Good bye, thank you, and keep reading!

I started this blog two years ago because I love contemporary YA fiction and I was a little worried that it was going to fade off into the sunset, except for a few authors who  had already made names for themselves. Instead, I'm happy to report, it's going strong. Every month for the past year, the monthly release calendar I put together for this blog had anywhere from 15 to 30 new releases, and many of those were by debut authors. In addition, this past year, we've seen many contemporary titles selling extremely well. This makes my contemporary-loving heart SO happy!!

And so, because time is precious and authors are busy, busy people, it's this blog that is now going to fade off into the sunset.

Photo Credit: Lisa Schroeder
We'll keep the site up for the next year, in case people want to search the archives. And we'll still tweet from time to time, so if you're on twitter, do follow us: 

Thank you to those of you who have followed along and thank you to those who have bought books and supported contemporary YA. The best thing we can do to keep contemporary YA going strong is to vote with our dollars. When editors see that YA contemporary novels are selling, they buy more!

I can't wait to see what the next year brings. In case you can't either, here's a sneak peek...

Happy reading!!

coming January 2013 from Simon Pulse

coming March 2013 from Bloomsbury

Contemp Fiction: When It's Real, It's Even Creepier - A Guest Post By Kim Purcell

Before You are Trafficked, There are Warning Signs.
When I talk to people about my debut novel, TRAFFICKED, they still ask me how common human trafficking really is. My answer: shockingly common. We are all affected in some way, whether we know it or not. Human trafficking is the second fastest growing crime in America, after drug trafficking, and half of the victims are children.  The good news is that I believe with more attention to this issue, a lot of kids can be saved from this fate.

When I was researching my novel, I found that they’re usually kids who have lower confidence and don’t get enough love or attention from the adults in their lives. They’re vulnerable to a person who seems like he or she is a good listener and really cares about them.  If you know a teen, please show her or him you care. If you are a teen, there are ways to protect yourself.

I recently met an incredible teen at a recent high school visit for TRAFFICKED.  “Ally” (not her real name) is an eloquent, funny, brave African-American teenager who was a victim of sex trafficking. She introduced me to her classmates by delivering a moving spoken word performance about her own experiences with sex trafficking.

“Ally” was a fifteen-year-old virgin when she met her trafficker. Her mom was away, working. Her father was out of the picture. She was alone at home, except for an older sister who was busy with her own life. So, when an older guy befriended her and seemed genuinely interested in her as a person, she felt special and loved. He told her she was beautiful. She never thought she was attractive before. He drove her to and from school, bought her presents and took her out for dinner. She thought he was her boyfriend and believed that he loved her. She calls this “the honeymoon phase.” Then, he coerced her to use drugs and sold her for sex.

This began a year-long cycle of abuse, beatings, apologies, forced drugs and sex, more apologies, declarations of love. She told me everything that comes before “tricks the mind “ so that “even after they trap you into the life, you keep thinking about how they used to treat you and you believe that it makes up for the abuse, disrespect, and the lies.” One day, her mom found a sex advertisement for her own daughter and called the police. “Ally’s” trafficker was sent to jail and “Ally” began her healing.

When “Ally” told me her story, it sounded like so many other stories of human trafficking I heard when I was researching TRAFFICKED. Whether it’s modern-day domestic slavery or sex trafficking, they all experience a grooming or honeymoon phase in which the traffickers develop trust. It happens to foreigners and it happens to Americans too.

I asked “Ally” what she’d like girls to think about, what might have helped her. “One thing I will say is that young people should watch who they spend their time with. Watch out for them asking for favors and trembling like, "Can you just do this for me?" Or saying, "If you loved me as much as I love you then you'll do this for me."”

She says there were warning signs, but she didn’t know what they were. In my research, I found that girls are often pressured to do something they don’t want to do or do it faster than they’re ready. They get gifts that make them feel indebted. The person forces a promise out of them that they don’t want to break. Most importantly, the girls often get some kind of bad feeling, but they don’t listen to it. Their intuition is telling them that something is wrong, but they remember when the person made them feel great. So, they ignore that bad feeling. I would like to encourage all girls, all people, to listen to that voice. You might be scared or feel that you made promises you don’t want to keep, but you need to walk away. It could save your life.

Kim Purcell is a novelist, journalist and teacher. As a reporter, she interviewed drug dealers, prostitutes and murderers and became interested in the trauma they’d experienced as children. She started writing novels while teaching English as a Second Language in Los Angeles and wrote two "practice" novels before TRAFFICKED. After hearing the stories her immigrant students shared with her, she decided to write about human trafficking, and traveled to Moldova, one of the poorest countries of the former Soviet Union, to get to the root of the problem. Her experiences there and her interviews with immigrants in America are the basis for TRAFFICKED.  Kim Purcell lives outside New York City with her husband, two girls and rescue dog. In her spare time, she's a swimmer, a runner and a yogi. She laughs loudly and loves to dance in random locations, like elevators.

Spotlight on NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden

Today is a special day- the release day of NEVER ENOUGH, an amazing new book from Denise Jaden, author of LOSING FAITH!!

NEVER ENOUGH  is a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?

A powerful writer who unflinchingly examines meaningful subjects and elicits powerful emotions in her readers, Denise is already getting rave reviews on her new book.  Publisher's Weekly called NEVER ENOUGH "an intimate and enlightened rendering of anorexia and bulimia" and says it "dramatically illustrates the importance of speaking out and reaching out."

Also releasing TODAY is Denise's touching video where she and other authors share their thoughts on not feeling like enough. It's definitely worth a look!

Also check out Denise talking about her book on her blog tour here! Lots of chances to see what went on behind the scenes and to win some great prize packs! Did some one say WIN!!! Check out Denise's blog for chances to win.

Denise Jaden has been a professional Polynesian dancer, a fitness competitor, a mushroom farmer, a church secretary, and a homeschooling mom. Losing Faith was her first novel. She lives just outside Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and son. Visit her online at or on Twitter at @DeniseJaden.

Spotlight on MESSY by the FugGirls

As far as sequels go, this one is a bit of a game changer. Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan wrote their first book, Spoiled, following two main characters, sisters Molly and Brooke. Messy continues in that tradition of following two points of view, but this time they sub out Molly for her best friend Max, which leads to drama right at the start since Max and Brooke hate each other.

As with most things I read from Cocks and Morgan, Messy had me laugh out loud and often. And this book felt even more compelling than the first (which I also liked) because the plot revolved around something in which these two writers already master: a blog. If you don't follow them on, then you should.

And don't just take my word for it...

  • “I love the way Heather and Jessica write. They’re so funny, and so fashion-y, which is incredibly rare.” – Mindy Kaling, Emmy-nominated writer, actress and New York Times bestselling author of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
  • “Gleefully sending up celebrity blogs and social media… timely satirical touches keep things fresh [...] thanks to a cast of complex characters who offer ample evidence that, F. Scott Fitzgerald notwithstanding, the rich and famous are like you and me.” — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Cocks and Morgan’s signature sassy style is back and stronger than ever. The dialogue is more snappy, the pacing more polished [...] and all of the Fug Girls’ pokes at celebrity ridiculousness made me want to high five them SO BAD.” — Forever Young Adult 
Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

SYNOPSIS according to
Sometimes life gets messy.
After a rocky start in Spoiled, Brooke Berlin and her newly discovered half sister, Molly Dix, have settled into something like sisterly love, but the drama is far from over.
Now that Brooke's caught a taste of fame and her movie star father's attention, she wants to launch a blog that will position her as the ultimate Hollywood insider. But between schoolwork, party-planning committee meetings, and spa treatments, she hardly has the time to write it herself...
Enter Max McCormack, an aspiring author with a terrible after-school job pushing faux meat on the macrobiotic masses of La-La Land. Max reluctantly agrees to play Brooke's ghost-blogger for an impressive salary, and the site takes off, but how long can their lie last? In person, Brooke can't live up to the intellectual wit of, and Max soon begins to resent hiding her genius behind a bandage dress-wearing blonde. Can the girls work together to stay on top, or will the truth come out and ruin everything they've built?

    Spotlight on 37 THINGS I LOVE (In no particular order) by Kekla Magoon!

    Kekla Magoon and I share an agent (Michelle Humphrey). I've been working with Michelle on a non-fiction book about writing grief in fiction lately, and so she sent me a copy of 37 Things I Love, telling me I have to read it. I'm so, so glad she did! What a wonderful look not only at unusual grief, but also at complicated friendships and complicated love. I'm so glad to have read this book and will think of it for a long time to come.

    Here's a little more about the book...

    Ellis only has four days of her sophomore year left, and summer is so close that she can almost taste it. But even with vacation just within reach, Ellis isn’t exactly relaxed. Her father has been in a coma for years, the result of a construction accident, and her already-fragile relationship with her mother is strained over whether or not to remove him from life support. Her best friend fails even to notice that anything is wrong and Ellis feels like her world is falling apart. But when all seems bleak, Ellis finds comfort in the most unexpected places.
    Life goes on, but in those four fleeting days friends are lost and found, promises are made, and Ellis realizes that nothing will ever quite be the same.

    Here's what early reviews have been saying...
    “Magoon (Camo Girl) gently but unflinchingly explores difficult adolescent territory in this intelligent, affecting novel.”—Publishers Weekly

    “…coming of age, death, hope, love—and Ellis is a character to care about and cheer on for a long, long time.”—Horn Book

    "...[a] powerful outing from a rising star."—Kirkus

    Pick up your own copy of this wonderful book at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or at your favorite independent bookstore.

    Spotlight on WHEN YOU WERE MINE by Rebecca Serle!

    What if the greatest love story ever told was the wrong one?

    Wow. I'm a big fan of retellings, and think anyone who even attempts writing one must be a special mix of brilliant and crazy, but wow! What a different spin Rebecca Serle puts on Romeo and Juliet! This is a wonderful debut novel, which hooked me on every level...from the friendships and romance, to the family drama, and even the politics!

    Here's a little more about the book...

    In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale.

    What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.
         Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.
         Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….
    Here's what others are saying about this wonderful book...

    “I swooned. I cried. I loved, loved, loved this delicious novel.” –Sarah Mlynowski, author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) and Gimme a Call

    “A powerful story about the thrill of first love and the devastation of first heartbreak.” –Leila Sales, author of Mostly Good Girls and Past Perfect

    “A sweet, fun, and utterly irresistible read." –Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist

    “A whirlwind of drama, intrigue, political scandal, and romance worthy of the Bard himself. Serle infuses plenty of realism and heart into her tale….She has made such an appealing character that the story goes from being another retelling of R&J to Rosaline’s story, told at long last.” --VOYA

    “This emotionally authentic debut novel about a fragile first love keeps the pages turning….Serle gets the nuances just right. The optimism of new love, the concerned friends after Rose’s heartbreak and the dynamics of a triangle—not just the love triangle between Rose, Rob and Juliet, but also the triangle of female best friends.” --Shelf Awareness

    I hope you'll consider picking up a copy of When You Were Mine. You won't regret it. You can find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or at your local independent bookstore. 

    Spotlight On Terra Elan McVoy and BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS

    From the first time I heard the title of this book, I knew I had to have it. You see I've always been friends with boys. I took one of my best male friends to prom. I was friends with my husband long before we became anything else. When Harry Met Sally is one of my all-time favorite movies. I've always loved even the idea of girls being friends with boys and so I naturally gravitated toward the subject in a book. And--wonderfully enough--Terra and I share an editor, who happened to send me a copy of this very pretty new book!

    The thing with being friends with boys is that it's very risky! It may feel totally normal one moment, and cross over into something completely different in the next. Terra McVoy is a master of capturing those changes over and over and over again (with several different boys!) You will be on the edge of your seat wondering who Char is going to end up with. I know I was!

    Here's a little more about the book...

    From the author of Pure and The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, a friendship story with one girl, several boys, and lots of complications.Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl’s perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys’ band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex–best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free…until it isn’t anymore.
         When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl…and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he might want to be more than friends with Char…being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

    Love, love, love this book! If you'd like to get your own copy (which you totally should!) you can find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or at your favorite independent bookstore.

    Spotlight on UNBREAK MY HEART by Melissa Walker

    Melissa Walker's latest novel, Unbreak My Heart, released yesterday and is a perfect romantic read for the summer!

    From the author's Web site:

    The year that broke her heart. The summer that healed it. A dual love story.

    Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

    ♥ “A super cute love story! Melissa Walker will inspire readers to never stop believing in true love.” —SUSANE COLASANTI, author of When It Happens and Keep Holding On

    ♥ “A raw, real, and ultimately heartwarming discovery of what it means to be a true friend. Walker gets it exactly right.” —JENNIFER ECHOLS, author of Love Story and The One That I Want

    ♥ “ I can’t stress enough how firmly this book has wedged itself in my heart.” -The Hiding Spot

    ♥ ”This book earns an infinity amount of stars!” -Novel Nerd Bailey

    ♥ ”Unbreak My Heart challenged me as a reader…and I loved every bit of it.” -Anna Reads

    ♥ ”There are tinges of Julie Taylor and Matt Saracen in this one. For real, y’all.” -Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

    Find it at IndieBound, B&N, or Amazon. Follow Melissa on twitter at @melissacwalker or visit her Web site at:

    PRETTY AMY by Lisa Burstein

    Sometimes "date" is a four-letter word.

    Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Even worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.
    Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

    cover image from goodreads

    available from Entangled Publishing in both print and ebook formats

    click HERE to read an excerpt!

    connect with the author:


    Spotlight: I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga

    I love a good contemporary mysterious thriller, and Barry Lyga certainly delivers with I HUNT KILLERS.

    What's it like to have a monster for a father? Seventeen-year-old Jazz’s father, Billy Dent, was a serial killer. After over a hundred murders, Billy was finally caught and sent to prison for life - but not before he taught Jazz everything he knew.  Jazz learned everything from how to be disarmingly charming to how to dismember a body - knowledge he intends to never put to use. 

    But when a woman is found dead in a field, Jazz is drawn to the investigation. Then another woman is killed and another - and Jazz falls under suspicion. Together with his hemophiliac best friend, Howie, and his girlfriend, Connie, Jazz decides to hunt down the killer himself. As the investigation falters and the deaths pile up, Jazz must fight his own demons. Can he step of out of his father's shadow, or does evil lurk inside him too?

    This is an intense and sometimes gory read that will appeal to older teens as well as adults. No surprise that it's already been optioned for a TV show.  

    Barry's blog
    Barry's Twitter