books, Themed Book Recommendations

My Favorite Underrated Books

Book blogs, and bookish twitter and TikTok tend to talk in circles about the same hyped and big name books and new releases, but I want to give some love to some old, under hyped favorites!


Middle Grade

Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks
The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so principal Walter Russ dashes off a request to Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.

…We need a new drinking fountain. Please send a catalog.

Designer Flo Waters responds:

“I’d be delighted…but please understand that all of my fountains are custom-made.”

Soon the fountain project takes on a life of its own, one chronicled in letters, postcards, memos, transcripts, and official documents. The school board president is up in arms. So is Dee Eel, of the water-supply company. A scandal is brewing, and Mr. Sam N.’s fifth grade class is turning up a host of hilarious secrets buried deep beneath the fountain.
Heir Apparent (Rasmussem Corporation, #2)
In the virtual reality game Heir Apparent, there are way too many ways to get killed–and Giannine seems to be finding them all. Which is a darn shame, because unless she can get the magic ring, locate the stolen treasure, answer the dwarf’s dumb riddles, impress the head-chopping statue, charm the army of ghosts, fend off the barbarians, and defeat the man-eating dragon, she’ll never win. 

And she has to, because losing means she’ll die–for real this time. 
11 Birthdays (Willow Falls, #1)
GROUNDHOG DAY meets FLIPPED in this tale of a girl stuck in her birthday.

It’s Amanda’s 11th birthday and she is super excited — after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she’s shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven’t shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating iself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. . .

Poetry

Crush
Richard Siken’s Crush, selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession and love. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism. In the world of American poetry, Siken’s voice is striking. In her introduction to the book, competition judge Louise Glück hails the “cumulative, driving, apocalyptic power, [and] purgatorial recklessness” of Siken’s poems. She notes, “Books of this kind dream big. . . . They restore to poetry that sense of crucial moment and crucial utterance which may indeed be the great genius of the form.”

Young Adult

The Edge of Everything (The Edge of Everything, #1)
For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods—only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.
Because You'll Never Meet Me (Because You'll Never Meet Me, #1)
Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school—that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her? 

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission—falling in love.
Made You Up
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal. 

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit.” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school. 

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston. 

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer and possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.

Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
You Look Different in Real Life
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they’re real life.

The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There’d be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.

Now sixteen, Justine doesn’t feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.

But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what’s on film. They’ve all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else’s eyes.

Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Lifeis a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what’s personal and what’s public aren’t always clear.
Emmy & Oliver
Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.
Redshirts
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that: 
(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces 
(2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations 
(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives. 
The Juliet Spell
I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn’t get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren’t any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I’d cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William’s younger brother.

Good thing he’s sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play…and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he’s from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there’s something about him that’s making my eyes go star-crossed…. 
Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys
When she was nine, Megan Meade met a group of terrible, mean, Popsicle-goo-covered boys, the sons of her father’s friend — the McGowan boys. Now, seven years later, Megan’s army doctor parents are shipping off to Korea and Megan is being sent to live with the little monsters, who are older now and quite different than she remembered them. Living in a house with seven boys will give Megan, who has never even been kissed, the perfect opportunity to learn everything there is to know about boys. And she’ll send all her notes to her best friend, Tracy, in… 
Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys

Observation #1: Being an army brat sucks. Except that this is definitely a better alternative to moving to Korea. Observation #2: Forget evil, laughing, little monsters. These guys have been touched by the Abercrombie gods. They are a blur of toned, suntanned perfection. 
Observation #3: I need a lock on my door. STAT. 
Observation #4: Three words: six-pack abs. 
Observation #5: Do not even get me started on the state of the bathroom. I’m thinking of calling in a hazmat team. Seriously. 
Observation #6: These boys know how to make enemies. Big time. 
Megan Meade will have to juggle a new school, a new family, a new crush — on the boy next door, as in next bedroom door — and a new life. Will she survive the McGowan boys?
Secrets of My Hollywood Life (Secrets of My Hollywood Life, #1)
For fans of The Princess Diaries and Famous in Love, an engrossing look behind the velvet ropes of stardom from a former Teen People Senior Editor who has seen it all.


What if your picture was taped inside teenage boys’ lockers across America, your closets were bursting with never-worn designer clothing, and the tabloids constantly asked whether you were losing your “good girl” status?


It’s a glamorous life, but 16-year-old Kaitlin Burke, co-star of one of the hottest shows on TV, is exhausted from the pressures of her fame. So she decides to spend two months undercover as an ordinary high school student. But could it be that real life high school is just as harsh as cutthroat Hollywood??


Don’t miss the first book in the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series from Jen Calonita, author of the Fairy Tale Reform School series.
The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning…. Welcome to forever. 

Brie’s life ends at sixteen: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally. 

But now that she’s D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there’s Patrick, Brie’s mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after. 

With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she’s ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?
Bad Girls Don't Die (Bad Girls Don't Die, #1)
Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

2 thoughts on “My Favorite Underrated Books”

  1. It’s an interesting thing, but I feel like the covers have a lot to do with these books being underrated. I asked myself would I pick this book up based off cover alone and save for redshirts the answer was no. I’m happy to hear you loved all these

    Liked by 1 person

Say Something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s