Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books We've Read Recently

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's topic:
Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books We've Read Recently!

BONNIE: There are SO MANY good books that I've read and adored that I would consider "underrated." While I would love to do a post focusing on them in general, since this topic is for RECENT titles, I'm only going to choose books that I read in 2016 and feel didn't get a lot of love/attention on Social Media, mm'kay?

MANDY: This one is a little easier for me since I was very behind on my reading until I started participating in this blog. But I'm going to follow Bonnie's lead here and focus on books I don't think I saw get the attention that they deserve, the ones I can't stop talking about.

In order from most recent...

1) OUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee

I haven't had a chance to review this one yet, since I only read it a few weeks ago, but it was so good! It tugged on my heartstrings in so many ways. I don't often read historical fiction, but this one had gotten some good initial buzz--and then seemed to fall off everyone's radar!

It's a great look at diversity in 1906, and the way people rebounded from the devastating San Francisco Earthquake. And now I need to read more books from Stacey Lee!


2) UPDRAFT by Fran Wilde

I had heard about UPDRAFT a couple years ago at BEA, then gave my ARC to another blogger and forgot the title until I was sent a review copy when it came out again in paperback. I really enjoyed this unique world, set high above the clouds, where people take wing flying lessons instead of car driving lessons. I'm so excited to read my copy of the sequel CLOUDBOUND!



3) THE QUEEN OF BLOOD by Sarah Beth Durst

This was the OTHER book with the most unique world I'd read in 2016. Humans live in trees--but they're our size, not fae size. They also have elemental spirits that would harm everyone if not controlled by the Queen. But the Queen is losing control, and an Heir must be chosen...

This book is so, so good. I thought I'd done a review, but I only did a spotlight...where I did talk about the world-building, so...oops? I'll have to correct that soon! I already have an ARC of the sequel, so it will probably be fairly soon!




In some ways, this reminded me of Tamora Pierce, and I love her. I really loved the world and style of this debut, and hope the series takes off this year when the sequel releases!



5) THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

I haven't reviewed this yet because words haven't existed, but I LOVED this book. It was my favorite middle-grade of 2016! I was really excited when I heard that the creators of Kubo and the Two Strings were turning it into a movie, because a) it will be gorgeous, and b) more people will h ear about this stunning book!


6) NEMESIS by Anna Banks

This was a book that had some good initial buzz from fans of the author's previous novels. However, it was very blink-and-you-miss-it. It didn't get a lot of talk online, or from real teens. I'm not sure why, because I really enjoyed the world-building and am so excited to read a sequel! Maybe it's the cover? The cover is a little odd, I'll grant you that, but it makes so much sense once you read it! The sequel's cover is pretty stunning, so hopefully it will turn more heads!



7) RUINED by Amy Tintera

OH!! One of my favorite books of 2016. Everyone who's read it says great things about it, but not a lot of people are picking it up! And that's a tragedy. I can't wait for this sequel, and was so enamored with Tintera that I read her original Reboot duology because I wasn't ready to say goodbye yet after finishing this!



8) IVORY AND BONE by Julie Eshbaugh

I never reviewed this because, again, no words, but Mandy and I plan to review it together this year! We're both super excited for the sequel. Besides, who can say no to a Pride and Prejudice retelling set in the time of wooly mammoths and sabertooth tigers!?


9) MAGNETIC SHIFT by Lucy D. Briand

I wanted this the moment I heard it was X-Men meets Nascar. Because what-the-what? It's contemporary, too, not fantasy, and would appeal to fans of Katie McGarry or Jenny Martin's TRACKED!



10) REIGN OF SHADOWS by Sophie Jordan

I didn't think I'd love this as much as it did. But I ADORED IT. And I'm SO happy I have the ARC of the second book and don't have to wait any longer to read how this all ends! So, so good. PLUS, the MC is blind, and how different is that!?



1) PILFER ACADEMY by Lauren Magaziner

Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad It's Criminal

This book is full of unapologetic and whimsical humor. It reminds me of everything I loved as a child about Roald Dahl, everything in books like Harry Potter and Series of Unfortunate Events that have captured the mind of other young readers. It's such a fun read but underneath it ultimately tells a great story about a boy who realizes that even though he's mischievous and naughty sometimes, his heart is good.


2) TITANS by Victoria Scott


I love a good tale with a damsel in distress or a forbidden romance. But sometimes I want something amazing that really focuses on family, friendship, and on a main character who is rising up to help herself. That's what Titans offers, with stunning imagery and incredible action scenes.


3) THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN GIRLS by Erin Entrada Kelly

The Land of Forgotten Girls

This is an amazing middle grade book about the love between sisters, and what it's like to be a child immigrant. It warmed my heart and made me cry and there was something so fresh and honest about it. I need more people to fall in love with the story as much as I did. 


4) RUINED by Amy Tintera

Ruined (Ruined, #1)

I love a storyline where someone is pretending to be something they aren't in order to gain revenge. Inexplicably the world they plan to hate is not that black and white. I can't get enough of stories like that and Amy Tintera delivers with great characters and plot twists that had my head spinning.



Some Kind of Happiness

This book is powerful. It's important. I don't care how old you are, it needs to be on your bookshelf. If you have ever struggled with depression, or someone in your life does, you will feel a vast personal connection to the eleven year old main character's narration. 


6) SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND by Rebecca Behrens

Summer of Lost and Found

I'll admit something to you guys. I'm usually not a huge fan of historic fiction. If you've got any middle graders in your life who are also picky about this genre, get them this book!! Behrens adds just enough layers of intriguing adventure and mystery under the facts about the missing colony of Roanoke. 


7) IVORY AND BONE by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone, #1)

It's set in prehistoric times, and inspired by pride and prejudice . . . but god it's such a unique creation in and of itself. The imagery is so vivid, and the characters have so much depth; the kind where you aren't sure how much you like them and like real people they have their ups and downs. It's the scenery that drew me in the most though. You guys need to get on this in time for the sequel that comes out this year.


8) SIGNS OF YOU by Emily France

Signs of You

I can't express to you how much I need ya'all to read this beauty. I have reread it three times now. The narration is so beautiful and raw. It covers grief without making the book too continuously heavy, and it tackles the concept of life after death in a way I've never seen in a book before.


9) THE CALL by Peadar O'Guilin

The Call

I happened upon this one when I was looking for good horror stories, and oh my goood is this one amazing. I like a story that feels sort of unfinished at the end; you're not sure if the characters are going to be okay, you're missing some of the puzzle pieces on the background of the storyline. To me it makes the world feel more real, because in reality how often is something perfectly wrapped up with a detailed bow on top? AMAZING gruesome scenes (still age appropriate for teens 15+) Dark Fae, a dystopian Ireland where children grow up warriors. I think this book deserves a lot more chatter than it's gotten.


10) THE FORGETTING by Sharon Cameron

The Forgetting

If you love a good dystopian fiction then I don't know how you've missed this beauty. The storyline asks a really great social question . . . what would you do if you knew you wouldn't remember it, if you could basically act upon any inclination knowing that you would be free from any moral sense of regret or consequence? Our main character lives in a world where every 12 years their town forgets. They come to unaware of who they are, complete blank slates. But what happens if you find yourself the only one that DOES remember?

What books are you most excited to read???