Book List

20 Engrossing Contemporary Novels to Read Right Now

June 19, 2018
Sam Benson
Riveted Editorial Board

There is nothing better than a good contemporary read. Sure, I sometimes love to whisk myself away to fantasy worlds or immerse myself in books that show us a glimpse of what life was like a few hundred years ago, but usually, it’s the contemporary books that strike me the most. I connect with them on a personal level because the stories feel like they could happen to someone I know. Check out some of my favorites below and comment with your favorite contemporary read!

20 Engrossing Contemporary Novels to Read Right Now!

1. Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes.  Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

2. The Year of Living Awkwardly by Emma Chastain

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Mean Girls as lovably flawed high school student Chloe Snow chronicles another year in her life while she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

3. The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel.

4. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
A gorgeous and emotionally resonant debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school.

5. Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Feminism + ice cream + friendship + romance = the perfect contemporary novel.

6. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

7. Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

“Smart and funny, with characters so real and vulnerable, you want to send them care packages. I loved this book.” —Rainbow Rowell. Do you need a reason other than a Rainbow Rowell quote to pick up a book? I don’t think so.

8. Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller

Seventeen-year-old Dessa Rhodes is torn between leaving her modern nomadic life and pursuing her dreams of becoming an artist.

9. From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true.

10. A Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca

A Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca

A mystery kiss during a blackout at a football game leads Macy on the hunt for the culprit she suspects is a guy who made her junior year of high school really difficult. When new transfer and bad boy, Noah, takes credit for the kiss, things get a little more complicated.

11. Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
The first novel in Abbie Glines’ Field Party series, about a small Southern town filled with cute boys in pickup trucks, Friday night football games, and crazy parties that stir up some major drama.

12. The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes

The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes
A shy, rule-following teen winds up joining a local rock band in this laugh-out-loud, heartfelt coming-of-age novel.

13. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

14. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

A girl who can’t speak and a boy who can’t hear go on a journey of self-discovery and find support with each other in this gripping, emotionally resonant novel.

15. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

16. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this funny and poignant coming-of-age novel from New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.

17. Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected.

18.Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

19. The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

How do you let go of something you’ve never had?

Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind.

20. The Place Between Breaths by An Na

From master storyteller and Printz Award–winning author An Na comes a dark, intensely moving story of a girl desperately determined to find a cure for the illness that swept her mother away, and could possibly destroy her own life as well.


Not in the mood for a contemporary book? Try one of these addicting fantasy novels!