*This has been defined in the group page as stories that have no fantasy or paranormal element and can include genres such as: horror, coming of age, historical fiction, romance etc.
This was another hard thing to come up with. While I’ve recently been getting into contemporary books a bit, I saw that I haven’t read very many. Some might be slightly cheating, but I wanted to include them for their story quality and my long lasting enjoyment of them. These aren’t in any order 🙂
1. the westing game by ellen raskin
This book won the 1979 Newberry Award, inspired the Disney Channel movie Get A Clue and made my sixth grade English class fun. This is a novel centering around Turtle Wexler and fifteen other characters who find themselves involved with Sam Westing’s will and a murder mystery takes the story off from there. It’s short, funny and a great modern classic to dive into.
2. holes by louis sachar
If you were a 90’s kid, you most likely read this book in grade school and saw the movie starring Shia LeBouf when he was normal. This is a fun adventure story about Stanley, who goes to a rough camp digging deep holes for a couple of greedy people looking for treasure in the dessert. It’s funny and great for kids to read. If you have a sibling, child or friend who wants something quick and lighthearted, give this one a go.
3. between shades of gray by ruta sepetys
This story tells a section of history that the world barely knows of and doesn’t teach in school. A fifteen year old girl and her family are taken from their home in Lithuania and forced on a cramped and doomed train to be taken to a concentration camp in Siberia. Along the way, they face: starvation, madness, loss, prejudice, terror and loss of innocence. This is slightly cheating, but I did want to include it for its powerful story and personal connection of the author.
4. the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by mary ann shaffer and ann barrows
Another slightly cheating one…sorry. I actually found this book at one of my old jobs. I had worked at a desk all day and stayed there for most of the time. Someone had left a copy of this book and never came back for it. Within a few pages, I was engrossed in this wonderful story told entirely through letters. It’s the story of Juliet, who finds the letter from a man she’s never met and discovers the island of Guernsey and the events that shadow WWII. The letters are funny, touching and offer great atmosphere for another forgotten era in history.
5. the writing class by jincy willett
Amy Gallup was a successful writer in her younger years. But after years of “writer’s block”, she’s unhappy, lazy and teaches a community writing class at night. But one of the students turn up dead and they rush to figure out who did it. My English mentor in college loves this book and had us read it for one of our classes. It’s a fun look at writing, especially with some personalities that you might have seen before. If you’re an English nerd, you’ll get a kick out of this. Plus, it’s a fun mystery.
6. the lottery by shirley jackson
Man oh man…the creeps this book gives! If you managed to skip this classic short story in school, you have missed out! It’s an atmospheric short story about a small town and the shocking consequences that happen within about 30-40 pages. Pick it up and be creeped out for yourself if you like creepy stories.
7. a psalm for lost girls by katie bayerl
I really enjoyed this honest, dark and sad debut novel about a broken family and struggling small town after the death of a young girl who was believed to be a saint. The audio book is phenomenal and I can’t emphasize enough that this is one debut novel to be forgotten 🙂
8. crusader by edward bloor
An old favorite back from late elementary/early junior high school. I had bought this hefty book at a school book fair back in the day and really loved it. It’s the coming of age story about a girl whose mother was killed by an unknown killer many years ago and she has to come to terms with that as hate crimes emerge and answers about her mother’s death. This was published way back in 1999, but it was one of the first coming of age stories that I remember loving. It might be a tiny bit cheesy now, but I highly recommend this forgotten late 90’s novel 🙂
9. walk two moons by sharon creech
Another Newberry Award winner and nostalgic pick for me 🙂 I had picked this up in late elementary school and fell in love with this touching and bittersweet story. It’s about a young girl who desperately wants to reunite with her missing mother. With a great family focus and honest characters, it helped me become more of a reader when I was younger. I’m definitely due for a re-read of this childhood favorite.
10. esperanza rising by pam munoz ryan
This YA novel was another childhood favorite of mine with an unforgettable cover that makes me smile every time I look at it. It’s the beautiful story of Esperanza, who lives in a beautiful ranch house in Mexico. But circumstances drastically changes and her family suffers through the Great Depression after fleeing to California. This book is an excellent for young girls to learn about a time long past and Mexican culture. This should be a classic for young readers 🙂
I’m glad I could come up with this many lol. We’ll see how I like newer contemporaries down the road. Let me know if you’ve read some of these! I would love discussing what you think of them and if you had them in school and on your own. I would love some recommendations for contemporaries as well. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day guys 🙂