An Abundance of YA & Contemporary – Book Haul #5

Well, well, well… I think I’ve built up quite a reputation in my local charity shop. I’d go as far as to say I’m a regular customer now, and always manage to leave with an armful of books after my weekly visits.

These past few weeks I managed to score a bunch of YA and contemporary books I’ve been eyeing for a while (and some I haven’t).

Let’s see the loot!

After I finished Eleanor & Park, I decided I want to read some more books by Rainbow Rowell. Lucky for me, I found two and they seem to be pretty popular. They do sound a bit too romancey and fluffy for my tastes though, but maybe I won’t hate them completely. I’ll report back as soon as I read them. (Might be in 10 years… just sayin’, so don’t hold your breath…).

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

John Green was another great discovery of this year. Turtles All The Way Down was pretty awesome in a weird way, and when I saw three of his other books on the shelves, I grabbed them like there’s no tomorrow. I’m yet again venturing into the territory of romance with these books I think, but I hope they are not your cheesy kind.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Some oldies but goodies with kids as protagonists were also among the treasures I found. I’m especially excited about The Goldfinch. The only other Donna Tartt book I tried was The Secret History, and I just couldn’t get into it, but the more I think about it now, the more I feel like I should give that one another chance. If it’s still a nope, I could actually use it as a step ladder, so I have nothing to lose…

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell – who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright – sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big…One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.

More fluff, because I can

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.
Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.
Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.
As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.

Mysteries, thrillers and difficult topics. Right up my alley!

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal.
Now Natasha’s two closest friends, who are usually her loyal sidekicks, are acting strangely. Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before, to help her figure out the mystery.
At first Becca isn’t sure that she even wants to help Natasha. But as she is drawn back into Natasha’s orbit, Becca starts putting the pieces together. As an outsider, Becca believes she may be the only one who can uncover the truth…which is far more twisted than she ever imagined.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.
That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.
That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.
The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.
Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

These two books were chosen because of their beautiful covers. I’m not even ashamed. They might actually be nice. I might even read them one day…

Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne
At a once vibrant communal-living property in the British countryside, back-to-basics fervor has given way to a vague discontent. A place that once buzzed with activity, from the polytunnels to the pottery shed, now functions with a skeleton crew. Founder Don Riley surveys his domain with the grim focus of someone who knows what’s best for everyone—and isn’t afraid to let them know. Especially when those people are related to him.
Don’s wife, Freya, can’t quite decide whether not liking someone anymore is enough reason to end a twenty-year marriage. So she decamps to a mud yurt in the woods to mull it over. Their seventeen-year-old daughter, Kate, enrolls in school for the first time in her life: the exotic new world of fellow teenagers and surprisingly tasty cafeteria food beckons, and she is quickly lured into the arms of a “meathead” classmate. In his sister’s absence, eleven-year-old Albert falls under the spell of an outlandish new visitor to the community who fills his head with strange notions of the impending end of the world.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

I literally have no idea why I got Nocturnal Animals. The people of Goodreads seem to agree that it’s rather crappy, and not thrilling at all. I guess I just had to see it for myself?!

Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright

Receiving a manuscript and request for feedback from her vengeful ex-husband of fifteen years, Susan Morrow is drawn into the life of the story’s fictional character and confronts a devastating parallel darkness from her own past.
Austin Wright’s novel is a disturbing and dazzling work: it describes a special reading experience, combines the suggestiveness of a thriller and the depth of a psychological novel. He talks about fear and regret, revenge and maturation, marriage and failure.

Have you read any of these? Did you like them?


  1. I missed your review of Elanor and Park. On my way to read it after this because I have that one on my shelf:-)

    I have read The Fault in Our Stars, We Were Liars, I am Messenger and The Hate U Give. They are all amazing reads. I especially loved THUG.

    Asking for It sounds heavy but its one that I’d definitely want to read. Thanks for sharing this and I hope you enjoy this collection 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just started We Were Liars this morning. It’s pretty good!!!
      Finished Since You’ve Been Gone last night. Was worried it will be heavy on the romance, but it was actually great.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t wait to read Since You’ve Been Gone. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it 🙂 Looking forward to your review of We Were Liars. Mine is scheduled for publication tonight(its 10am right now here lol)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. wow what a great haul! I recently read Fangirl and its the only book by rainbow that I have read. I don’t read many contemporary’s. In fact its the only one in this haul I think I have read haha but I did rather enjoy it and am thinking about reading carry on. So let me know what you think of them in ten year time when you get to them hahaha

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great haul! I particularly like Since You’ve Been Gone, Goodbye Perfect and 13 Minutes. I read We Were Liars and Fangirl but euhm they were both written in a very special style and they weren’t really my thing. If you’re more open-minded than me you shouldn’t have this problem though ;-). Happy reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just started We Were Liars this morning and read around 30 pages. I get what you mean by the strange format. I think it’s cool tho! I like weird 😀

      Since you’ve been gone: i finished last night. I really liked the songs they mentioned in it! ❤ The whole story was just cute.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aaah!! 😍 What an amazing selection!! So many of these are on my TBR list. I could probably list up half you list as a book i really want to get to asap but on top of it i believe is Fangirl. 🤗 happy reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I LOVED Paper towns by John Green. Nothing else of his has quite clicked with me, though I found An Abundance of Katherines to be a fun read. I also loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and of course THUG was amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great haul! I’ve got Fangirl, The Fault In Our Stars and The Keeper of Lost Things, I genuinely have no idea when I’ll read them! I’ve heard lots of great things about The Hate U Give, might have to get myself a copy to add my mountainous tbr pile lol!


  7. Ooh! An Abundance of Katherines is a very nice book. Read it at a library years ago and am currently thinking of buying a personal copy. Hope you enjoy it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow you got so many cool books! I really liked I’ll give you the sun, we were liars, the hate u give and since you’ve been gone. Those are all great books in my opinion! I hope you like them too 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just finished since you’ve been gone. It was super cute ❤
      Started we were liars this morning and i'm totally impressed. Even tho i only read 30 pages so far 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      I’m always amazed by the selection this charity shop has… (well, mainly amazed by the fact that people abandon these nice books. Some of them seem brand new)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello Norrie! Wow did you get all these books from the charity shop? I love buying second-hand, however I find that my local thrift store often don’t carry many YA books.
    Hope that you will enjoy Carry On and Fangirl. I read Carry On recently, which is such an adorable and addictive read. I loved Fangirl as well (which is actually due for a reread since it’s been a while!)
    I also enjoyed We Were Liars which took me by surprise at the end 🙂 Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, all from charity! I rarely buy new physical copies 🙂
      Just finished We Were Liars about an hour ago. Still trying to collect my jaw from the floor 😀 I loved everything about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ohh 13minutes looks good !!

    also, hopefully the book will be better.. I did watched the movie of “Nocturnal animals” and I gotta say … what a fucked up movie ! I don’t know why we kept up with it. It just didn’t made any sense ..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no 😂😂 well, if it can atleast be done slighlty better than in the movie .. i wasnt understanding at all what was going on – if it were IN the schenario or real life anymore ..

        Liked by 1 person

  11. omg this is an amazing haul! i love contemporaries in the summer (and since you’ve been gone, i’ll give you the sun, and fangirl are some faves. ESPECIALLY i’ll give you the sun. one of my favorite books ever.)

    we were liars and i am the messenger are p good!! hope these are all great reads for ya 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the kind of stuff people abandon there! And all in perfectly nice condition! On one hand savages, cuz it seems they never read them, but then again, maybe it was a gift and they just didn’t like them, so who can blame them 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    I love that you picked up John Green's books, it's no secret that I am a huge fan of his books haha, I really hope that you will love all of these.
    I'll Give You The Sun is such an incredible book, one of my favorites! I also loved Since You've Been Gone, We Were Liars and THUG. Hope you'll love all of these! Happy reading 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. YES! ´ve read most of the books you got. Did I like them? Well, not really. I gave up on John Greene books after I read “The Fault In Our Stars”. I swore to never pick up a book from him again.
    I loved “Fangirl”. “I´ll Give You The Sun” and “Since You´ve Been Gone” weren´t for me.
    “We Were Liars”… I put that one off for a long time until I forced myself to read it. I actually liked that one. “The Hate U Give”…nope. Not my cup of tea when it comes to reading. I did hear good things about “Asking For It”. Just never remembered to buy it. Let me know your thoughts on that one ( should you ever read it ).
    My bestie read “Nocturnal Animals” and she loved it.
    Great pick. Hope you get to read them all. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! I’m kinda wary of fault in our stars, mainly cuz i think it’s probably sad. (Haven’t seen the movie, but the topic is kinda sad, so i can imagine)
      I really like we were liars! ❤


      1. I think you’re thoughts are spot on regarding the fault in our stars. (Trying not to spoil the story for you.😂.) I’m not a crier but f*****g hell. The husbutt wanted to take a day off work because he was worried about me. Damn book. Now I’m avoiding EVERYTHING that author writes. 🖤 I wish you the best of luck when you tackle that one. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh yes! I know that lost look on a man´s face when he doesn´t know how to handle his mess of a partner that´s suffering from book pain. Mine isn´t a reader either so he doesn´t quite get it. It´s like:
            “Honey, should I stay home?” And I´m like “For what?! No! Just leave! I need to suffer in peace.” ❤

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! 🙂
      Which one is your next pick? I’m only getting into more contemporary recently and i’m kind of lost. Usually read crime & thriller, so this is like new territory for me.


      1. Hope you get along with contemporary well ❤ I currently reading Looking for Alaska by John Green and I really wanna read Rainbow Rowell’s book. I have heard so many good things about them.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah, no. I knew most of the songs they mentioned, and they’ve been my faves for a long time. But the author also has a playlist on her website 🙂


    1. It’s not very common in most charities as far as i noticed. The one i’m going all the time is specialized in books only have 2 small shelves of YA. Usually full of Hunger Games, Divergent and Maze runner copies tho 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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