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!

Top 20 Underrated Books: Part 2

The best books you may never have heard of…

Okay, welcome to Part 2 of my list. I hope you enjoyed the Part 1- and if you haven’t seen it you can check it out here. I have to tell you I’m even more excited to share this list than the first one, because these books are *even* better. That being said, some of the books on this list are admittedly more well-known than ones on the first list. But who cares, cos they’re amazing, and deserve a little more love than they’re currently getting! So, without further ado, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce (at least some of you) to these brilliant books.

 

  1. The Doomspell

doomspellI was really surprised to see this has only got 1529 ratings, because it’s a lot of fun and has really excellent world building. I’m hoping it’s just not got as much attention because it’s old and loads of people my age have heard of it. But if you haven’t, check it out! You also can’t really go wrong with books by Cliff McNish. If you’re interested, I recommend his creepy ghost stories.

Invisible

  1. I, Coriander

I_Coriander_coverI cannot believe that this has just 4993 ratings on goodreads!! This is a phenomenal book. It’s another YA historical fiction, but with a fantasy twist. I won’t say anymore in case I accidentally ruin it, but I seriously recommend this one if you haven’t read it.

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  1. Chinese Cinderella

Chinese_CinderellaThis book is quite well known, but I thought I’d recommend it anyway for people who haven’t tried autobiographies (basically people like me who don’t usually try things like this). Chinese Cinderella is one of those books that’s just stuck in my mind, because it was just such a fantastic story, it takes you on an emotional rollercoaster and it has some of the most memorable scenes I’ve ever read. Fundamentally, though it can have some pretty dark moments, it is a story of hope.

  1. The Wind Singer

wind singerHow does this have just 12000 ratings? (I know that’s still big, but compared to others it’s small and deserved a shout out). I’m hoping that’s cos it’s old, because I’m sure this book was a huge deal at one stage. It’s got adventure and love and beautiful relationships. The world building is stellar too. I can’t recommend it enough!

Invisible

  1. The Shadow of What Was Lost

shadow of what was lostWhy is this not the next big thing yet? Granted, it’s nothing new. But unlike so many other regurjitated fantasy books, this one is actually well written. It’s very tight and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. I actually cannot believe how underrated this book is- it only has 8000 odd ratings on goodreads and it’s amazing. I’m really hoping it gets the credit it deserves. So if you’re looking for an excellent fantasy book, look no further!

  1. Poison

c2813_poison_4cc_zI’ve mentioned this book before because I loved it so much when I read it. It left a huge impression on me because it’s so unusual and dark and quirky. And there’s a huge twist in the plot! Most people haven’t heard of it, but in my opinion, you won’t get a better dark “phaerie” tale.

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  1. Charlotte Gray

charlotte grayYou may have heard of Birdsong, but have you read the much less well known Charlotte Gray? It has 6766 ratings compared to Birdsong’s 46611, and in my opinion, it’s a brilliant book. (I also recommend the film version- I love the ending in that adaptation)

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  1. Hitler’s Canaries

hitler's canariesUndoubtedly, this is my favourite book set in WW2, but somehow it only has 692 ratings on goodreads. It is a wonderful story that really shows the depths of human kindness. I really can’t do justice to how much I love this book, so you’ll just have to go away and read it and you’ll see what I mean!

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  1. A Company of Swans

a company of swansThis is another one where you may have heard of one or two of the author’s books, but might not have read others. And I really recommend you give these a try. Eva Ibbotson had such lyrical prose, exquisite characterisation and wonderful storytelling. You won’t regret reading any of her books!

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  1. Daphne Du Maurier

frenchmans-creekAnd last, but certainly not least, Daphne Du Maurier is one of my mum’s favourite authors- you may have heard of Rebecca but have you heard of Frenchman’s Creek or The King’s General? Amazing books! They’re well worth picking up!

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So that’s it for this list- hope you liked it!

Did you recognise any of the books on this list? What books do you think deserve more hype? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Top 20 Underrated Books: Part 1

Books you’ve probably never heard of…

So I thought for ages that I didn’t read underhyped books. Every time this question came up, I just thought “I don’t read any of those and if I do I don’t enjoy them”. But then after *a lot* of reflection and an extensive search of my goodreads list, I suddenly realised that there were loads of books I’ve read that most people have never heard of.

I also realised, pretty quickly, that I couldn’t fit this into just a top ten list. So I decided to do two lists. Welcoe to Part 1: “Books you’ve probably never heard of…” These are books that have seriously few ratings on goodreads that are well worth a look.

  1. Nemesis

nemesisThis is probably one of the most underhyped book on this list. I actually looked at its ratings on goodreads and saw that it only had 82 ratings! Just 82! So yeah, that definitely counts as underhyped. Maybe it’s got so few ratings just because it’s a bit old. Still, it would be nice if it had a revival cos it’s a great thriller. It’s not a new series, but I remember loving it as a teenager cos it’s a lot of fun and really gripping.

  1. Robert Swindells

Thabominationis was just one of those authors we had a million of their books in my school library. There are some really fantastic picks from this author, but I’m going to go with just two. First, Abomination, because it’s creepy as hell. Second, Brothers in the Land, because it brings you face to face with what would happen if nukes were actually fired. Swindell’s work is often dark and twisted, but really thrilling and well worth reading!

  1. The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose

The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza RoseI loved YA historical fiction by Mary Hooper when I was younger and I really remember particularly enjoying this one. And somehow it only has 1345 ratings! There’s also At The Sign of the Sugared Plum (which is a great name for a book) that’s in the same vein and I really recommend.

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  1. Wolf Brother

Wolf_brotherThis is a really unusual fantasy set in a prehistoric era. It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember it being really exciting and well written. Definitely one to check out.

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  1. Facing the Light

facing the lightMost of her books have just a few hundred ratings- which is shocking cos she was big at one stage. This one I particularly enjoyed and really recommend.

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  1. The Drowning Pond

drowning pondI can’t believe this has just 55 ratings! I’m not going to say it’s incredible or anything (I gave it 3 stars) but it definitely is better than a lot of books out there. I found it really entertaining, pretty creepy and darker than I expected.

Invisible

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  1. Resistance

resistanceSomehow, this has just 44 ratings! It’s a compelling story set in occupied Norway and well worth a read because it’s full of action and really dramatic. And who doesn’t like a story where the fight is taken to the Nazis?

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  1. Small Gains

small gainsThis is a bit of an unusual one. It’s another historical fiction that’s a bit out there. I enjoyed a lot of books by K M Peyton and am recommending it for people that are looking for something slightly different.

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  1. The Tulip Touch

tuliptouchThis book had such an impact on me as a child and I cannot believe it just has 1500 ratings. Don’t expect too much from this, cos it is a children’s book, but thought I’d share it anyway (and who knows? Maybe you’re looking for something to recommend to your children) Also just look at how creepy that cover is!

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  1. Secret of the Sirens

secret of the sirensYou may have heard of some other books by this author, or maybe one  under one of her many, many pseudonyms (I think she has about three- and I can’t figure out why, but whatever, I digress). But for some reason this book has just 3300 ratings. Which is weird cos it’s a pretty fun series. It’s a children’s book, so probably don’t expect too much hard hitting drama, but I recommend it for people that are looking for a bit of fun and a good adventure story.

That’s all for now, look out for part 2 coming soon! Let me know your thoughts- have you read any of these books? What are your underrated recommendations?