What To Read If You Don’t Like Contemporary: Part I

Posted October 5, 2016 by booksbeautyandcoffee in Bookish Discussions / 8 Comments

if you don't like contemporaries

I want to start this post off saying that I was 100% inspired to do this post after reading one just like it on one of my favorite book blogs, Mostly Ya Lit. She wrote one up for people who aren’t big into fantasy reads, giving them ideas of what books they might like to get them started in that genre. Well, I’m not a huge fan of contemporaries, and so I figured maybe I could do the same for those! Plus, I desperately need some recommendations.

I’m pretty sure this first series is one that everyone has read, whether you’re a huge fan of contemporary or not, and that is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.


Anna and the French KissBook: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: December 2, 2010

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s not too pleased when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new friends, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend.

Unfortunately, he’s taken–and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

My review can be found here:

Anna and the French Kiss

Lola and the Boy Next DoorBook: Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2)

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: July 9, 2013

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better.

And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


My review can be found here:

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Isla and the Happily Ever AfterBook: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: August 14, 2014

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

My review can be found here:

Isla and the Happily Ever After

I’m thinking of making this into a series, like if you aren’t a huge fan of fantasy, high fantasy, or paranormal, then you should start out with *insert titles here* to get you into it. I know I always love getting recommendations, and all of those genres are pretty much my main favorites, so I’ve definitely got a lot of books to recommend for those genres!

I hope everyone has a fantabulous day/evening/morning/whenever you’re reading this and happy reading!

  • Oh yeah definitely Stephanie Perkins is a good way to go for people shy to the Contemporary genre. I would rec Sarah Ockler’s stuff as well. And Huntley Fitzpatrick. But I could go on forever since Contemporary is my fave 🙂 I like this idea!!! I hope you continue with it.

    • Olivia

      Awh, thank you so much! I might end up doing like a monthly recommendations and just switch up what genre I rec!

      But I’ve been getting so many suggestions on other contemporaries, so once I read them I might do a part two for this genre!

  • Hey, so glad you liked my post on what to read if you don’t like fantasy – it came from a legit frustration that I couldn’t find something that worked for me! For contemporary, Stephanie Perkins is a great pick. I also think Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is a good pick because it’s pretty nerdy, as is Sarvenaz Tash’s The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love.

    For personal favorites, I highly recommend anything by Morgan Matson (seriously, people who never read contemporary read her and love her), Gayle Forman (such a good gateway) and Maureen Johnson (she’s so funny and weird). Also, a recent fave was The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. And for an older crowd, I always, ALWAYS recommend the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. I honestly can’t say enough great things about it.

    Hope that helps, and let me know if you end up reading any of these! And thanks so much for the blog love – I really, really appreciate it.

    • Olivia

      Morgan Matson is one contemporary author I just recently read, and you’re totally right, she’s perfect for first time contemporary readers! I’ll probably try the other ones as I go through this genre, I always love getting suggestions!

      And you’re welcome, your blog has always been one of my favorites!

      • I’m so glad you loved Morgan! Which book did you read?

        • I read The Unexpected Everything! I loved that it was a really long contemporary because it gave me more time to get into the characters and story.

  • Anna, Lola, and Isla are the perfect choices for someone who doesn’t read contemp. I confess that it’s never been my preferred genre, but with authors like Stephanie, Kasie West, and Emery Lord, it’s hard not to pick up the books.

    Great post.
    PS: Your blog and photos in this post are gorgeous!

    • Olivia

      For me, contemporary novels are the best kind of books to read when you’re in a reading slump from reading too many fantasies in a row! Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson books seriously always do the trick.

      & thank you so much! I’m having a (huge) minor fangirl moment now!!