Jenna’s Top 10 Contemporaries of 2016

December 28, 2016 by Jenna | Books

So… I noticed that Aila’s top 10 books of 2016 were all fantasy novels, so I decided to balance it out with my top 10 contemporary novels of 2016. As of today, I’ve read 196 books this year and 104 of them were contemporary. Here are my favourite ten! Not all of them were released in 2016 but I read all of these this year.

10. The Memory Book – My Review

This book is about a girl with a medical condition that is causing her to rapidly lose her memories. It’s an extremely emotional book and definitely made me ugly cry throughout most of it. The novel has some really great character development and relationships and I will remember this story for a long time to come.

9. Highly Illogical Behavior – My Review

There were many great books about agoraphobia this year but Highly Illogical Behavior stood out to me as one of the best. It’s an #ownvoices book and I found it to be extremely easy to read and connect with. I thought the characters in this book were brilliant and the friendship and family elements in the book were A+.

8. Eleanor & Park – My ReviewAila’s Review

It’s embarrassing that it took me so long to read this book but I ended up loving it. I loved the 1980s setting of the book and I really enjoyed Eleanor and Park as the main characters of the book. They were interesting and complex characters and there’s nothing I love more than a character-driven story.

7. Words in Deep Blue – My Review | Aila’s Review

This is my favourite Aussie YA novel of this year. It’s set in a second hand bookstore and I loved everything about it. It was so relatable and it’s impossible for me to resist any book that’s set in a bookstore. I absolutely loved the themes of friendship, grief and love in this book and I’ll be rereading this over and over for years to come!

6. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B – My Review

This was probably my favourite mental health book of this year. It’s a book about OCD and I thought the mental illness rep in this book was perfection. It was so realistic and I fell in love with all of the characters in the book. If you like character-driven stories, this is a must-read!

5. The Unexpected Everything – My Review | Jeann’s Review | Aila’s Review

I absolutely love Morgan Matson’s books and The Unexpected Everything did not disappoint at all. It’s not my favourite of her stories but I loved the characters and the romance in this book. Clark is probably one of my favourite contemporary love interests and I just wanted to hug him and never let go. He was so darn cute! Also, if you’re a dog person, you must read this book!

4. The Hating Game – My Review

This isn’t a YA novel, but it was so good that I had to mention it on this list. This is a debut novel and if you’re looking for a quick chick-lit book, you must pick this one up. It has one of my favourite romance tropes in it: hate to love. The romance is a bit slow burn but so, so satisfying.

3. The Sun is Also a Star – My Review

I loved Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon last year, but The Sun is Also a Star was even better for me. There was some instalove that I wasn’t a big fan of but I really enjoyed the rest of the novel. It’s an extremely quick read that’s set within one day and has two extremely likeable and relatable characters. I loved this book.

2. Second Chance Summer – My Review | Aila’s Review

This is probably my favourite Morgan Matson book. A lot of readers don’t really seem to like this one but I absolutely love the themes in it. It explores grief, friendship, family and romance in such a great and balanced way. And this one left me in a massive puddle of tears.

1. I’ll Meet You There – My Review

My favourite contemporary novel that I read this year is, without a doubt, I’ll Meet You There. There’s honestly nothing that I don’t like about it. The characters and the romance were top notch and I fell in love with them from the very start. There were also some great friendships in the book and it was just such a complete story. I love it so much!

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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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44 responses to “Jenna’s Top 10 Contemporaries of 2016

  1. I still haven’t read Eleanor and Park, though I enjoyed several of Rowell’s books. I plan to read The Unexpected Everything and The Hating Game soon; I hope I would love them too.

    • Yes yes yes! I highly recommend both The Hating Game and The Unexpected Everything! They blew my mind and I'm dying to reread them now, especially The Hating Game!

  2. Bec

    I could probably count all the contemporaries I've read this year on one hand, and none of these are on there haha. I do have a couple on my TBR though so next time I'm in a contemporary mood I'll make sure to prioritise one of them! they all sound fantastic

    • YAY! I hope you do manage to get to some of these when you're in a contemporary mood, Bec! They're absolutely wonderful and I'll probably be pushing them for a long time to come haha.

  3. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    I still haven't read Eleanor and Park, though I have read most of Rainbow Rowell stuff haha. I'm so excited for Words in Deep Blue! And I loved the Hating Game and Morgan Matson (: Great list, Jenna!

    • I'm excited for the rest of the world to get their hands on Words in Deep Blue! it was just such a great read and I loved the bookshop setting so much. Eleanor & Park definitely surprised me because I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did but Rainbow Rowell never disappoints 😀

  4. Yaaas, so good to see that The Hating Game made it onto your top 10 list Jenna! This book really gave me a book hangover, and I really want to do a re-read already! I just want to squish Lucy and Josh together because they make me so happy 😀

    • Omg I loved The Hating Game so much. I need to read more books like it because it just put me in such a good mood! I really want to reread it now too!

  5. booksarelife987

    Wonderful list! Eleanor and Park was really cute and adorable, and they both shared a love of music and comics so win win. Great post! You surely read a lot of books this year!

    • Haha I'm actually kind of exhausted from reading. I wanted to start off 2017 in a strong manner but I think I need to take a few days off to just rediscover the joy of reading.

  6. Ahh this is a great reminder to pick up Highly Illogical Behaviour! I can't believe I have had my review of E&P sitting in my drafts for a year 😛 maybe I should finally post it. I pondered about adding The Unexpected Everything onto my list but too many great SFF reads 😛 At least I've read I'll Meet You There! I loved it! Thanks for representing contemporary hehe

    • Yes! Jeann, you need to read Highly Illogical Behaviour! Aila really loved it too! And it's super quick. You can read it and get in one extra book for this year 😀 Hehe and I'm glad you finally read I'll Meet You There and loved it. My heart is literally still clenching in my chest from the feels. And I still need to get my hands on that exclusive letter T_T

    • WOOO CONTEMPORARY! I'm on my 199th book now. So close to my goal of 200! I feel like I haven't done anything except read this month T_T. Second Chance Summer was just amazing. I ugly cried for hours after I read it and I cried while I reviewed it HAHA. Sooooo good.

    • Yessss! You should totally pick up The Sun is Also a Star. It's a really quick read and it's got some good diversity in it. Plus, it's inspired loosely by the author's own relationship with her husband. It was a lovely read!

  7. Greg

    Eleanor & Park is one I need to read. And anything set in a bookstore is a win, so I'm with you there. Haven't heard of that one!

    I just love that cover of The Unexpected Everything!

    • Words in Deep Blue is an Aussie YA release but I think it'll be coming to North America in mid-2017! I really, really loved it and I think a lot of international readers will as well! Can't wait for everyone to get their hands on it. The cover of The Unexpected Everything is stunning! It's so summery and all the dogs are super cute <3

  8. Geraldine

    1I think I've only read about three or four books on your list, Jenna, BUT YES. I really liked all of those books! Highly Illogical Behaviour, in particular! It was so touching, unique and just the kind of book that I love!

    • I can't rave about Highly Illogical Behaviour enough! It was just so moving and uplifting. The characters were amazing as well and I can't wait to read John Corey Whaley's next book!

  9. YES!! I LOVED Highly Illogical Behavior, it made my list too! I loved Elanor & Park as well but plum forgot about adding it. Oops. Too many good books is a good problem to have at least! <3

    • It is a great problem to have! I had such a hard time narrowing down my lists because I read so many amazing books this year. If I could make a Top 100, that still wouldn't be enough XD

  10. I'm so glad you liked The Memory Book, I got it for Christmas so I can't wait to read it. Eleanor and Park has always been one of my favs. I think I first read it in 2014 but I reread it this year and it is so good.

    • Eleanor and Park is definitely one that will transcend time! I can see myself rereading it over and over. I loved The Memory Book so much! It took some time to get into but, man was it impactful!

  11. lekeishathebooknerd

    Great picks! I've only read 3 of these, and enjoyed them immensely. Especially, Eleanor & Park! That book will always have a spot on my favorites shelf. I read a lot of contemporary this year but most of my favorites are fantasy.

    • I just put together my top ten books of the year and a lot of mine were fantasy as well. I read mostly contemporary but I think it's the intensity and the action in fantasy novels that make them a bit more memorable. But I do love all of these contemporaries a lot too!

  12. I can't wait to read that new one by Cath Crowley. It stinks that it's not available here. Some of these books are on my top reads of 2016 as well (The Sun is Also A Star, The Hating Game). And some that I must read in 2017 (Second Chance Summer, The Unexpected Everything, I'll Meet You There).

    Great list, Jenna!

    • Ahhh yeah it sucks that Words in Deep Blue won't be out in North America for a while. I think it comes out in June? But I guess time flies so it'll be available before you know it! How good were The Hating Game and The Sun is Also a Star?! They were just what I needed at the time when I read them. I'm going to try to read more fluffy chick lit next year because The Hating Game was definitely a standout for me.

  13. Oh my god I love, love, LOVE Highly Illogical Behavior and The Sun is Also a Star! I didn't make a contemporary-specific best books list but these two totally made it to my top ten for all books anyway, haha. And I've read The Hating Game too – while I didn't love it, I found it quite cute. I'll Meet You There is also a good choice! 🙂

    • YAY! Those books deserve all the love, Reg! Highly Illogical Behaviour and The Sun is Also a Star were both such quick but impactful reads. So beautiful!

  14. Grace @ RebelMommyBB

    So many great books!! The Hating Game and I'll Meet You There made my best of list this year. So many others I need to read still. Great picks!

  15. Bieke (Nelly B.)

    Okay so the ones I've read are Highly Illogical Behavior, Eleanor & Park and I'll Meet You There and I LOVED them. I definitely need to check out the others. Contemporary is my thing so I need to get to these asap!

    • Yes yes yes! So glad that you loved those three too!! Words in Deep Blue has some Simon VS vibes so I think you'd really love that one! It's currently only out in Australia but hopefully will be more readily available soon!

  16. theliteraryhuntress

    I'm glad you like Eleanor and Park! I also really like the setting. I haven't born yet at that era, so it's refreshing to read about that era 😀 I also agree with Second Chance Summer, it explores many themes in such delicate and balanced ways!

    • I totally agree with you about Eleanor and Park. I wasn't born then either so it was really great to read about it. And it just had such a nostalgic feeling. Second Chance Summer is so underrated in my opinion. It's such a lovely story!

  17. I know how you feel about being late to the game on Eleanor & Park, I read it at the end of 2015, but it definitely is still one of my favorites! Now, I just need to read the rest of these!

    • Haha Eleanor and Park was such a great one. I started it in 2014 but put it down and never ended up picking it back up again until this year. I'm so glad that I did because now I know what everyone is on about! I'm still crossing my fingers that there will be a sequel.