Oh man, is it difficult to weed out the actual underrated books. For instance, me discovering Lock In by John Scalzi in 2015 and being completely blown away by it only to immediately find out that it came second to Andy Weir’s The Martian in 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards (and that Scalzi is an extremely well-known author). So yeah, it seems every book is underrated if you’re the only one you know who have read and loved it.
Anyway as a point of reference, my cut off point was around 6K ratings on Goodreads and I mostly picked books on the basis of wanting to mention them so it’s a top ten list in that way as well.
From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer, Valerie Thomas // 2012
I love road trip books, though I haven’t read all that many and none in the past couple of years. From What I Remember… takes place in the span of a day and there are multiple POVs which makes it one hell of a fun read. So much snarky banter and silliness going on in this.
Parallel by Lauren Miller // 2013
One day, Abby finds herself in an alternate version of her life which is scary in itself but then her life keeps changing on the basis of any choice that her parallel self makes. Though it sounds confusing, it really isn’t and is just a perfect blend of contemporary and sci-fi.
The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno // 2014
I am a fan of books that portray mental illness well and The Half Life of Molly Pierce is one such underrated gem. It’s a really short, full of feels book which is always impressive seeing how hard it is for short books to be succinct and heart-wrenching at the same time.
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White // 2014
Illusions of Fate is a delight, plain and simple. A standalone alternate historical fantasy about snarky and tenacious as fuck Jessamin who goes from facing racism on a daily basis to getting caught up in the dangerous world of elite who possess magic. The ship is so good and her friendship with Eleanor is one of the high points of the book.
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu // 2014
Life by Committee is one messy book and that’s the best part about it. Where other books fail to correctly address cheating, broken friendships that so often result in slut shaming and secrets, this book wins. I don’t know, I enjoyed it a whole lot and there are definitely fun parts in it, too.
The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan // 2014
Alternate history where the female main character regularly cross-dresses as her twin brother to get by in life. The world of the Gas-Lit empire is steampunk-ish and is very intricately developed so you really get a very realistic glimpse into the workings of it. It’s slow-paced so the mystery builds up gradually which I didn’t mind because it’s done so well. I really need to reread this and continue the series.
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes // 2015
The Fixer is a book that combines a whole lot of murder mystery, trouble and emotions in the best sort of way. It gets a tad ridiculous at times as anything concerning conspiracies and the portrayal of US government tends to in books, but I was okay with it mainly because of how fun and full of family and friendship feels everything is.
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis // 2015
I do think that Mindy McGinnis is a highly underrated author in general. She genre hops a lot and seeing as how I have loved her post-apocalyptic cli-fi (climate sci-fi), Gothic historical thriller set in an asylum and realistic fiction about rape culture should tell you something about how good of a writer she is. I did want to choose Not a Drop to Drink to feature, but I also think that A Madness So Discreet should get more attention because of how satisfying it is to read about Grace being a badass and it has one of the best opening scenes that I’ve ever read.
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstorm // 2015
So many feels whenever I think about this book. Not If I See You First is about Parker who’s blind and has recently lost her father so is having a hard time adjusting when her aunt and her family move towns for her. Parker is one of those main characters who people label as ‘unlikeable’ just because they are not always nice and I’d be damned if that’s not exactly what made me love her. Also, it’s written by a male author which will forever astound me because men writing such realistic female characters is not a usual occurrence.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar // 2016
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies combines a bit of magical realism and the repercussions of messing things up by choice in a small town setting. In other words, asshole main character going about his life the wrong way. So yes, everything that can go wrong does in this but in a really-fun-to-read-about-slow-mo-train-wreck way. I have no idea why more people haven’t read this yet.
Read any of these? What books are on your underrated list?
YES TO MOLLY!!! (and you better read TL&F ASAP!!!) I need to reread Molly soon.
A Madness so Discreet was GREAT and yeah, I need to read her other books.
I really want to read Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, just need to get a copy…
And I hadn’t realized you liked The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter so much. I think I missed you finishing it.
Let’s see when I start The Lost and Found, heee. I also need to reread that soon! Maybe it’s a good time to read both while waiting for Everything All At Once…
YES, YOU DO!
Oh yeah, I think it took me a month to finish The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter so you probably did miss it haha.
Hello it is me in stealth mode. I seem to be part of the problem here because I’ve only read….2?
(Do I sound like a robot? I feel like I do. Has the bespectacled alien cheerleader finally taken over my body hmmm.)
From What I Remember- This cover always lowkey creeps me out because they all look so doll-like.
Parallel – Okay how similar is this to Pivot Point because besides you I’ve only heard good things about this from people I don’t trust (yes, your opinion should cancel that out HENCE why I’m asking)
Molly Pierce – Was sort of shocked to see Katrina Leno had written this? I mostly associate her with The Lost & Found. Intrigued in both though.
Illusions of Fate – YESSSSSSSSS. Tbf, White is also a very hit and miss author for me so I get why people would be hesitant BUT THIS IS ONE OF HER HITS PICK IT UP PEOPLE.
Life by Committee – I’m shamefully behind on Haydu’s books. I read OCD Love Story and liked it well enough and am super pumped for her new one but in the meantime? Fail.
The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter – Need to recover a bit from her country being called the Gas-Lit empire. The cover is sort of cool? Still deciding whether it really works for me though.
The Fixer – Hahahah so I originally thought I’d read 3 of these because this book looks so familiar at this point but no, sorry, yes, shame. That line about the US government though tearsofmirth.emoji
A Madness So Discreet – Yell at me about McGinnis’s books this year, they should be on my shame list.
Not If I See You First – RIDICULOUSLY UNDERRATED. PARKER IS A DELIGHT AND I HAVE RARELY SEEN A COMBINATION OF CAUTIOUS AND UNINHIBITED IN THE SAME PERSON THAT WORKS SO WELL. Fully agreed about how well Lindstrom writes female characters (and friendships) but we’ve talked about this already.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies – Would this qualify for that “character who wants to murder a man/casually does murder him” bingo square or would that just be my mood throughout.
YOU KNOW WHAT’S UNDERRATED AND YOU SHOULD READ SANA?? THE ENGELSFORS TRILOGY. MEET MY WLW WITCH OTP PLEASE.
BESPECTALED CHEERLEADER ALIEN?! Is this the same alien who tweeted MDaddario?
Honestly, same about the cover of From What I Remember… being so creepy.
Umm they’re similar in that both are contemporary sci-fi and have parallel worlds. However, Parallel has two versions of the main character whereas Pivot Point only has one main character so I wouldn’t say they’re more similar than that. AND I LOVE BOTH.
The Half Life of Molly Pierce is Leno’s debut which you should totally read but probably after I’ve read and loved and made you read The Lost and Found. Good talk.
Oh yeah, I remember your experience with Chaos of Stars, was it and totally.
LOL now I’m going to crack up every time I come across Gas-Lit empire in the books.
Oh, I’m glad you liked OCD Love Story since this is the only one I’ve read by her and yeah, this is a shameful moment for me, too. I’m super pumped for The Careful Undressing of Love, though!
Ahahaha for real? You though you’ve read The Fixer because of how familiar the cover has gotten?! tearsofmirth.emoji pt. 2.
TOTALLY GOING TO YELL AT YOU ABOUT READING THE MCGINNIS.
100% agree with everything you said about Not If I See You First.
That would just be your mood throughout Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, I’m afraid.
WLW witch OTP, you say? SOLD.
Amy Shaw says
I really enjoy all of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s books that I’ve read (all four Naturals books and the two Fixer books) and I agree that The Fixer and The Long Game especially need more love! I enjoyed Parallel as well though the MC constantly drove me crazy, but the way parallel worlds was woven in was so interesting. I’m actually surprised it has so few ratings on GR.
I really need to get to her Naturals series!
Yes, I loved how Miller made use of the parallel worlds and I was also surprised how few ratings Parallel has on Goodreads.
Joy // Joyousreads says
I love the title of Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies. But I heard it’s a quirky book that may not be to everyone’s liking. Still, though that title rocks. 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies definitely has the unlikeable main character thing down which I usually don’t mind but I can see how it’s something that’s sure to piss some people off. Yes, I also love the title!
Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover says
I didn’t know Illusions of Fate was a thing, but now I do and I’m really excited. I absolutely ADORED Kiersten White’s And I Darken, so now I need to hunt this alternate history story down and read the crap outta it. Honestly, though, all of these books sound so freaking interesting, and I can’t believe I haven’t heard much of a lot of them. Parallel sounds like a lot of fun. Wonderful list!!
Yes, do! Illusions of Fate is more on the lighter side of things than And I Darken is but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I hope you do, too.
Thank you so much!
I read From What I Remember a few years ago and thought it was a lot of fun! I want to read A Madness So Discreet and Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies too. Great list!
My Top Ten
Oh yes, the only reason I remember From What I Remember… so well is because how fun it is. Definitely read those two
I actually have Life by Committee on my shelf right now, but I haven’t picked it up yet! Your recommendation makes me want to soon, though. I also have been dying to read A Madness So Discreet! Great list 🙂
Whee, I’m glad! =D
Yes, you hopefully will love A Madness So Discreet.
Jo Elliott says
The Fixer is on my TBR, will definitely have to get to it at some point!
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/top-ten-tuesday-92/
Yes, please! More people need to discover the awesome of The Fixer.
Wendy @ Falconer's Library says
Oh my goodness, I LOVE A Madness So Discrete and Not If I See You First, and based on your descriptions, I now want to read every single remaining book on this list. I suspect you have great taste! (Meaning similar to mine.) *dashes off to explore your blog*
Whee, another person who loved Not If I See You First. There aren’t that many of us around.
Haha that makes me so glad!
Savannah @ Playing in the Pages says
I honestly love this topic, because I had no idea how many cool and interesting books have come out in recent years that I’ve never heard of before. For instance, you’re the second blog I’ve read today that’s brought up Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies! Guess I’ll have to check it out some time. 🙂 Great TTT!
Same! It’s been fun visiting blogs.
I hope you do check out Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies!
maria helena says
I love road-trip books (but like you I haven’t read any in a while). I’ll definitely add From What I Remember… to my tbr list.
maria helena says
Forgot to say that if you haven’t already read it, I recommend that you read Barnes’ other series called The Naturals. I liked it more than The Fixer.
Oh man, you’re going to have a lot of fun reading From What I Remember…
I’m totally planning to read The Naturals some time. I’m happy you like it so much.
Morgan @ Gone with the Words says
You know I loved Not If I See You First! I own Life By Committee, will have to give it a chance soon. And I liked Illusions of Fate but I didn’t love it… I DID love Jessamin and her friend though! And Sir Crow.
I only know 4 people who’ve loved Not If I See You First haha.
Yes, do read Life by Committee!
Yeah, Illusions of Fate ended up a solid 4-star read for me.
I really need to read The Half Life of Molly Pierce! The only reason I haven’t is because my library only has a physical copy, and it’s old enough that it’s probably gross, lol.
I actually really liked Illusions of Fate! We need more standalone fantasies. I’m looking forward to rereading The Fixer so I can finally read the sequel. And I’m still waiting for my library to buy Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies. I don’t even care what it’s about, I just love the title.
Haha yeah, better not to go the library route for The Half Life of Molly Pierce.
Oh, I had no idea you’ve read and liked Illusions of Fate! I don’t know many people who have.
Same about The Fixer. Let’s see when it happens haha.
That was totally me about Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, too.
Cait @ Paper Fury says
Ahhh!! I’ve actually read some of these and I feel accomplished. I adored The Half Life of Molly Pierce and thought Not If I See You First was super interesting! And Rocks Fall Everyone Dies was excellent for all the villainy going on there. I so need to read A Madness So Discreet though, because I’ve read Not A Drop To Drink and The Female of the Species and given them both 5 stars. Sometimes underrated books truly are the best.
We clearly have great taste haha.
I’m pretty sure you’ll love A Madness So Discreet if you loved Not A Drop To Drink and The Female of the Species so much.
I think I actually prefer loving underrated books more than the overhyped ones because how unique of a feeling it is? Totally dig it.
Danya @ Fine Print says
I should not have looked at this post. My TBR now has an extra ten books on it, LOL.
Illusions of Fate sounds incredible, like helloooooo standalone historical fantasy? YES. Magic, badass ladies, great female friendship, and shippiness just seal the deal. I’ve also heard a lot of good things about The Fixer on twitter, but I might have to check out Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ “Naturals” (I think that’s what it’s called??) series first, because reading anything about the US government right now is a total no-no for me right now. Even if it IS fiction!
And believe it or not, one of my grad school profs actually recommended A Madness So Discreet to me a couple months ago! Apparently there’s an epic escape scene, so if that’s the badass opening you’re referring to Sana I am extra stoked to read it!
Ahaha #sorrynotsorry =D
Illusions of Fate is so good! I’m glad I managed to sell you on it, heee.
Oh yeah, I totally get not wanting to read The Fixer series yet. Yes, that’s called The Naturals and I also need to get to it.
That’s amazing! I’m not entirely sure if it’s the same scene your prof and I are referring to in A Madness So Discreet. However, the book is all kinds of epic so there are probably more than one.
Lauren @ Always Me says
Mindy McGinnis is excellent – great choices! 🙂
Lauren @ Always Me
Glad you agree! =D Thank you.