A few weeks ago I shared on Facebook that a book that I’d enjoyed was on sale, and I pointed out that the author was similar to Kasie West, one of my favorite YA authors. The response to that post was surprising. A friend (who loves Kasie West as much as I do) was outraged that I’d been holding out on her! She demanded (as only good friends can) that I tell her all the authors who write similar books, and then she asked why I hadn’t written a blog post about it.
So, here we are.
If you haven’t read Kasie West, she’s a young adult writer. Her books are fairly breezy contemporary teen romances with an emphasis on family relationships and friendships. They tend to have good dialogue and realistic-enough scenarios, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t read a single book by her without laughing out loud at least once. You might call her books beach reading, but to be clear, they don’t actually take place near the beach.
West’s most recent book, Love, Life and the List, centers on a seventeen-year-old artist who happens to be in love with her best friend. Just like her previous novels, this story is pretty evenly split between the romance and the coming-of-age situation (learning to be a more authentic, mature artist). I read it as soon as I could get my hands on it, and I enjoyed it! A couple of West’s more recent books had been a little disappointing, but this seemed to be “classic Kasie West.”
But, like I mentioned, I already read it. So now what?
Amazon tells me West has another book coming out in May of this year, which makes me nervous. As much as I love having something new to read so often, it’s hard to crank out books so quickly without sacrificing quality. So whether you’ve read her latest and are too impatient to wait months for another book by this author or you’re frustrated with the rushed-through writing we’ve been getting and want to try another author, I’ve got some fantastic recommendations for you!
What to Read While You Wait for the Next Kasie West Book
First of all, make sure you’ve read Kasie West’s entire catalog! Her earlier books are best, and she also has a two-book sci-fi series I really loved. Next, go straight to Morgan Matson and Julie Buxbaum. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Matson and Buxbaum write stories that carry a little more emotional heft than others in this genre, but they’re not downers. They’re solid stories about complex but likeable characters, and I have loved every book they’ve written.
Tying for a close second are a whole bunch of Jennys. Jennifer E. Smith, Jenny Han, Jen Klein, and my longtime favorite, Jenny B. Jones all write fantastic contemporary YA novels that are fun to read but also stay with you after you close the book (or Kindle app). Of course, I can say the same about Huntley Fitzpatrick, Lauren Morrill, Emery Lord, and Stephanie Perkins. I can’t help it; I love them all!
Cookie O’Gorman and Rachel Harris have also written a couple books in this genre that I enjoyed. (Harris writes adult contemporary romance as well. Her YA books are The Natural History of Us and The Fine Art of Pretending.) Abbi Glines has a young adult series (Field Party) that I really liked, but heads up: these books are definitely PG-13 and not for younger readers. (And all of her other books seem to be rated-R adult romance.)
One more author to check out is Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I loved her series about a quiet tomboy so much that just mentioning it here makes me want to re-read it!
(By the way, if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Sarah Dessen, it’s not because I don’t recommend her books. I just can’t — because I haven’t read them. She’s mentioned alongside Kasie West and Morgan Matson frequently, and I have several of her books on my to-read list. I just haven’t gotten to them yet.)
If you’re looking for a standalone book in the same vein as a Kasie West novel, I do have several suggestions for you! This list should get you started and keep you busy reading (but not committed to a whole series or one author) for a good, long while. In no particular order, here are a few words about a few books:
- Interference by Kay Honeyman: Retelling of Austen’s Emma crossing politics with football.
- Beautiful Chaos by Alex Tully: A bookie dad, an envelope of missing cash, a crosstown caper and romance.
- Alterations by Stephanie Scott: Retelling of Sabrina with a Latina fashion design student in Miami and two cute brothers.
- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Recent grad competes at web developing camp while avoiding the “nice Indian boy” her parents want her to marry.
- Game On by Michelle Smith: Girl next door tutors baseball star. Volunteering and reminiscing their childhood friendship means sparks fly.
- Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant: Math genius tutors artist. Some paranormal feeling-reading and a mysterious shared past. I loved this one.
- Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson: Small-town girl. Famous child star. Fake dating. Or is the romance real…?
- Map to the Stars by Jen Malone: Regular girl and famous actor fall in love. Can these crazy kids make it work?
- Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes: Girl who survived car accident that killed her dad and brother believes she’s cursed. Then she meets a cute tennis-playing boy in therapy.
- The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson: Two smart kids compete for class rank. Then realize they have things in common. A loose adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing with lots of references to geeky fandoms thrown in for good measure.
- The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen: Nerdy girl. Bad boy. Fake relationship. Sweet story despite the title and the premise. Really.
- Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: Two movie buffs connect online. Basically the same plot as You’ve Got Mail. But with teens.
There you have it! Lots of books to read and authors to check out if you love Kasie West and can’t wait for her next book to come out.
What’s your favorite contemporary YA book, series, or author?
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I do love YA contemporary. I think Stephanie Perkins is fantastic, and I really want to read more by Morgan Matson.
Yes, I’m always wishing Morgan Matson would write faster! :)
Thank you for including Zenn Diagram with so many other great YA books! I appreciate it!
You’re so welcome. It really has been one of my favorite reads in the past couple of years! :)