Contemporary Fiction for Young Adults

Issue-driven contemporary stories with a strong romantic thread.. These stand-alone titles are my heart. They’re the stories I needed in high school.

If you only read one of my contemporary stories – make it this one. I wrote it more than 10 years ago, but Joy is still my favorite child. If you finish this and want more like it – do Love Blind next. If book felt TOO HEAVY, I’m probably not the author for you.

“Perry’s descriptions of Joy’s intense turmoil are vivid… A moving survival story” – Booklist

“Perry deftly avoids the problem-novel label thanks to complex characters and a well-structured plot. Joy’s story is very affecting, and her voice is suitably self-effacing without being ostentatious; most readers will be engrossed.” —Kirkus Reviews

Shy high schooler Kyle Jamieson and Hailey Bosler, a musician with degenerative blindness, team up to tackle a bucket list of greatest fears in this compelling novel that explores what it means to take risks.

“As the teens set out to conquer their fears, the sexual tension quickly builds, with both refusing to accept the depth of their mutual attraction. Hailey is confident, stubborn, and funny and isn’t afraid to show her sassy side. Meanwhile, Kyle is shy and awkward. The authors combine perfect pacing with spot-on character development that will leave readers empathizing with the characters from the very beginning.” – Erin Holt, Library Journal.

Kate, seeking distraction from her recent diabetes diagnosis, begins dating Aidan, a young veteran who lost an arm in Afghanistan, and the two soon realize that they might mean more to each other than they first thought.

“Through realistic dialogue, believable scenarios, and candid reflections, this story offers insight on both the personal trauma of a young, wounded warrior and the multiple challenges of teen diabetes.” School Library Journal, April 2014

“The romance is sweet and believable. . .” Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2014

Rock star drummer Bishop Riley just needs a few months to relax and detox before his band’s next tour. But the last place he expected to do it is in Seldon, Alaska. And the last person he wants to do it with is Penny Jones.

“Without giving too much away, the story of Penny and Bishop is a tale of friendship, trust, letting go, finding your inner strength and love. Their story takes the reader on a beautiful journey. The supporting characters enhance the story and create a perfect balance for Bishop and Penny. The issues discussed in the book are real and relatable. This is published for the young adult/ teen line and is appropriate for young readers. There are some make out scenes and discussion of sex. If you are looking for a growing up and coming of age love story, that is real, this is the book for you. Out Of Play is Outstanding!”

“Perry has crafted vivid, round characters who navigate complicated, mature questions about death and dying with sincerity . . . . A layered novel about love and forgiveness in the face of loss.”―Booklist

“Larger than just a story about broken friendship, new romances, and death. Both the ending and the funeral home setting make this book stand out.”―VOYA

“An interesting and unusual romance.”―Kirkus Reviews

A go-to work for fans of realistic fiction about teens who have survived severe abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. (STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW)

Sarah Wilsman, Kent Free Library, Kent, OH

The authors combine perfect pacing with spot-on character development that will leave readers empathizing with the characters from the very beginning. The plot takes several unexpected turns; it hits hard, exploring issues such as depression, loss of virginity, and homosexuality. (LOVE BLIND)

VERDICT For fans of Sophie Kinsella’s Finding Audrey (Delacorte) and Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places (Knopf, both 2015). (School Library Journal March 2016)

“Perry candidly describes their conflicted feelings, the loneliness of having a perceived disability, and the power of mutual encouragement.”

Publishers Weekly, December 20, 2013

“Jolene Perry always has a great sense for the emotional heartbeat of young adult stories and this is no different. Gabe has grown up in a funeral home and her friend Bree has always been the one person who understands this darker side of her life–but now Bree has fallen for the one guy Gabe can’t stand, and both of them are floundering as this new relationship threatens to unmoor their always steady friendship. Meanwhile, Gabe isn’t quite sure what to do with the new guy in town, who has just lost his dad. A lovely story about friendship, loss, and the messy lives we live.”

Author Rosalyn Eves

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

Jane Austen