SBPT: Offbeat YA

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Hi everyone!

As you may be aware, I am apart of a summer blog tour that was created by The Book Bratz. The summer blog tour allows me to guest on other blogs each Sunday throughout the summer.  Just like I guest on other blogs, other bloggers guest on mine. This week I had the privilege to have Roberta from Offbeat YA post on my blog. Roberta and I came up with various great ideas on what to post for the other person’s blog. In the end, we decided that since I tend to read more romance based contemporary novels that she would post ‘5 Contemporary Novels to Read if You Need a Break from Romance’ and when I guest on her blog I will be posting ‘My Top 5 Least Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations’.

ABOUT ROBERTA: Roberta R. is a senior blogger with a penchant for YA books. Her love of music has landed her a job as a host for a local radio station. Her fancy for TV series, from police procedural to sci-fi to urban fantasy, causes her to experiment wild adventures with too many fictional characters in her night dreams. Her urge to spread the love for overlooked YA novels drove her to start her blog, Offbeat YA, in 2012.


5 Contemporary Novels to Read if You Need a Break from Romance

I have a confession to make: I don’t do romance. *stunned silence ensues*

I like my books to deal with a lot of different themes, and to explore a huge variety of issues…but to me, love has to take the back seat.

After such a statement on my part, you may be surprised to learn that, in fact, some of my favourite YA novels belong in the Contemporary genre. They are usually stories about friendship, and finding one’s calling, and being different, and staying true to oneself. Love may play a role in them, but they’re not stories about falling in love.

So, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite titles with you…in case you don’t do romance either, or you’re simply fed up with love angst and love triangles, and you’re looking for something different and fresh for a change. Here are five YA novels I absolutely recommend if that’s the case!

Based on the title and the cover, I should have stayed away from this one like it was radioactive LOL. I can’t remember why I took the time to read the blurb, but boy, I’m so glad I did. The main themes are bullying/abuse, a MF friendship that transcends love, and most of all, staying true to oneself. Some reviewers have issues with the ending, because it’s bittersweet…not to mention, it doesn’t neatly wrap up the book with a pink bow. But it’s a heartfelt coming-of-age story that I highly recommend.

This is, indeed, a story about love…only, not a love story. It’s an oldie, too – the year’s 1973. But don’t let such a mundane detail influence your decision of reading it or not. This simple but compelling story of friendship, prejudices and coming out features a great cast of characters, among which a 16 y.o. girl (the narrator) with a closeted gay friend. An emotional and honest book, full of characters who – whether they have a line or a hundred – sound, for the most part, real.

Written in 2001, set in the ’80s, not to miss solely based on these petty details :). It’s the story of two friends and the man they both love – only, it’s not a love triangle, and not a love story either. It’s both the choral tale of a band’s struggle to achieve recognition, and a series of individual portraits, full of dark corners. It’s a coming-of-age story bathed in music and told in an evocative prose. If you want to know how it was before talent shows took over and stars were made and unmade overnight, read this one. It might open your eyes on what talent, honesty and passion for music really stand for…

Told in diary entries, this one features virtually no action, but makes amends for it by its introspective but lively prose, rich imagery, authentically-teen-yet-often-mature remarks and speculations, and bittersweet fun. Oh, there’s love, too. The main character has a boyfriend…or maybe she used to…and many pages are devoted to their relationships. Only, like the previous book, this is not a love story as much as a coming-of-age one. Also, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath serves as a kind of paradigm for the whole narrative. Deep and fun at the same time.

Like Sweethearts, another MF friendship story with an open – and bittersweet – ending. The friendship is offbeat, if slightly unhealthy; the heroine’s family is not conveniently absent, if a bit oblivious; the narrative voice is fresh, original and genuine; the coming-of-age aspect is nicely done. Also, this one features a late night radio show, with a set of quirky characters – not to be seen often in YA novels.

I hope I was able to sparkle an interest for the above books in some of you at least! More contemporary books (some of which featuring magical realism) can be found in the Contemporary Room of my blog. Huge thanks to Marissa for having me, and of course, best of luck to her blog too! Also, round of applause for The Book Bratz, who put this awesome tour together. You rock!

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