Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best of 2013: Contemporary

Contemporary tends to be a hard genre for me---maybe I really should call this more my non-fantastical, non-paranormal category, but it's so broad, it's kind of hard to define.  I probably should have split it into two categories, one romantic comedies and one contemporary adventures. Here's my disclaimer, unless it's an enduring classic, I don't read contemporary books that deal with depressing issues.  I read contemporary when I don't want a series or when I'm in the mood for a cute, light romantic comedy, a good spy thriller, etc.  I tend to shy away from the serious ones that deal with subjects like teen pregnancy, cancer, divorce, etc, not because they don't deal with valid issues or aren't  moving and well written, but because I don't like to read depressing books if I can possibly avoid it. Sometimes I read ones that pretend to be a romantic comedy and then they end up being kind of depressing and I get a bit bitter, so those books probably won't make it on this list.  

Remember this is a list of MY favorite contemporary books that came out this year, so it's what I love. Now, in no particular order, my personal favorite contemporary books of 2013.

1. United We Spy by Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.  Quoted from Goodreads

2. The Trouble with Flirting by Clair LaZebnik

Franny's supposed to be working this summer, not flirting. But you can't blame her when guys like Alex and Harry are around. . . .

Franny Pearson never dreamed she'd be attending the prestigious Mansfield Summer Theater Program. And she's not, exactly. She's working for her aunt, the resident costume designer. But sewing her fingers to the bone does give her an opportunity to spend time with her crush, Alex Braverman. If only he were as taken with the girl hemming his trousers as he is with his new leading lady.
When Harry Cartwright, a notorious flirt, shows more than a friendly interest in Franny, she figures it can't hurt to have a little fun. But as their breezy romance grows more complicated, can Franny keep pretending that Harry is just a carefree fling? And why is Alex suddenly giving her those deep, meaningful looks? In this charming tale of mixed messages and romantic near-misses, one thing is clear: Flirting might be more trouble than Franny ever expected.  Quoted from Goodreads

3. The Summer I Became a Nerd by Lean Rae Miller

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.  Quoted from Goodreads

4. AKA: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.  Quoted from Goodreads

5. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.  Quoted from Goodreads

 So many great books!  I'll admit, they're just light fun, but that's really what I search for when I'm in the mood for these sort of books. As for my honorable mentions, first and foremost I have to include Perfect Scoundrals by Ally Carter, which, like The Rhithmatist in my new series list, I didn't include it here because I didn't want two books by the same author (a theory I may have to rethink in the near future because some authors are plain old amazing). I also thoroughly enjoyed Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli, The Avery Shaw Experiment by  Kelly Oram, Confederates don't Wear Couture by Stephanie Kate Strohm, and This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

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