If there one thing to know about me it is that I live for a good series, especially a good fantasy or supernatural series. An author can take the books and the readers anywhere and they can do anything. While they are my go-to, you must know that I absolutely love, love LOVE a good standalone. There are times when I need a break from long fantasy series and I turn to my handy dandy contemporary standalones. They are so great: a story you can finish in one sitting and know the complete tale. I dare you to read some of the titles I’ve listed below and not fall in love.
Have you ever read something and it just spoke to your soul? Like you’re reading and just feel happy and you fall in love with it? Well that was this book for me. It was just so good and refreshing. Danyal is portrayed in the way we often see female protagonists–he’s pretty but not very smart in school, so he’s thought of as an airhead. He loves to cook but people think that’s not a real career for a man. He isn’t taken seriously, and people think his looks are all he has to offer. But he does! And it’s awesome to get to hear his story from his perspective.
Even though no one takes Danyal seriously, he doesn’t lack confidence. He isn’t the smartest, but he’s funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. He is bummed that his longtime crush, Kaval, and her family, don’t think he’s an ideal arranged-marriage prospect. When Danyal gets selected for a school-wide academic championship, he plans to show everyone he’s smarter than they think. As Danyal gets help from Bisma, who is brilliant and uninterested-in-him. The more time they spend together…the more he learns from her…the more he cooks for her…the more he realizes that happiness may be staring him right in his pretty face.
If the brilliant cutthroat shutdowns of a debate team and Mean Girls had a baby it would be this book. Filled with humor, some vigilante justice and compelling characters, this one checks all the boxes.
A new school promises a fresh start for Sydney, only Eaganville isn’t like other high schools. It’s ruled with an iron fist by a speech team that embodies the most extreme winner-takes-all philosophy. Sydney is befriended by a group of fellow misfits, each of whom has been personally victimized by the speech team. It turns out Sydney is the perfect plant to take down the speech team from within. Sydney throws herself into making Nationals in speech, where she will be poised to topple the corrupt regime. But when Sydney realizes she actually has a shot at…winning? Sydney lost everything because of her dad’s obsession with being on top. Winning at speech might just be her ticket out of a life of loserdom. Can she really walk away from that?
Though this maybe seems like just a fun rom-com it also explores mental health, race and self-acceptance. This one has a lot depth to it and can speak to a lot of people.
Jocelyn has a few wishes for junior year but when her father tells her their family restaurant may be going under, and all wishes are off. Because her dad has the marketing skills of a dumpling, it’s up to Jocelyn and her unlikely new employee, Will, to bring A-Plus Chinese Garden into the 21st century. What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more. But family prejudices and the uncertain future of A-Plus threaten to keep Will and Jocelyn apart. It will take everything they have and more, to save the family restaurant and their budding romance.
Equal parts witty and profound, this one will have you laughing and pausing to gather your feelings. Everything in one!
Chamomile has whiplash from traveling between her two universes: school (the relentless countdown to prom, torturous college applications, and the mindless march toward an uncertain future) and home, where she wrestles a slow, bitter battle with her father’s terminal illness. Enter Brendan, a man-bun- and tutu-wearing hospital volunteer with a penchant for absurdity, who strides boldly between her worlds—and helps her open up a new road between them.
I must confess I went to sleepaway camp once and I didn’t like it. I’m just not a summer camp girl but this one makes me wish I was. It is the absolute perfect summer novel. Whether you’re a camp kid yourself, or just want to read something that is summer vacation wrapped in a sequin-patch jacket, this is for you.
Randy has loved every summer he’s spent at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he performs in the camp musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim…who doesn’t know Randy exists. Randy isn’t Hudson’s type at all but not to worry Randy has plan. Randy will make Hudson fall for him even if he has to give up the things he enjoys most: theater, nail polish, and his unicorn sheets. But as misdirection and hijinks arise, and he and Hudson grow closer, he has to ask himself, is all this worth it for love? And is it really even love if Hudson doesn’t know who he is?
I live for a fun laugh-out-loud standalone and I pretend to shy away from ones that will make me cry but I secretly love them. Sometimes you need the powerful ones too. This one from beloved Brandy Colbert, tackles tough issues in an engrossing read.
Suzette returns to Los Angeles from the boarding school where she was forced to spend the past semester, she’s uncertain of whether she wants to return to Massachusetts or stay in California. CA is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil); and her step-brother Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. When Suzette and Lionel begin to fall in love with the same girl, however, Lionel’s disorder takes a turn for the worse and spirals out of control, forcing Suzette to confront her own demons. Having betrayed a secret girlfriend in her boarding school, allowing her to take the brunt of homophobic bullying, Suzette must face her own past mistakes, come to terms with her bisexuality, and find a way to help her brother, before he hurts himself—or worse.