Saturday 5 July 2014

Discussion: How a fantasy lover fell in love with contemporary- A response

I was looking at some blog posts today and came across this post from Asma at Icey Books, where she talks about a turn in her feelings about contemporary. I couldn't help thinking "me too"!

I always describe myself as a reader of fantasy novels. I love dystopian stories, other worlds and situations where anything is possible. Whenever anyone asks me what I like to read, I usually reply with "Teen fantasy types with werewolves, vampires, dragons etc". I love these books and probably 90% of my bookshelves are filled with these types of stories.

So how come whenever I do occasionally pick up a contemporary novel it gets a 5 star rating? 

Asma says in her post "I never liked contemporary. For starters, the genre was boring — there was no magic, castles, dragons, fairies, princes, or epic sword fights.

I have a similar issue with this genre...  in theory. I mean I always think that real life can be depressing enough. For me, I work a full time job, so I get home at around 6pm, knackered after being on my feet all day, tired and fed up, make some dinner, and sit and watch TV. I talk to my family, I see my friends. I have money worries, health worries- life is humdrum enough. I have enough problems of my own without reading about someone elses. 

I already live in this world with all it's problems, so when I get some free time I love to escape into books with magical new worlds, where anything could happen, books with dragons, princesses, knights, people with powers, people living in outer space, steampunk worlds with fairies or wizards. Give me some excitement and some magic! I love the feeling that absolutely anything is possible in stories. I like the epic good versus evil- trying to stop a sorcerer who is trying to take over the world types of stories.

But some of the contemporary books I have read have had the power to really move me, and make me cry and it is a different kind of good versus evil. It is people overcoming tragedy or changing their life for the better, and as sad as they can make me, it can warm my heart as well. 

Some of my absolute all-time favourite contemporary books that I LOVE and would recommend to anyone are-

*Books that REALLY made me cry-

  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson  5 of 5 stars. Loved this! Read my review here
  • If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. These books are just perfection and I cried my eyes out.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I cried, I laughed, I loved these characters. 

*Books of first love and the changes that come with the end of High School-
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This won my pick for Best of the Bunch January
  • The whole of the Pushing The Limits series by Katie McGarry- I adore these books, I fall in love every time!
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

*Books following hardship or tragedy
  • If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch.  5 of 5 stars- This made my top 3 books of 2013
  • Stolen by Lucy Christopher. 5 of 5 stars. This has been re-read many times.
  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A Tucker. 5 of 5 stars

*Books with a forbidden romance
  • Drowning Instinct by Ilsa Bick- 5 of 5 stars- read my gushing review here
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma- 5 of 5 stars review here

*Funny books
  • Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan review here
  • The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Miller
  • Au Revoir Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Contemporary books have the power to power to move us and make us think. They can be profound and gripping with characters that you can really relate to. Sometimes just getting into the head of a wonderfully written character and living life through their eyes is like escaping into a whole other world. I love fantasy books for the characters as much as for the escapism, and with a good contemporary book, you can feel the emotions, the dramas, the friendships and the journey- just like fantasy. When I started writing this post I didn't intend on creating such a huge list, but as I went on I didn't want to leave anything out! I guess I can admit that I am a lover of contemporary books after all. 

I think I will probably always be more of a reader of fantasy, but I have recently been buying more contemporary books to read. I look forward to seeing if they can move me as much as these ones listed have done. 


  1. I'm still not a big fan of contemporay - especially YA contemp, but I like genres of contemporary - like Mystery and Romance is perfect for when I'm in a reading funk (the cheesier the better). But I don't write off the entire genre. I'll still pick up contemp. books from time to time - sometimes they move me, sometimes they don't.

    Tanya Patrice

  2. The books that made you cry are the books I hated so bad. HAHA The summer I became a nerd so so adorable! I would reread that, I read that a year ago and I totally forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder. HAHA

  3. I prefer fantasy and its sub-genres (like steampunk etc) as well, but lately I have been picking up more contemporary fiction and then also things like mysteries. It's nice to change things up once in a while :)

  4. I'm totally the same! I know so many people who read contemporaries and rarely ever think about picking up fantasy. But it's like...why read about other people's problems (when you have your own)...especially with realistic contemporaries, that have bittersweet endings or just depressing endings. I'm always just like "There's enough unhappy endings in real life, thankyouverymuch." Fantasy always transports you to another place, where you can let go of where you are, and just live through another person's life for a bit where the odds of it all ending well are pretty high (compared to real life lol).
    Also, I really really want to read The Fault in Our Stars. I'm scared to watch the movie without reading the book first lol.
    Anyways, awesome post and have a great week!
    Caroline @ Bon Bons and Reveries

  5. What a lovely post and some really great recommendations. I'm so glad that despite your fantasy preferences that you've found some excellent contemporary books you've loved as well!


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