Thursday, August 7, 2014

Keep in' It Real with Philip Siegel ~ Top 10 Contemporary Novels Narrated by Boys

Keepin' It Real is a wonderful two week long event -hosted by Eli @ Reality Lapse and Kaitlin @ Reading is My Treasure- meant to highlight Contemporary Young Adult Fiction. The two of them have put in countless hours of effort to make this event a reality, making sure we (blog readers) had new, exciting content from all of these awesome authors such as Interviews, Top Tens Lists, and more. Today, I am happy to share my stop which is a Top Ten list from debut author of The Break-Up Artist - Philip Siegel. 

When I found out I would get the chance to participate in this event, I was ecstatic, and I was even more ecstatic to learn the the YA Contemporary author would be Philip Siegel. While I have not read his book yet (I am very ashamed of this fact and intend to remedy it ASAP), the concept sounded like so much fun. While reading through the list of Top 10 ideas, today's topic, in particular, stood out to me. This is because 85% of the time, YA contemporary novels are from a girl's perspective. And even though I'm someone who thinks that girls rule, it is always fascinating for myself as a reader to see things from the male species perspective. So you can think of me choosing this Top 10 Topic as a way for me to get recommendations without having to do the work, PLUS getting to hear from Philip. It's a win-win for all of us!

I love contemporaries, and not just because I write them. It seems as if editors and readers are forever on the hunt for contemporaries with a male protagonist. Well, good news, book people! There are lots of great realistic YA books with male main characters. We all know about the big ones (13 Reasons Why, all pre-TFIOS John Green, Perks of Being a Wallflower). Here is a list of some boy POV contemporaries that may not be on your radar…but should!


1) Boot Camp by Todd Strasser

Garrett is sent to a disciplinary boot camp that is a hundred times worse than your regular time out. He’s beaten and humiliated, and soon conspires with fellow inmates on an escape. The story is all the more harrowing since these places exist in real life. Boot Camp is a tense, perfectly-plotted thriller that kept me up until 4 a.m. reading.


2) Stupid Fast by Geoff Harbach

Felton can run stupid fast, which gets him on the football team and helps him avoid his falling-apart family. Fantastic voice here.


3) FML by Shaun David Hutchinson

This is Sliding Doors meets Can’t Hardly Wait. We get to see two scenarios for lovable everyboy Simon at the end of year rager. A fast and funny read. Read my full reviewhere.


4) Exiled to Iowa. Send Help. And Coutureby ChrisO’Guinn

First off, that title is perfection and made me buy the book. Luckily, the book is just as hilarious. Collin’s family moves from L.A. to Iowa, and he thinks that means he’ll have to stay in the closet. But soon he finds friends, a hip clothing boutique stocked with the titular couture, a cute bad boy, and a ragtag team of students who can help him put on a school play adaption of Moulin Rouge. Exiled to Iowa is a great addition to the LGBT canon, and a total gem.


5) Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

One of the rare books that made me laugh out loud multiple times. Shakespeare Shapiro muddles through his senior year of high school and writes his memoir for a class project. It’s a low concept story, but filled with painfully true (and hysterical) writing. You’ll breeze through this and chuckle the whole way.


6) 33 Minutes by Todd Hasak-Lowy

Technically, this book is middle grade, but the writing is so sharp and insightful that teens and adults will enjoy it, too. Sam gets a note from his former best friend Morgan saying that he’s going to beat him up in 33 minutes. As Sam tries to figure out a way to save his skin, he looks back at how they went from friends to mortal enemies. The story is surprisingly poignant. Anybody who’s ever drifted apart from a friend will relate to this book.


7) Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

It’s like The Matrix meets John Green. Jeremy takes a pill that puts a supercomputer into his head, which teaches him how to be cool and score with girls. Yes, this may strain the definition of realistic fiction, but Vizzini does a great job of grounding the outlandish concept.


8) Catch by Will Leitch

Tim debates whether he wants to go off to college in the fall or stay in his small town that he loves, especially when he begins a relationship with his 22-year-old boss.


9) Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going

Fat and friendless Troy is about to commit suicide when he meets the ultracool musician Curt. Curt recruits him into his not-yet-existent band, even though Troy has no musical ability. Touching, heartwarming, and for the fat kid inside all of us.


10) Geography Club by Brett Hartinger

Closeted student Russel Middlebrook starts a clandestine gay/straight alliance at his school called Geography Club. Because who would openly choose to join a Geography Club? A light and fun coming out story that I could read over and over again.

Amazon | Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Philip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, which he insists is much nicer than certain TV shows would have you believe. He graduated from Northwestern University and promptly moved out to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC Page (proof below). He likes to think that the character of Kenneth on 30 Rock is loosely based on his life rights. Currently, he lives in Chicago and does his best writing sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Nobles 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. 

Some work at the mall. 

Becca Williamson breaks up couples. Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca's older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple's relationship into smithereens. And with relationship zombies overrunning her school and treating single girls as if they're second-class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even Becca's best friend, Val, has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend. 

 One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and raw football team's star player, Steve. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars...not to mention sneaking back into Huxley's good graces. All while fending off the inappropriate feelings she may or may not be having for Val's new boyfriend. 

 No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy. 

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