Yesterday two of my best friends in the whole wide world came round to my house. We had a lovely catch up session and talked about what we've been up to so far this summer, and what we're hoping for in the coming school year. It was really nice to see them after so many weeks, as even though we'd kept in contact via email (sort of), I don't think it compares to seeing people in the flesh.
Anyway, today I'm starting a new series of posts on my blog: my top five of anything. It's a really simple idea, where I basically pick a category and show you/write about my top five of something, whether it's clothes, bags, perfumes, stationery or YouTubers (watch out for that one!). Today I'm going to be showing you my top five contemporary teen fiction books - if you know me at all, you'll be aware that books are one of my favourite things in the universe, and I have a lot of them, which is why it was practically impossible to narrow it down to my top five favourites. However, I managed it in the end, and came up with a list of my current favourite single novels, i.e. books which aren't part of a series.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
I first read Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin several years ago, and since then I've reread it again and again. The book is told from the point of view of 15-year-old Liz, who has just become the victim of a hit-and-run accident which killed her. She finds herself in a place called Elsewhere, where people age backwards from the point at which they died, and are eventually reborn back to Earth. Elsewhere is a wonderful novel that puts an original and above all hopeful spin on heaven and life after death.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson is one of those books that made me cry buckets and reach for the tissues. Lennie Walker's sister Bailey has just died, and the story is about the impact her death has on the family left behind, and how they cope with their overwhelming grief. For Lennie this means writing poetry to her dead sister and finding comfort in the arms of her sister's boyfriend, while her family slowly fall apart around her. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, as it's one of the more little-known books of this type I've read.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I found The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold at a second-hand booksale a few months ago. It sat on my book shelf for weeks, until one day my friend Elisha mentioned it and I had an odd sense of deja vu (or should I say, deja acheté) and decided to read it. The Lovely Bones is narrated by 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who was brutally murdered by a serial killer on her way home from school. Over the next few years Susie keeps watch over her family and friends from her version of Heaven, as her siblings grow up and experience everything she never got to. Chilling and sickening at times, The Lovely Bones is a dark portrait of grief in the aftermath of tragedy.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is another stunningly poignant tale of grief and depression, told with originality and flair. Clay Jensen finds a mysterious package containing several cassette tapes - they have been recorded by his classmate Hannah Baker, who committed suicide not long before. Hannah explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself, and thirteen people who will receive the set of tapes and listen to her story.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green is one of the most over-quoted books of the moment, with the possible exception of The Fault in Our Stars by the same author. However, there is a reason why so many people are obsessed with it, and that is that it's a novel that many people can relate to, told flawlessly in the voice of a teenage boy falling in love for the first time. When Miles Halter moves to Culver Creek Boarding School, he meets Alaska Young, who enthralls Miles and steals his heart. But Looking for Alaska is a lot more than just a love story, it's a tale of friendship and grief that has captured the imagination of countless readers across the globe (and also on Tumblr, let's not forget).
I hope you enjoyed my brief summary of each of my top five contemporary teen fiction titles. Please leave a comment down below if you're read any of these, or if you have any recommendations for me in the same genre.