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2017 books I need to get my hands on: contemporary!

This week on the blog I’m highlighting the upcoming novels of the first half of 2017 (January – June) that I cannot wait to read. Monday I discussed non-fiction and yesterday I chatted about sci-fi and fantasy. Today I have the contemporary novels that need to be in my life.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan | January 31, 2017
Not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for a vibrant, illustrated cover. Middle Grade always brings its A game with cover art and Short is no exception. Julia is performing in her town’s production of The Wizard of Oz and, being short for her age, she’s been cast as a Munchkin. As rehearsals wear on, Julia begins to get to know the rest of the cast: there’s Olive, an adult with dwarfism and Julia’s artsy neighbor Mrs. Chang. This one sounds like it could be really adorable with a message (though Julia is tiny, her heart is big). And I can totally relate to Julia btw – I’m teensy too!

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley | March 7, 2017
“Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.” Oh hello, novel that will break me! Whenever I stayed home sick from school my morning consisted of daytime talk shows and I’ll never forget one episode of Maury. No, it wasn’t a paternity test show, but an episode that feature a little girl who was allergic to water. WATER. I don’t remember all the details now, but doctors had created a cream (lotion? spray?) that she could put on and it would protect her skin. Close Enough to Touch reminded me of that episode of Maury the moment I first heard about it: Jubilee is allergic to human contact. For the past nine years she’s been holed up inside her house, but now her mother has passed away and with no financial support, Jubilee will need to leave her house and make her way in the world.

The Heartbeat of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber | March 14, 2017
Wing Jones lives in a tiny town that lives for football. Unfortunately, the star on the field is her older brother. He’s athletic, popular, good-looking…basically everything Wing isn’t. Everything changes one night when Marcus drunkenly drives home after a party. Intoxicated, he kills two people and barely makes it out alive himself. Now he’s in a coma and Wing is the one suffering for her brother’s actions: she’s tormented in school, she has to be the support her family needs to get through their grief, and worst of all is that, due to the medical bills they can’t afford, the family could potentially lose their home. Wing begins sneaking out at night to run the track at school and when her talents are realized, Wing has the opportunity to receive a sponsorship from a Big Name athletic company.

Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott | March 28, 2017
I have never read any of Victoria’s books, but her first Middle Grade novel seems like an excellent place to start! After losing hearing in one ear and with her mom having abandoned the family, Sloan is now terrified to leave the house or be apart from her dad and sister. In an attempt to help her get over her fears, her father has Sloan stay home by herself for an evening she won’t forget. A horrible snowstorm makes it impossible for anyone to get in – or out – of their isolated Alaskan town. What’s worse: the wolves who normally stay away from humans are now without food and have begun making their move. This reminds me of The Quality of Silence, another novel set in Alaska that had me panicking. Not because it was a horror novel, but because of the stillness, the emptiness of the land that stretched on forever.

How to Stage a Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly | April 1, 2017
I admittedly don’t know much about this one other than 1, it has another fantastic cover and 2, when Juicebox Children’s Theatre is threatened, a group of kids come together to think of a way to save it. Middle School + drama kids. Yep, I’m there!

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer | April 4, 2017
Brigid wrote the Elemental series and introduced me to those Merrick boys so I will absolutely read anything she writes. A girl copes with her mother’s death by leaving letters at her grave. A boy serving his court-ordered community service at the cemetery comes across one of those letters and writes back. Before either one knows it, Juliet and Declan have formed a connection, writing letters back and forth, all the while unaware they know each other from school.

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White | April 11, 2017
Yes, this takes place in Georgia, and yes, I DO sing the song every single time I think about this book. After finally reading one of her novels back in 2015, Karen instantly became an author I will absolutely read. This latest novel centers around a recently-divorced single mom as she makes a new start in Sweet Apple, Georgia. When a local blog uncovers the scandal that caused her marriage to fall apart, Merilee realizes her fresh start isn’t going to be as easy as she had hoped. The crotchety town matriarch sees something in Merilee, however, and takes her under her wing, showing Merilee there’s more to this town than the gated communities and overly-tanned soccer moms let on.

The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig | May 2, 2017
I actually hadn’t heard of this one until it showed up at my door recently. 14-year-old Ginny Moon has finally found her forever home with a family foster kids dream about. So then why is she so desperate to go back to her abusive, drug-addicted birth mother? Ginny is also autistic and that, combined with the foster care and abusive/drugs from her birth mother, are going to make this one tough read. Though it doesn’t come out until May, The Original Ginny Moon has already received a ton of praise, including a blurb from Graeme Simsion!

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert | May 16, 2017
I thought The Coincidence of Coconut Cake was such a fun, fluffy romance and have been eager to read more from Reichert! Sanna is a fifth generation cider-maker who only wants to live a nice, quiet life on the family orchard. After years of keeping his son’s troubled mother away, Isaac decides to pack up and move to California, where he happens to pull up at Sanna’s orchard. I expect this will be another sweet, light-hearted romance!

In a Perfect World by Trish Doller | May 23, 2017
In 2015 I took a gamble at the library and picked up my very first Trish Doller novel, The Devil You Know. I devoured it and instantly became a fan. Her latest novel is about a girl from Ohio who has her summer and senior year planned: Caroline will explore the town with her boyfriend, work over the summer with her bestie, and attend soccer camp where – finger’s crossed – she’ll make team captain in the fall. Then her mother delivers a bombshell: she’s been hired to open a clinic in Cairo. As in Egypt. Suddenly Caroline’s plans are thrown into a tailspin and she’s convinced she’ll be spending the entire year depressed and horribly homesick. But Egypt just might surprise her..

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
A girl uses kdramas to up her flirtation game. I’m already starry-eyed.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | June 13, 2017
I’m getting a distinct June vibe here: a classic film actress-now-reclusive Hollywood icon is ready to tell her life’s story. There’s only one reporter she wants to talk to though, and it’s unclear why Evelyn would choose Monique, but she’ll gladly take the opportunity to get her career back on track. I’m all about old school Hollywood and the scandalous truths behind the glitzy ballgowns and lavish parties – whether they’re real or fictional!

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