Underrated Books #3

Oh boy I haven’t done one of these posts since my blog was a baby back in 2015!! Which means this is LONG OVERDUE! I have read *a lot* of underrated books since then, so I’m going to have to share them!

Echo North- I read this recently and you’re going to have to prepare yourself for hearing me talk about it *a lot*! I discovered this beautiful, wintry read courtesy of the lovely Kat @Life and Other Disasters and the wonderful Pages Unbound. I am so so happy I took their advice on this seriously underrated retelling. Elegantly written and with a touch of unique magic, this was a story I needed in my life.

Wolf in the Whale– this may not seem underrated, because I talk about it PLENTY… and yet not enough people seem to pick it up (according to goodreads). And that’s more than a bit of a shame, because this atmospheric read was so memorable. Its frosty images and haunting tale are imprinted in my mind. I have to put in the caveat that it may not be for everyone, thanks to its dark subject matter, yet if you can handle some hard themes, this is a historical fantasy you won’t forget in a hurry.

The Book of Hidden Things– okay, another one that may be a bit out there! BUT, this magical realism story is so so worth reading if you’re looking for something a bit different. Set in Southern Italy this delves into mysteries both past and present. I can’t quite shake the hold this story has over me.

The Furies– a witchy story set in a school may sound familiar- but don’t be fooled. There’s nothing typical about this underappreciated book. Moody and with subtle depths, I think more YA fans should check this out.

Toffee– moving onto something a little softer, but with a bit of a bite, Toffee is perhaps for a younger YA audience. I will admit this is by a popular author, yet not talked about much on the blogosphere. Dealing with hard themes, it was ultimately very sweet.

Boy Who Steals Houses– by contrast, many, many people on the blogosphere may know about this book by C G Drews/otherwise known as Paperfury, but my goal is to spread the love a bit further! This contemporary Goldilocks retelling is a delight (and something I’ve just given my sister to read 😊).

Exquisite– moving on to something a little darker, I cannot recommend this exquisitely written thriller enough. This was good both on a line-by-line level and had a killer plot. With themes centring on writing and obsessive romance, this hit the spot for me.

The Weekend Away– this is perhaps more of your typical pulpy thriller… and I dug it. If you need a quick getaway into a thrilling story, then this is the book for you.

All That Still Matters At All– well known in Hungary, but not so much outside of it, this heart wrenching poetry collection is definitely worth trying if you: enjoy poems, like words, want to feel like you’ve been punched in the gut. Just go for it- and maybe I’ll stop bringing it up every five minutes (I won’t).

Man in the White Sharkskin Suit– there’s so much packed into this memoir- from the story of the 20th Century exodus of Jews from Egypt, an account of family history and a hard-hitting personal journey. This is one of my favourite ever memoirs and more people should try it!

So, have you read any of these? Do you plan to? And what’s the most underappreciated book you can recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Where I recommend books everyone hates…

orangutan list

Okay, hate is a strong word. And, I guess it’s fair to say that not everyone hates these books. Nonetheless, these are the books that I see getting *a lot* of bad reviews and have lower ratings than I’d expect… which unfortunately can really effect whether some people (*coughs* me included *cough cough*) pick it up or not. Now obviously what’s considered a low rating is pretty subjective- so I just used the magic of GR to organise my books by ratings and picked the ones where there was the biggest discrepancy.

facing the light

Facing the Lightrating 3.49– this one has the biggest difference between my rating and the general consensus. I like to think that the main reason for that might be because it’s not all that well known and the limited number of ratings are skewed because of that. Either way, I genuinely thought this was an intriguing and captivating book that deserves more attention.

broken things

Broken Thingsrating 3.6– I often consider Lauren Oliver underrated famous author- because she always has great sales, but mixed reviews. Anyway, you might remember my fairly recent review where I talked about how completely brilliant I found it.

hazel wood

Hazel Woodrating 3.62- while this isn’t the lowest rating on the list, I do unfortunately see a lot of negative reviews for this, particularly saying that it “wasn’t worth the hype”. Now that hurts my soul a little cos I genuinely loved. Here’s the thing, I get why this is hit or miss for people. The writing style and pacing aren’t going to be for everyone- BUT I highly recommend giving it a go, because it’s atmospheric, beautiful and deeply rooted in the fairy tale tradition. For its cleverness alone, I think this book deserves to be read.

horrorstor

Horrorstorrating 3.61– this is another one where I understand the hit or miss reviews- annnd totally disagree with them. Say what you want about the abrupt ending, it makes a certain amount of sense to leave a ghost story a little unresolved. Also, this completely delivered on what promised: it was funny, innovative and suuuuuper creepy.

how i live now

How I Live Nowrating 3.58-okay this is the one on the list that I really get why it’s not so well loved. It’s got some deeply shady stuff going on… but for some reason it worked for me. Sure, it’s strange; yes, it’s a little mad- however for book set at the end of the world that makes a lot of sense. Plus, beyond its dodgy post-apocalyptic aura, it’s a story of characters I really came to care for and is an exceptionally moving story. Fair warning, it’s not going to be for everyone- and yet I recommend it anyway.

And now, because Classics don’t always get a fair rep on social media sites/blogs, I’m gonna include some books that get a fair amount of hate, but you should read anyway:

heart of darkness

Heart of darknessrating 3.42– this is by far the lowest ratings I’ve seen for something I’ve given 5 bananas… and I get that. It’s a peculiar book, with somewhat obscure writing and some questionable content. However, once you dig a little deeper and find that kernel of meaning at its centre, you’re sure to have a rewarding reading experience.

turn of the screw 2

Turn of the Screwrating 3.44– I have absolutely no idea why that rating is so low. And I’m stumped by the reviews, cos there doesn’t seem to be a general consensus of why people don’t like it (just lots of reasons I’d put down to personal taste, like writing style, content, etc). So I’ll just say why I do like it. Turn of the Screw is one of my favourite classics because it has one of the best unreliable narrators ever written and the answered of mystery over what the actual eff happened. For me, the unending questions surrounding this book, coupled with elegant prose, makes it a slice of perfection.

canterbury tales

The Canterbury Talesrating 3.49– this is another one that makes me go *ouch* when I look at the rating. Look, I get that it’s hard to read for modern audiences- but to look at it on that level alone will mean you’re missing out on some of the best characterisation in literature!! And some really complex stories! Also, a useful tip if you are struggling with this is to read it aloud.

crucible

The Cruciblerating 3.56– okay, I get that Arthur Miller can be a little on the nose with his messaging. And I’ve been told plenty of times even by fans of Miller that this isn’t his best work- and yet I still recommend it for the tension and drama it produces.

catcher in the rye

Catcher in the Ryerating 3.8– alright, I’m breaking my rules of going based on ratings here, cos it’s fairly high. The reason I’ve included Catcher in the Rye is the sheer amount of hate I see for this book around and how every time I mention it, people say that they don’t. And that’s absolutely fine- I even understand why people hate the protagonist and aren’t crazy about the plot (or lack thereof). HOWEVER no matter the hate towards this book, I think there are things we can all recognise are done well. Salinger’s classic is one of the smartest reflections on teenagehood and an exceptional example of creating a character through voice. Like it or loathe it, Catcher in the Rye can teach you a lot about writing and reading between the lines of an unreliable narrator.

Alrighty then- do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Do you love any unpopular books? Let me know in the comments!