Contemporary American Novels for Kids and Adults: Michelle Tea, Jonathan Safran Foer, Ocean Vuong, and 8 others

Contemporary American Novels

10 Must-Read Contemporary American Novels

Modern American literature has top and amazing works that captivate readers worldwide. It's filled with different stories and perspectives focusing on American identity.

The list of modern authors excelling in this literary field keeps growing. From established top novelists to up-and-coming ones, our "write my essay" experts have collected some of the best contemporary authors seeking to tell their stories as they are.

If you're looking for some of the best contemporary American literary works that could excite you or your child, you've come to the right place.

These 10 Must-Read Contemporary American novels cover various genres, ranging from heart-warming memoirs to powerful coming-of-age tales. You'll certainly love it as Michelle Tea explores what it means to be an adult today in her Grow Up book.

And if you want to learn more about human connection, trauma, and grief, Jonathan Safran Foer covers all that in 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.' So, let's get straight into it!

contemporary novels

'How to Grow Up: A Memoir' by Michelle Tea of San Francisco's Mission District

Michelle Tea is one of the most famous writers today whose works explore the complex topics of feminism, queer, and race, among other topics. 'How to Grow Up: A Memoir' is one of Tea's best contemporary works following a journey from a troubled teen to a successful author.

In this book, Michelle Tea writes about her story of growth, self-discovery, and resilience, narrated with honesty but from a hilarious perspective. Michelle Tea tarot reading experience in San Francisco also helps her as she doesn't shy away from being a feminist and writing openly about her drug addiction struggles, troubled relationships, and marriage.

Michelle Tea and San Francisco Ties

Michelle Tea is a known feminist, writer, and activist from San Francisco and an ambassador to the world of radical queer culture. Originally from Chelsea, Massachusetts, she worked with different publishers, including city lights publishers, in 2012 to form the Sister Spit imprint. Michelle Tea also worked on other books, including one set in San Francisco's Mission district in 1999.

She has also written other books, including Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, a Chelsea girl book about Sophie Swankowski. My strange addiction mermaid is a great read, just like her other memoirs.

Overall, the How to Grow Up memoir is thought-provoking in how Michelle Tea voices her unique perspectives about life. It's certainly a non-fiction book you should add to your must-read list, especially if you're struggling with self-identity issues and feel like you don't 'fit in.'

'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' by Jonathan Safran Foer

This is a remarkable book by Jonathan Safran Foer about a nine-year-old boy named Oskar Schell. In his narration, Oskar finds a key in a vase belonging to his father, who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Jonathan Safran Foer shows us in this book why he's one of the best contemporary authors of his age. He approaches this book with a unique and captivating writing style, weaving together multiple perspectives with nuance and sensitivity.

Overall, Jonathan Safran Foer employs unconventional storytelling techniques to create a thought-provoking narrative worth your time. 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' is a great book to read for both adults and kids of the new generation.

It's also one of the best books to write your college essay about, considering how much Jonathan has explored and arranged thoughts. You can always connect with our ‘write my essay for me’ services for a detailed college essay that captures everything you need in this book.

Jonathan Safran Foer is also the author of the bestseller 'Everything Is Illuminated,' which was named the book of the year by the Los Angeles Times. His collection also includes the bestselling work of non-fiction, 'Eating Animals.' He's been recognized by top publications, including the Washington Post and the New York Times.

His efforts in the book Eating Animals made the Los Angeles Times describe Jonathan Safran Foer as an author who has earned a place at the table with the greatest philosophers. Foer lives in Brooklyn, New York.

'On Earth, We're Briefly Gorgeous' by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is a poet and one the best authors today for one reason—how he digs into his extraordinary family history with passion and beauty. The book, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, has extraordinary storytelling.

It was also named one of the most anticipated books by the Guardian, Vulture, Los Angeles Times, and many more. The book is a letter from a son to a single mother who cannot read. In the letter, the narrator explores his family's history and his own experiences as a queer person of color in America.

Vuong is lyrical and evocative in his prose and art, just as he writes his poems. He draws the reader in with raw emotion, touching on self-identity, love, and trauma themes. The book offers an emotional perspective on the American experience and would be a great read for those caught between different worlds.

'Black Leopard, Red Wolf' by Marlon James

In this novel, 'Black Leopard, Red Wolf,' the author Marlon James tells a fascinating and ambitious fantasy tale drawn from African history and mythology. The book is about Tracker, a teacher, and skilled Tracker hired to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier.

However, Tracker, a sworn lone ranger, breaks his rules and joins a group that comes together to search for the boy. James twists the plot by narrating in flashbacks with non-chronological episodes. As one of the famous fiction writers, Marlon James in this book seeks to explore the deep fundamentals of truth and the excesses of ambition.

The prose is deep and vivid and will draw you into the world of magic, monsters, and political intrigue. Overall, James Marlon succeeds in creating a rich and complex mythology with characters and cultures that speak and reflect on the diversity of Africa. This is one of the books you can read and recommend to your friends.

Need a PRO Writer to Help You Out?

Our authors work hard to make sure your essay is precisely what you asked for!

Hire Writer

'The Immortalists' by Chloe Benjamin

Chloe Benjamin follows a captivating narrative in this novel about the lives of four siblings. The account is intriguing and written from different perspectives where knowledge of death and the future is key to changing one's life.

The four siblings visit a fortune teller to learn about the exact dates of their deaths. Though this knowledge is forbidden, it's life-changing in how it affects each of them and shapes their lives.

Chloe Benjamin is masterful in his writing, and it's all on display in this book. Regarded among the best young writers, Chloe did a great job in this book by touching on critical themes like family, fate, and the choices we make in life.

This book has a deep teaching on how we should live our lives, knowing what'll happen next. Chloe probes the thin line between destiny and choice and the sense of reality and illusion.

Overall, it's a great read for fun and as part of your college essay assignment. You can always trust our essay experts to guide you on how to explore different themes in this book while writing your thesis.

must-read books

'The Water Dancer' by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates tells a powerful story about a young Hiram in this famous novel, 'The Water Dancer.' The book is lyrical and breathtakingly imaginative, piecing together a great narrative set during the era of slavery.

In the book, Hiram discovers supernatural powers that allow him to transport people to safety in funny waves. His memories trigger these teleportation powers, and he can safely rely on them to help enslaved people flee bondage.

As portrayed in the book, Hiram's journey explores the harsh realities of slavery and the power of memory to heal and shape our identities. The rich storytelling and poignant themes in this novel cement Coates' place as one of the best current authors of our generation.

'The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' by Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz is one of the most gifted modern American novelists. In his book ‘The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,’ Diaz chronicles the life of Oscar de León, an overweight Dominican boy growing up in Paterson, New Jersey.

Oscar has an obsession with science fiction and fantasy books. However, his family is cursed, and he doesn't seem to always get what he wants.

Oscar's journey in this book details the struggles of immigrants wishing to find a place in modern American society. It also explores the themes of identity, colonialism, and the lasting impact of political violence on families.

Diaz's writing in this masterpiece is electric, blending English and Spanish to create an immersive narrative.

'The Overstory' by Richard Powers

'The Overstory' by Richard Powers is a dynamic literary work of activism and resistance narrated by one of the best modern American writers. It's a thought-provoking masterpiece that intricately combines the stories of nine diverse characters whose lives interconnect with trees differently.

In the book, Richard tells us about a vast, interconnected, and resourceful world that's almost invisible alongside us. It's a story about a handful of people who master the best way to see this world and are drawn into its unfolding catastrophe.

The book explores important themes such as environmentalism, activism, and the interconnectedness of all living things through each character's experiences. Overall, it's a novel that'll challenge you to think deeply about the world around you and your place in it.

'There There' by Tommy Orange

This novel is a touching exploration of the experiences of modern Native Americans in Oakland, California. It delves into the complexities of each character's experiences and their community struggles.

Orange highlights different themes in the story, including identity, trauma, and resilience.

Overall, the book is a powerful portrayal of the Native American's challenges in navigating a society that doesn't care about their existence. It also cements Orange's place as one of the best contemporary writers of our time.

'The Power' by Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman's 'The Power' is a thrilling fiction novel that seeks to overturn gender norms and power dynamics. As one of the best contemporary literary fiction novelists, Alderman envisions a world where women have the power to inflict pain and even kill with a single touch.

This intriguingly narrated novel explains what happens when women gain the upper hand in society. Through various perspectives from the characters, Alderman explores the complex ramifications of this power shift.

Her story is centered on key themes of gender, politics, violence, and human nature. Overall, the novel is a great read that'll challenge you to rethink your assumptions about gender, power, and politics.

Final Thoughts

The books highlighted in this article provide thought-provoking insights from top novelists who aren't scared to explore complex societal issues.

They are powerful masterpieces if you want to gain unique perspectives and insights into contemporary issues. Other books, such as the Tea Rose Trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly are also worth a mention among these top novels from some of the best contemporary American fiction writers.

These books from famous modern writers are also great for your college research papers. Remember, our pro ‘write a research paper for me’ services are always ready to assist you in writing a research paper on similar topics that address the same issues.

Talk to us today, and let's provide you with a custom-written research paper tailored to your specific needs and requirements.

Seeking Urgent Help with Your Paper?

We can support you with anything - from a simple undergrad essay to a long doctoral thesis that takes ages!

Get Help
What was changed:
Back to blog
Too much schoolwork and too little time?
24/7 Support
Plagiarism Report
Negotiable Price
Unlimited Revisions
Order Essay