“Underrated” is a difficult term to define. For this post, I’m considering any YA book with less than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads. Number of ratings is not normally something I pay much attention to, so it was interesting to see which books I enjoyed fell on the lower end of the spectrum. Hopefully this list connects people with new-to-them books that deserve some more love!
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
“England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.”
I was surprised to see These Vicious Masks under the 10k mark. Maybe because it is one of my sister Rachel’s long-time favorite series (we discuss it in our Meet the Book Blogger post here). It just goes to show that super popular in your reading circle does not necessarily mean super popular everywhere. But Pride and Prejudice vibes with super powers? Definitely underrated.
All These Monsters by Amy Tintera
“Seventeen-year-old Clara is ready to fight back. Fight back against her abusive father, fight back against the only life she’s ever known, and most of all, fight back against scrabs, the earth-dwelling monsters that are currently ravaging the world. So when an opportunity arises for Clara to join an international monster-fighting squad, she jumps at the chance.
When Clara starts training with her teammates, however, she realizes what fighting monsters really means: sore muscles, exhaustion, and worst of all, death. Scrabs are unpredictable, violent, and terrifying. But as Clara gains confidence in her battle skills, she starts to realize scrabs might not be the biggest evil. The true monsters are the ones you least expect.”
Monsters! Found family! Learning your own worth and strength! I’ll stop there so I don’t over-exclamation-point more than I already have. I really liked this book and loved the author’s other series (Ruined), as well. Read them if you haven’t already.
Crow Flight by Susan Cunningham
“Gin trusts logic a little too much. She even designs programs to decide what to eat and how to spend her time. All that changes when she’s paired with a new transfer student, Felix, on a computer modeling assignment to explain certain anomalies in the behavior of crows. As she enters Felix’s world and digs further into the data behind crow behavior, Gin uncovers a terrible secret.”
This book is a fun read with both mystery and romance. We always enjoy a logic-driven female MC because they seem much less common than the brave, impulsive female MC. Also, all the computer modeling and crow behavior is super interesting and written in a way that even non-science people can appreciate.
The Beholder by Anna Bright
“Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.
But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.”
I just recently read this book (review here) and its sequel. I’m not sure what my expectations were going in, but they were definitely exceeded! If you enjoy fairytales, plot twists, and stories that build to something bigger than you imagined, you might like The Beholder.
Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti
“Don’t call them heroes. But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.
Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t—like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.
Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader.” After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals.”
Non-conventional super powers are just plain fun. If you enjoy them and multiple POVs, try this book out.
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
“Starting high school is never easy. Seniors take your lunch money. Girls you’ve known forever are suddenly beautiful and unattainable. And you can never get enough sleep. Could there be a worse time for Scott’s mother to announce she’s pregnant? Scott decides high school would be a lot less overwhelming if it came with a survival manual, so he begins to write down tips for his new sibling.
Meanwhile, he’s trying his best to capture the attention of Julia, the freshman goddess. In the process, Scott manages to become involved in nearly everything the school has to offer. So while he tries to find his place in the confusing world of high school, win Julia’s heart, and keep his sanity, Scott will be recording all the details for his sibling’s—and your—enjoyment.”
Looking for a gift for someone starting high school? This one was given to me (thanks Aunt Jen and Uncle Jef) back when I was. This book is just as funny and sweet as its main character, Scott. It’s one I remember fondly and plan on re-reading soon.
Feel free to leave us some of your favorite underrated books in the comments. We’d love your recommendations!