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Young Adult Books

Award winning and recommended young adult books available in the CMC

About Contemporary Realism

Contemporary Realism encompasses novels that take place in the present day and are "true-to-life"—meaning the events of the novel, while fictional, could plausibly happen in our world. There are no elements of fantasy (magic, ghosts, mythical creatures) or science fiction (futuristic technology, aliens, etc.) in these books. We have broken down contemporary realism into the following subgenres, themes, and categories. While books can contain elements of multiple categories (for example, romance will be present in many coming-of-age stories), their placement has been decided by the major focus of the story.

  • Romance: Centers around a romantic relationship between two people. By definition, romance novels always have a "Happily Ever After" (or at least a Happily For Now) ending.
  • Coming-of-Age and Identity: Features a main character who is discovering who they are and who they want to be, with personal growth as the focus of the novel. Many (but not all) LGBTQ+ novels fall into this category as characters explore their sexuality or gender.
  • Family: Focused on the relationships between family members, including themes such as divorce, grief, adoption, abuse, and sibling relationships.
  • Illness and Mental Health: Features a main character who is dealing with their own physical or mental illness or the illness of a friend or family member.
  • Current Issues: Themed around timely topics, like politics (immigration) or social issues (sexual harassment or racism).

Examples of YA Contemporary Realism Books