11 Contemporary Books to Read When You Need a Distraction

Contemporary books lying on a wooden table

Hi friend! You hanging in there? Me too. On Tuesday, I shared my list with 10 fantasy books to read while we’re all at home. Today I’m sharing some of my contemporary books (Young adult and adult) that will give you a distraction from the crazy things that are happening in the world.

If you’re like me, it might take a second to get into the book. You might say “hey no you can’t throw a huge party” to your characters before you realize that they are not in fact living during the time of COVID-19 (or at all cause they’re fictional but shhh…) Just keep reading. I promise these books will boost your mood.

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. The Serpent King is one of my all-time favorite books. The writing is amazing, the characters will break your heart and make you laugh. You’ll definitely cry, but I think it’ll be worth it. Actually, I promise it will be worth it. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

“If you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.”



Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. Hi, Yes. It’s time for you to join me in the Jeff Zentner fan club. Don’t believe me? His YA contemporaries are amazing. I hope to write books like him someday. But for now, I’ll read and reread his. Goodbye days is hard-hitting. When all of his friends die in a car accident, Carver has to deal with the fact that he’s the only one still alive. This one is sad but will fill you with hope.



Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner. Unlike Jeff’s first two books, this one is definitely more of a comedy. We follow two teens who have big dreams and a small tv show where they talk about horror films.



Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. I read this adult romance last year. This one jumps back and forth from the past to the present. It covers some heavier topics (like death) but the romance was cute. The ending felt a little rushed, but it still made my top books of 2019!



Again, but Better by Christine Riccio. Okay. I LOVE Christine! I didn’t start watching her Youtube channel until after I started reading her book, but now I just love both. Again, but Better follows Shane who’s going on a study abroad to do college better. She has lots of adventures, falls in love, and then with a twist of fate, everything changes.

This is our pick for the Book Lovers Book Club in April if you want to read it with us! I’m so excited to read it again. Read my full review here.



Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. I really love this book, I just read it again for the second time last month. It’s all about growing up, chasing dreams, and finding out who you are. I love the audio!



Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. What a sweet, sweet YA book. And it takes place in my hometown of Provo! We follow a gay boy new to the area who falls in love with the TA in one of his classes. I thought Christina Lauren did a great job talking about my faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints/Mormons) along with being gay in Provo. It’s one of the sweetest stories and I loved it!

You might also like Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda which was another feel-good book that I LOVED.



Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. This is one of my all-time favorite books! There’s a great mental health rep. And I love a book about being part of a fandom. Eliza is internet famous because of a webcomic she creates. But no one knows who she really is. When a new boy at school becomes her friend and she realizes he’s one of her biggest fans, will she tell him the truth about who she is or keep pretending she’s someone else?

If you want another book about nerds/bookworms/fandoms you might also like Queens of Geek which Is another favorite of mine.



Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. The new YA contemporary that I’ve been raving about since I read it in January. It’s light and cute and the Twitter banter is hilarious. You’ll want a grilled cheese sandwich, but you’ll fall in love with Pepper and Jack Pepperjack, get it ;)) See my full review here.



One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Emma fell in love with Jesse the first time she saw him. One year after they’re married his plane goes down in the Alaskan sea. Emma slowly rebuilds her life and finds love again. Three years after Jesse’s death Emma is happy, thriving, and engaged to Sam. When she gets a call from her husband, who isn’t actually dead. Who will she choose when both are her true love?



Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. This book was powerful and captivating. It had some heavier themes, but the author approached them in a way that made them feel less heavy. Definitely a favorite of 2020.

I’ve been feeling a lot calmer now that I avoid the news and only get updates directly from the CDC. We’re staying in and just living our normal lives (cause I was already home most of the time!) But a lot of these books have pulled me up out of dark places and I had to share them with you.

Wondering where to get a book if your library is closed? Here are some suggestions:

  • Give your library a call. They may still have some staff working and could do a curbside pickup, if not:

  • Libby, Overdrive, or Hoopla. These all use your library. Just login with your library card and get access to e-books and audiobooks instantly!

  • Libro.fm is my favorite Audible alternative. It’s the same price but you get to pick a local bookstore to support your purchases. Get your first month/book free here. It’s $14.99/month after your first month

  • Scribd is like Netflix but for audiobooks. They have a decent selection, and you can listen to as many books as you want each month, you just don’t own them as you do with Audible or Libro.fm. Scribd is currently free for your first 30 days!

  • Purchase on Amazon – physical, ebook, or audio. Don’t have a kindle? Download the Kindle app on your phone to read e-books.

  • Use Bookstore Link to purchase from your local bookstore (I may or may not have just ordered 3 books from my local bookstore today…)


What’s your go-to contemporary when you need a distraction? Have you read any of these or would you add others to the list?

Contemporary books lying on a wooden table


  1. Thanks for the suggestions, I’m finally catching up on some of my reading, and now I have more to add to the list!

    1. You’re welcome! It’s a great time for reading, I hope you enjoy these 🙂

  2. YA fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and I was looking for some new books to add to my reading list! Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. You’re welcome! It’s one of my favorites too!

  3. Contemporary fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, so it’s great to see this list! I don’t think I’ve read any of these yet, but I definitely recognize a few of the authors included. I have some new books to add to my list now!

    1. It’s just so good! Give me all the contemporary fiction! I hope you enjoy these! 🙂

  4. I easily have half of these on my TBR right now – but the only one I’ve read is Tweet Cute and I can definitely vouch for how adorable and fun it is! I can’t wait to check out some of the others soon!

    1. Tweet Cute is so adorable!! And I think you’ll love these once you pick them up 🙂

  5. Tweet Cute seems like just the kind of book I need to kick me out of a reading slump! I’m keeping on my wishlist as a reference when I need it! Thanks!!

    1. It would definitely help you out of a reading slump! I hope you enjoy it once you get to it 🙂

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