Bookish Stuff,  Young Adult Genres 101

YA Genres 101: Contemporary

After discussing YA in general, Fantasy and Science Fiction, my YA Genres 101 series continues with the Contemporary genre! We’ve discussed YA in general, Fantasy and Science Fiction. Now it’s time for part four in my YA Genres 101 series, which is all about contemporary! I have to admit I haven’t read that many contemporary novels. The photo speaks for itself, the only contemporaries I’ve read are written by John Green. I have maybe one or two others on my shelf, but that’s it! I’ve grown quite interested in Contemporary, so let’s dive straight into this post!

Disclaimer: I apologise in advance if any of my information incorrect or incomplete. I’ve not read much Contemporary. Usually I know thinks and explain things from/with examples, but for this post, that was nearly impossible. ¬†I still wanted to publish this post, because I do feel like knowing the basics can be useful to you guys.

Before we go into the details of the YA Contemporary genre, it might be a good thing to know what exactly contemporary means. Here’s what I found:

Comtemporary: 1) existing, ocurring or living at the same time; beloning to the same time. 2) of about the same age or date. 3) of the present time; modern.

YA Contemporary is a modern day, realistic genre. The characters are, of course, young adults. It’s usually written from first person point of view. The characters deal with anything today’s teen/young adults deal with. This could be falling in love (for the first time), living with a (mental) illness, being bullied, etc.

The antagonist or “villain” of the story can be a person, like a bully, or parents getting in the way of a character’s dreams, but it could also be cancer (like in The Fault in Our Stars) or a mental illness that the character¬†has to live with. The antagonist isn’t always bad. Take Paper Towns for example. Margo disappears, which makes Q go on this crazy journey to find her. She’s not bad at all, she’s just the reason Q goes out to do something.


Unlike Fantasy or Sci-Fi, Contemporary doesn’t really have subgenres, but more like categories. Some contemporary focuses on romance (which could be an actual subgenre, I just don’t think of it that way because most YA has romance.) Others focus on LGBT and sexuality, or on mental health. Some contemporaries are fluffy, light and funny. Others are terribly sad and real. Then there are others that really make you think. Contemporary is usually a mix of multiple things. The Fault in Our Stars, for example, is about two teenagers falling in love (romance), while also dealing with cancer(living with a health issue).

Standalones & Series

YA Contemporary books are usually standalones. Meaning it’s rare to find a trilogy or series in this genre, but duologies are found a little more often. Anna & the French Kiss, for example, is part of a trilogy. If I stay is part of a duology.

Books mentioned in this post:
The link will bring you to Goodreads!

The Fault in Our Stars | Paper Towns | Anna & The French Kiss | If I Stay

Do you like YA Contemporary? What’s your favourite book?

PS. Next week I’ll be back to end the YA Genre 101 series with an overview of other YA genres!

YA Genres 101 Blog Series

Introduction | Fantasy | Science Fiction

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