I have read a lot of great books in the past few years but some of them just haven’t reached a level of attention and success that I thought and hoped they’d achieve. I don’t know if they were overshadowed by other books published at the same time, weren’t publicized enough, simply just got lost in the shuffle, or just haven’t had enough time on the shelves yet; but, they are great books! Therefore, I thought I’d write a post identifying some of these books I think you should be reading.
I have posted reviews for these books in the past and the title links below will take you those reviews. I am including a little mini-review of the books below, but I encourage you to read my full reviews (if available) if a book piques your interest.
I’ve listed these in no particular order:
- The Truth About Leaving by Natalie Blitt – This is a character-driven coming of age story that touches on the topics of grief, duty, responsibility, education, family, and love. But at its heart, this is a story about growing up. It is about figuring out what you want to do with your life rather than just doing what others want for you. It is about learning and making tough decisions. I felt this book was a very realistic and highly emotional portrayal of the issues and stresses that many high school students experience as they prepare to embark on life as adults. This contemporary young adult book was published in March 2019 and currently has a 4.01 rating on Goodreads, but only 167 people have rated it.
- Into The Hollow by Lynn Vroman – This book hit on some really tough topics – child abuse, drug abuse, extreme poverty, neglect, teen pregnancy, prejudice. But it was also a story about family, hope, discovery, and love. In the end, it really emphasized that sometimes the best action is to let go, rather than continue on a dead end and ultimately destructive path. This contemporary young adult book is exceptionally emotional. I ugly cried big time during one particular scene. Into The Hollow was published in November 2018 and it currently has a 4.20 rating on Goodreads. That is a fantastic rating but only 46 people have rated it. 46! This is one of those rare books that I would actually read again, so I can’t for the life of me figure out why no one is reading it at all!
- Any of the Ronaldo the Flying Reindeer books by Maxine Sylvester – I have read and reviewed three of the four books in this children’s series – The Phantom Carrot Snatcher, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza, and Vixen’s Flying Workshop. One of my favorite things about this book series is the focus on friendship and doing the right thing. Even though the two lead characters (Rudi and Ronaldo) don’t always make the best decisions, they always learn from their mistakes. The lessons are incorporated into the story in such a way that they don’t feel forced or preachy. Kids will enjoy the story and perhaps not even realize they are learning good behaviors. The Phantom Carrot Snatcher is rated 4.76 on Goodreads with 75 ratings, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza is rated 4.76 with 37 ratings, and Vixen’s Flying Workshop is rated 4.88 with 26 ratings. The fourth book, The Reindeer Flying Academy, is rated 4.64 with 110 ratings. These books are beautifully illustrated and so much fun! I wish more folks would read and rate these books!
- The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney – This book is phenomenal. It is simply a must read. If nothing else, you should read this book to understand that just because people get old, it doesn’t mean they don’t still want to have a say in and some control over their lives. This book made me ugly cry… twice! It is so emotional – heart wrenching, hopeful, and full of life. This contemporary novel was published in August 2018 and is currently rated 4.07 on Goodreads with only 821 ratings. Why isn’t everyone reading this book??? I’m flabbergasted that this book doesn’t have thousands of ratings by now!
- Iliad: The Reboot by Keith Tokash – This book is FUNNY! This is a retelling of The Iliad and true Iliad scholars would either lose their minds over this book or love the irreverent new perspective on the Trojan War. I personally think they’d find it hilarious. Homer himself would probably giggle. It is full of twisted, crazy history that had me laughing out loud. If you have read The Iliad (the real one) or if you have any knowledge at all of Achilles, Agamemnon, Helen of Troy, and the Trojan War, you will love this insane retelling! This novel was published in September 2019 and currently has a 4.59 rating on Goodreads with 17 ratings. I can’t believe more people aren’t reading and rating this book!
- The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington – This middle grade story is a perfectly balanced mix of magical realism, mystery, adventure, ghost story, family drama, and friendship… and it takes place in a zoo! How cool is that? The story actually includes many contemporary topics that are great for children to read and learn about. These include atypical family units, animal rights, bullying, empathy, and cultural differences. This book was published in May of 2020 and currently has a 4.36 rating on Goodreads with 280 total ratings. I hope people continue to discover this book because it is exceptionally good.
- Subversive by Raena Rood – This a Christian dystopian novel; however, this isn’t a typical, science fiction, new world, futuristic, dystopian novel. This is today and right in your backyard… and that makes it more realistic and disturbing. This novel is attention-grabbing, fast-paced, and engrossing! It is expertly crafted and the characterizations are genuine. While the novel is fiction, persecution of this type is not implausible and that made the book intensely thought-provoking. This book was published in June 2020 and currently has a rating of 4.66 on Goodreads with 35 ratings. This is such a great book and I’m confident more people will continue to discover it, read it, and love it like I did.
- The Science of Defying Gravity by Linda G. Reed – I’m a sucker for a great STEM book, but this isn’t just about STEM subjects. It is also about middle school angst, crushes, school pressure, family dynamics, expectations, hopes and dreams, failures, successes, and never giving up. I think middle grade students and educators will love this book and I hope a lot of kids read it and get interested in science fairs! This book was an ARC for me and actually doesn’t hit the shelves until Sept 9, 2020. It currently has a score of 4.00 on Goodreads with 16 ratings. I’m hopeful the number of ratings skyrockets after the book becomes available because it is a great story!
Since I have now shared some books I think you should be reading, what recommendations do you have for me? Are there any books you have read and loved that just don’t seem to be getting the attention you think they should? I have hopefully encouraged you to add some books to your TBR list, so comment below and let me know which underrated books you think I should be reading.
(images from Goodreads)