The rest of the literary blogosphere does it about a month ago - we do it now. Welcome to our top 10 underrated book picks! (It's not...

TOP 10 UNDERRATED BOOKS

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The rest of the literary blogosphere does it about a month ago - we do it now. Welcome to our top 10 underrated book picks!

(It's not that we're contrary - it's that we're awesome. And chronically late to most parties. Don't tell the hosts.)

This week, we are picking titles that blew us away twice: first, with their stunning content, and then again, when we realized no one else in the history of ever read it, and we have absolutely no one to share in our appreciation. It's a tough job, being a bookish hipster. But someone has bear the heavy burden and spread the word far and wide. 

This: this list. Statistically, these books are far from New York Times bestselling lists. But in terms of content and quality, we found they measured up to the bestselling-est of the lot. Sometimes we need to join overcrowded literary bandwagons. But other times, we need the joy of discovery of a diamond in the rough - and the pleasure of throwing them at our friends. Consider this list just such a throw.

Tag. You're it.




1. Made For You by Melissa Marr

Publisher: Harper Collins
Picked by: Lexie

For those with reading tastes as bizarre as mine, the mingling of YA and serial killers will be enough of a selling point. For those with more common sense less sold on the very concept of a YA thriller - this is the book to convert you. At the very least, within the realm of YA, this was the book that converted me.

Made For You alternates between the narratives of Eva Tilling, who only barely survived an attempt at her life - and the one who made that very attempt. And it's every bit as chilling - and as incredibly raw - as it sounds.


2. Never Missing, Never Found by Amanda Panitch

Publisher: Random House
Picked by: Lexie

I have Zoe to thank for this one - and I do mean thank. In this first-person account of a previously-kidnapped girl coming to terms with her ordeal just as her coworker mysteriously vanishes, Amanda Panitch has put a spin on YA mystery that rarely gets as much prominence (or as much praise) as it should. But the genre in general tends to suffer this particular problem - and thus this list. Never Missing, Never Found has been compared to We Were Liars and Vanishing Girls - not because of the plot, or the twist, but because of its foreboding atmosphere and its tragically flawed characters. 



3.  Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Publisher: Chicken House
Picked by: Natalie

I've gushed about this book a few times - and the author's that colab together - and it won't stopping anytime soon Tom and Lucy have brought us this hilarious story as well as Lobsters, to take us back and remind us what it's like to grow up in a british secondary school. So many funny moments, relatable characters and situations that will have you turning those pages until you finish and furiously look for the next book Ellen and Ivison have written. They have such an effortless way of writing and it's so easy to just fly through these books, and you finish them with a big smile on your face. More people need to read them, they're brilliant! I can't recommend them enough. 



4. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Picked by: Lexie

Robin Talley doesn't need this shout-out. Not really. If there was one author whose 'heights of fame' are yet to come - look no further than Robin Talley. In this stunning debut, she tells a story of two girls at the opposite sides of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s Virginia. One, Sarah, is an African-American reassigned to a previously all-white school. The other, Linda, writes op-ed pieces in favor of segregation. Sarah and Linda, needless to say, see eye-to-eye on almost nothing. Except, perhaps, that their feelings for each other are a little more intense than even they will admit.




5. Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Picked by: Natalie

I pretty much picked this book up because of the cover, not going to lie. It's so pretty and the colours are stunning, as well as the story sounding pretty cool. I feel like this one hasn't been read enough, and where it can be weird in some parts (not in a bad way), it's a very good and intriguing story about love, family and taking risks. Emotional in some parts, funny in others, it's something that everyone can enjoy and I'd recommend it to people who enjoy YA contemporary. It also has an art theme to it, so if you like that kind of thing, this is for you.




6. How To Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Picked by: Lexie

Suffice it to say, I intend to champion YA mystery/thrillers forever and ever.

How To Disappear alternates between Jack - a son of a crime lord sent to kill a runaway murderess, and Nicolette - said runaway murderess. If the premise of cross-country, on-the-run YA thriller isn't enough to sell everyone on this book, then Nicolette and Jack's oscillating dynamics certainly should. After all, you can only try to outsmart one another for so long before also capturing the heart of every mystery-loving reader ever. (I'm a casualty. I won't deny.)



7. Who's That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane

Publisher: Harper Collins
Picked by: Natalie

I'm not sure how underrated this book is, but I think more people should read Mhairi McFarlane (especially if you enjoy womens fiction). This is a story about a girl who is blamed for a huge cock-up that happens at a wedding, and people are vying for her blood. Escaping London, she manages to go back home to her family and become a writer for an autobiography for a famous actor. It's a british comedy that is heartwarming in some ways, very funny and has some characters and one-liners that'll have you snorting with laughter. It's also got some deep and emotional aspects to it, and it gives us an insight to fame due to the topic of her writing an actors autobiography.
Don't be threatened by the size (it's a big-ass book!), it's constantly entertaining and you'll be finished in no time.



8. This Is Sarah by Ally Malienko

Publisher: BookFish Books
Picked by: Lexie

(Yes, obviously I like my contemporaries with a darker twist.)

I will admit - This Is Sarah appealed to me for reasons entirely personal and for reasons which I hope no one else will have. Even so, This Is Sarah is a stunning YA Mystery the way it should be told - with compassion, with awareness, with a profound understanding of its characters. When Sarah disappears one May night, she leaves not only her sister Clara, but also her boyfriend Collin - left to juggle hope that she can be found and despair that she was ever lost. As Colin and Clara slowly come to bond over their mutual loss, so does the reader come to understand the reality of delayed grief and the weight of unanswered questions alongside them. 



9. Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Picked by: Natalie

I read this book so damn long a go but one thing I do remember - I was laughing my head off. It was probably one of the funniest books I've read, and it's a typical women's fiction with the adorkable protag in some uncomfortable situations, but Kirsty Greenwood gives it that extra bit of humour that keeps the pages turning. I know I've recommended a lot of "chick lit", as horrible as the term is, but these are some of the better ones I've read. Sometimes we just need a laugh in this terrible world, so why not laugh along with these embarrassing characters?



10. The Book of Proper Names by Amelie Nothomb

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Picked by: Lexie

Amelie Nothomb has two unique qualities that set her apart from most YA authors nowadays: (1) she is French, and (2) she wrote YA way before it was cool (I'm talking the 90s). And it's exactly these unique qualities that make most of us unaware of her profound influence on YA these days. I'm guilty of this, too - The Book of Proper Names is the only book of Amelie's I've read. But The Book of Proper Names was plenty to sell me on the rest - I'm talking quirky characters, competitive ballet, whimsical writing, eating disorders, the ups, the downs, the works. This book has it - and this book should be praised more for it.





Top 10s are hard - because there is always more. A lot of deserving books from 'limited' publishing areas tend to fall by the wayside (pretty much every Australia-only book we've managed to get our hands on has been a gem - and a thoroughly unappreciated one; Cait @ Paper Fury has a list of those). A similar fate befalls most self-published titles. On this list, we've tried to limit our choices to books with a shockingly small amount of reviews and ratings on Goodreads. But, had different criteria been applied, there could have been a thousand more of these lists. And a thousand more there shall be, right here, in the future.

Let us know what your favorite underrated/underappreciated titles are! What book do you most frequently throw at people and have them react with a "What is this leafy contraption?". Leave us a comment below and let us know.



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