5 YA Contemporary Books For Your Staycation

Like me, you might still mostly be staying home, given coronavirus. You might also still have time available in your vacation bank at work. While I do love traveling and going places and having new experiences, I also greatly enjoy a good staycation. My home is a place that I love to be in and just really enjoy. That’s because of purposeful cultivation. While I am on staycation or just off work in general, I love to pick up a good book or two or ten (let’s be real here – I am addicted to reading). Personally, I tend to whip through contemporary young adult books and think these five diverse reads are just the ticket to a great staycation.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

5 YA Contemporary Books For Your StaycationThe Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Also by this author: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
on May 8, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Friendship, People & Places, United States, Asian American, Dating & Sex
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780374304096

An NPR Best Book of 2018A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of 2018A We Need Diverse Books 2018 Must-ReadA TAYSHAS 2019 Reading List BookA California Book Award FinalistFrom the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.
Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

I am just obsessed with Maurene Goo’s books. Now that I have read The Way You Make Me Feel, I am feeling sad because I only have one unread Maurene Goo book left. If you’re looking for young adult contemporary books that tread more on the light side with characters you can’t help but like, pick up Goo’s books. The Way You Make Me Feel falls perfectly into this category as we follow main character Clara through a summer of working her dad’s food truck.

The Way You Make Me Feel opens with Clara being voted prom queen, but because she is a class clown and above such things as earnest caring, she ends up pulling a Carrie prank at prom, burning the gym, and getting in a fight with class president Rose. As punishment, Clara is forced to spend the summer working on her father’s food truck, KoBra, to pay back the money it will cost to fix the damage of her prank and fight. Oh, and Rose has to work the truck too. It does help that there’s an extremely good looking guy who works at the coffee shop near where they park the truck and he also waves the sign around – Hamlet.

What results is a summer where romance finds Clara even though she is resistant. She also partakes in true friendship with another girl – which is rare given her two close friends are guys. Plus, Clara learns to actually care about things and that there is nothing wrong with that. We also get an excellent look at Clara’s relationship with her parents – friends – her dad is only two years older than I am as of the time of writing this. I could absolutely relate to Adrian, her dad, in that he cares so much about Clara. I thought it was an interesting choice that her absent mother who gives the best gifts happens to be an influencer.

The Way You Make Me Feel was such a good read. I had a giant smile after reading it. This book made me just as happy as Goo’s other books do. I am glad I saved it for a time when I was feeling a little bit sad. It helped to pick up my mood.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

5 YA Contemporary Books For Your StaycationFour Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
Also by this author: Racing Savannah, Defending Taylor, Coming Up for Air
on May 5, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Romantic Comedy, Social Themes, Dating & Sex, Friendship
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781492684145

Are they meant to be, or better apart?
Every May 7th, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu's relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It's been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.
Through break-ups, make-ups, and dating other people, each year's trip class brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to Six Flags; New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.

I love sitting down and just inhaling a book – by that I do not mean smelling a book although that is great – I mean ripping through the pages so fast that you look up and you’ve read the book in one go. Four Days Of You And Me by Miranda Kenneally is a book that I picked up after reading a real door stopper and I just fell right into the story so easily. I completely gelled with this book.

Four Days Of You And Me is about Lulu, who is running for freshman class president as the book opens. She loses to Alex, a baseball player and popular kid. This makes Alex Lulu’s mortal enemy. So, we get to where Alex and Lulu are on the freshman class trip together. They end up locked in an escape room. After they figure out the way to escape, they have this attraction to each other. So, the book details four years of on and off relationship between Lulu and Alex. The pivot moments are around the annual class trips. You see, there is an endowment at their school for a special class trip every year. I should also say Lulu is working on writing a graphic novel and Alex works at his family’s restaurant but is also a really talented baseball player.

I don’t know what exactly it was about this book that I just ate up. There was something interesting about the plot structure and timing. It would go into detail on the trips but then we would get flashbacks from the previous year to get context for certain events during the current year’s class trip. I think this moved the story along and kept it from being mired in the mundane or boring.

There are SO many elements of this book I enjoyed – from the chemistry between Lulu and Alex – to her friendships with Grace her cousin and Max her best friend. I loved seeing Lulu’s interactions with her classmates over four years and how she grew as a person. Plus, how Lulu chased her dreams. The romance scenes were sweet. I mean, yes there’s some graphic moments so maybe don’t hand this to a kid. Still, overall, Four Days Of You And Me is an excellent young adult contemporary and the perfect beach or vacation read (even if that vacation is just in your backyard given the times we are in).

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

5 YA Contemporary Books For Your Staycation10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon
Also by this author: From Twinkle, with Love, There's Something about Sweetie, Of Curses and Kisses, Of Princes and Promises
Series: Dimple & Rishi #3
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on July 21, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Diversity & Multicultural, Family, Humorous, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Love & Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC, eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781529325386

Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rockstars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.
Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.
Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents' Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she's made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy - who is a total Harvard-bound Mama's boy - to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer.
When Samir's internship falls through, leaving him with an unplanned summer, he gets a text from Pinky asking if he'll be her fake boyfriend in exchange for a new internship. He jumps at the opportunity; Pinky's a freak, but he can survive a summer with her if there's light at the end of the tunnel.
As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they'll never forget.

I like that 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon has a title that reminds me of one of the best teen romantic comedies ever made – 10 Things I Hate About You. Menon’s story is the third set in her Dimple and Rishi universe and is simply excellent. This book is the perfect beach or summer vacation read.

10 Things I Hate About Pinky tackles the greatest romance tropes – hate to love AND fake dating. I think it’s a tall order to put both tropes in a book at the same time, but Menon makes it work. Pinky is a loud and proud social justice activist, colorful hair and all. She champions quite a few causes to the frustration of her mother. Samir is extremely type A – he puts everything in his planner and plans out all his days.

Samir was planning to do an internship in DC at a prestigious law firm, but it falls through at the very last minute. Pinky is spending the summer in Cape Cod in her family’s lake house with her parents, her aunt and uncle, and cousin Dolly. Pinky ends up asking Samir to be her fake boyfriend in order to prove to her mom that not all her boyfriends are trash and that she doesn’t always make bad decisions.

So, what happens is a summer spent fake dating and those fake feelings inevitably turn into real feelings. I loved the opposites attract angle. FYI, I am so much more of a Samir, and I loved that. He’s not portrayed as bad or one dimensional for liking to make to do lists. That’s his coping skill and it is my coping skill too. There is absolute chemistry between Pinky and Samir and it does take a bit of a slow burn throughout the book -but that makes the payoff excellent.

Set against the backdrop of summer, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon is an essential vacation read that you won’t regret. And heck, you might as well pick up the rest of Menon’s books while you’re at it. It won’t take you long to get through them though, her books are made to be gobbled up.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

5 YA Contemporary Books For Your StaycationSymptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra
Published by Imprint on July 2, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Health & Daily Living, Coming of Age, Family, Multigenerational, People & Places, United States, Asian American
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781250199119

"Doogie Howser, M.D. meets The Fault in Our Stars in this tender romcom." —Teen Vogue
The youngest doctor in America, an Indian-American teen makes her rounds—and falls head over heels—in Sona Charaipotra's contemporary romantic comedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak.
Sixteen-year-old Saira has always juggled family, friendships, and her Girl Genius celebrity. Now, as the youngest med school graduate ever, she can finally achieve her mission to treat young people dealing with cancer.
But proving herself in life-or-death situations is tough when everyone from her boss to her patients can't see past her age to trust her skills. And working in the same hospital as her mom isn't making things any easier!
Life gets even more complicated when Saira falls for a teenage patient. To improve his chances, she risks her lifelong dream—and it could cost her everything.
In her solo debut, Sona Charaipotra brings us a compelling #ownvoices protagonist who’s not afraid to chase what she wants. Symptoms of a Heartbreak goes from romantic comedy highs to tearjerker lows and is the ultimate cure-all for every reader needing an infusion of something heartfelt.
An Imprint Book"Fans of YA contemporary don't want to miss this one." —Buzzfeed

Symptoms Of A Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra really had me in the mood to read more medical based books. I’ve heard the term sick lit and I would say this book does not fall under sick lit, even though there’s some elements there. Rather, this is full on contemporary with a medical bent – which is important – but for me the biggest part was Saira’s coming of age.

Symptoms Of A Heartbreak is about a 16 year old girl who has finished medical school and happens to be the youngest doctor in America. Dr. Saira Sehgal aka the Girl Genius. Saira has a calling to be a pediatric oncologist due to the loss of her best friend Harper at 8 years old. So, now she’s working this program at Princeton Presbyterian in Pediatric Oncology where she hopes to find a job at the end. Along the way, Saira meets a boy, Link, who just so happens to be a patient. Also, Saira has all these expectations placed upon her by her family.

Charaipotra’s book is poignant and deeply engaging. I like that it looks at medicine from an ethics standpoint. It also resists being saccharine and just over the top. This book is so well written and moving. There’s sad moments, but some really sweet and happy moments too. Honestly, Symptoms Of A Heartbreak knocks it out of the park on portraying a loving family, on portraying a girl who is trying to find her place, and exploring first love. I absolutely LOVE this book and can’t wait to pick up more from Sona Charaipotra (I also really liked Tiny Pretty Things).

I received this book for free from Publisher, Library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

5 YA Contemporary Books For Your StaycationDate Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye
Narrator: Vikas Adam
Length: 7 Hours 54 Minutes
Published by Random House Children's Books on May 19, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Diversity & Multicultural, Social Themes, Dating & Sex
Pages: 336
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher, Library
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780593126059

What If It's Us meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a '90s rom-com!
Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new--the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he's never really dated before.
Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.
Kai Sheridan didn't expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there's more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he's awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this "relationship" will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?
Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world--and with each other.

Credit where credit is due, I picked up this book because Andi at Andi’s ABCs told me I need to. I trust her taste implicitly. Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye is a coming of age young adult book about a gay biracial teen boy. I had no idea prior to picking this up that it was ownvoices rep either. I cannot believe I almost missed this delightful book.

The premise of Date Me, Bryson Keller is that every week Bryson Keller dates a different person as part of a dare. Kai Sheridan happens to ask Bryson out on a whim and to his surprise, Bryson agrees to date him secretly. As it turns out though, Bryson has got some layers and is actually a really great boyfriend. Kai finds himself starting to actually fall for Bryson. Further complicating matters is that Kai is not out, as far as he knows Bryson is straight. Oh and also, it is senior year and they are waiting to hear back from colleges.

Okay so I loved the dynamic between Kai and his best friends Donnie and Priyanka – who happen to be dating. They all go to private school together. Donnie’s family is incredibly wealthy but he’s not at all a jerk. I just loved how supportive Donnie and Priyanka were. They’re good people and so loyal. Also, Kai can absolutely trust them.

The romance in Date Me, Bryson Keller is so sweet. I was kind of expecting a jerk moment from Bryson, but it doesn’t happen. Rather, that comes from other quarters. Kai and Bryson balance each other out really well. And if you like reading the falling in love parts, you’ll just love Kevin van Whye’s book.

I happened to read the audiobook because the library had it and that meant I could get to this book so much faster. That was a great choice. Vikas Adam is the narrator and he perfectly embodies Kai. He also takes on a South African accent while narrating the parts with Kai’s dad. I felt like the narration was so skilled and flawless. Don’t miss out on Date Me, Bryson Keller.


I tend to whip through contemporary young adult books and think these five diverse reads are just the ticket to a great staycation.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. The books are very impressive, thank you

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