and I’m still screaming!!), Love Hate and Other Filters, and Simon. I’ll have to check out the other ones you mentioned!
    I’m sad to hear What If It’s Us wasn’t 1000% perfect…but I’m down for way too many Hamilton references…better than not enough, right? 😉

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:22 pm

      ATPN is so scream worthy! And I do hope you love What If It’s Us!

  2. July 16, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    So many amazing contemporaries that are on my TBR list! Simon is truly an amazing book!! One of my top favorites of this year as well! 😀

  3. July 16, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    Yesss!! I’m becoming really into contemporaries lately <3 I'm super excited to read A Thousand Perfect Notes 🙂

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:23 pm

      Yay! I hope you love A Thousand Perfect Notes!

  4. July 17, 2018 / 7:38 am

    This is such a wonderful list! 💗

    I can’t wait to read American Panda, and Simon is such a heartwearming book. ☺️ I’m a bit sad that WIIU wasn’t as amazing as anticipated, though—but I’m always here for Hamilton references. 😼

    Can’t wait to check out the books that aren’t on my TBR yet, thanks so much for the recommendations! 🙂

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:23 pm

      I do love all the Hamilton references! And glad you have some new recommendations!

  5. July 17, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    I legit shouted YES when I saw the title of this blog post. I’m trash for all of the greatest contemporaries ever hahahhaa, I couldn’t help it.
    I hope that work is going well and don’t worry about blogging, take care of yourself and best of luck for everything <3
    I have heard mixed reviews about The Forgotten Book, I can't remember what they were exactly though, but I am so in love with that cover. I'm glad you enjoyed it, I need to give it a try someday!
    I loved American Panda and Queens of Geek so, so much! I can't wait to read A Thousand Perfect Notes, it sounds amazing and heartbreaking and everything I love haha 🙂
    Wonderful post! <3 <3

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:25 pm

      Haha, so happy contemporaries make you so excited!
      And the Forgotten Book’s cover is so gorgeous! And I do hope you love A Thousand Perfect Notes!!! It’s so good and heartbreaking!

  6. CG @ Paper Fury
    July 17, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    eXCUSE ME WHILE I CRY A BIT 😭😍😍I’m so honoured to be on this list ajfdkslafd I can’t even. ❤️!!!!!

    And omg I LOVE the Simon Vs! And I love Albertalli and Silvera’s writing both so so much, but I was a little disappointed with What If It’s Us too…sadly. Haha. I didn’t get how Arthur threw dramatic tantrums the whole time about how Ben didn’t “love him enough”…and then he went and did THAT in the ending?! It felt completely like I’d invested in 400 pages for nothing tbh. And I didn’t get any of the musical references. I’m such a fail. 😂But it was still cute! And I love Leah, but Simon’s book WINS FOR IT ALL.

    Also Ari And Dante are too precious and pure for this world.

    I really want to read Dress Codes and American Panda!!

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:26 pm

      Oh, Cait, you deserve to be on all the lists!
      And Arthur and Ben are so cute but the ending was such a disappointment. 🙁 And we must save Ari and Dante from all hard things in this world.
      Oh, I really hope you love Dress Codes!!!

  7. July 18, 2018 / 6:05 am

    I think you should add Leah on the Offbeat to your tbr because you enjoyed Simon VS! Also so excited to see you mention What If It’s Us! I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THAT BOOK 😀 Everyone seems to love it and I love both of those author’s writing so..I’m sure it’s perfect!!

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:28 pm

      Oh, I hope you get a chance to read What If It’s Us soon!

  8. July 19, 2018 / 11:30 am

    I’ve heard such good things about What If It’s Us – excited to see what I think, though I often dislike so much drama, so we’ll see.

    Also, Pride sounds AWESOME and right up my alley.

    Awesome list and great intro to some contemporary books I hadn’t heard of before! Thanks!

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:29 pm

      Drama can be so iffy and problematic. And Pride is awesome and I hope you love it!

  9. July 21, 2018 / 2:07 am

    Ari and Dante is such a fantastic book, and I really really REALLY need to get to Simon Vs before the end of the year 😀

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:29 pm

      Oh, yes, I hope you get to Simon Vs soon!

  10. July 21, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    Wow I don’t think I’ve read a SINGLE contemporary this year…but I’m not even that mad about it to be completely honest xD

    • July 22, 2018 / 4:30 pm

      Haha, that’s me about science fiction, hehe.

  11. Ilsen Leon
    July 24, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    Omg I’m so glad you enjoyed Simon! That was one of my favorites of 2017! Leah fell a little flat for me but nothing will beat Simon! I can’t wait for What If It’s Us! I have too many great contemporary reads like They Both Die At the End, Second Chance Summer, and Love and Gelato!

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