Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Ten: Most Underrated Books

This week's topic from The Broke and the Bookish is underrated books and in the spirit of that I'm going to try not to talk about the same underrated books I've talked about a million times before. Because there are so many underrated books I love and I think it's time to spotlight some of the lesser-praised ones here on the blog.

1. Scribbler of Dreams
Mary E. Pearson
This was the first (and best!) Pearson book I read. A Romeo & Juliet retelling, featuring Kaitlin Malone and Bram Crutchfield -- sworn enemies who just can't help but fall in love. Classic retellings, even books based loosely on classics, are a hard sell with me but I absolutely adore this one - maybe because I've never read or seen Romeo & Juliet? In any case, I loved the characters and their starcrossed love story.

2. Feeling Sorry for Celia
Jaclyn Moriarty
I hope this one isn't as obscure as I think it is, because it's an absolutely brilliant book. The first of Moriarty's Ashbury/Brookfield books, it involves a girl who has run away to the circus and her confused best friend, forced to write to a Complete and Utter Stranger. This book is right up there with the second in the series (The Year of Secret Assignments) as far as greatness goes, but unlike that book this focuses in much more narrowly on one set of pen pals.

3. I Can't Tell You
Hilary Frank
After concluding that talking just leads to trouble, Jake's conversations with others, including his best friend, include entirely of doodles and scribbled notes. I'm such a sucker for books told in this sort of format and this one felt true-to-life with a story I loved.

4. How to Build A House
Dana Reinhardt
To escape the fallout of her dad and stepmother's divorce, Harper joins a volunteer home-building project in a region wrecked by a tornado. This book is so sweet with a story I definitely wasn't expecting and characters whose problems felt entirely real and difficult. 

5. Cheating at Solitaire
Ally Carter
This is the only non-YA book on the list and OH MY GOODNESS IT IS JUST SO GOOD DESPITE THAT EMBARRASSING COVER. Ally Carter's (yes, that Ally Carter) debut novel is a romance novel about a self-help guru-celebrity whose claim to fame is her books touting the positives of choosing to live the single lifestyle. And then she falls in love. And it is all kinds of cute and heartwarming and Julia James is such a great character and sadly this book is out of print but if you happen to find it somewhere, anywhere, do yourself a favor and read it. You're welcome.

6. Peaches (series)
Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published in the midst of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, this three-book series of friends who come together during the summers on a peach orchard is - dare I say it? - quite possibly even better than its more-successful  counterpart. The southern girls of this series - Birdie, Leeda, and Murphy - were overshadowed when the books came out, I fear, but their story of friendship sharp, compelling, and even a little bitter-sad at times. I love it. Love love love.

7. The Kid Table
Andrea Seigel 
The story of six cousins, narrated by one the family fears might be a psychopath, is my kind of story. Full of family get-togethers, the push-and-pull of family relationships, and way-beyond-quirky characters.

8. The Naughty List
Suzanne Young
A cheer squad that doubles as a crew of spies. NEED I SAY MORE?

9. The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading
Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
The tale of a geek girl who makes the Varsity cheer squad and catches the attention of her basketball-star crush. OMG, so much love. Cheerleaders and geeks galore and a know-it-all boy, plus the best opening line in the history of YA. 

10. After the Kiss
Terra Elan McVoy
When Camille kisses Becca's boyfriend, the two girls who've never met become connected in a way they aren't even aware of. As Becca deals with the painful breakup that comes, Camille's dealing with her always-on-the-move family and unable to set down roots and trust her new friends. THIS BOOK. OMG. It combines some of my favorite elements (including unorthodox narration styles) and tells the slow, quiet, emotional story of these girls SO INCREDIBLY WELL. I love these characters and this story this book. Love.

If you haven't read any of these books, you really should get on that.


  1. I've heard The Kid Table was good. I'll have to give it a try :)

  2. Great choices! I've heard of some of these titles!

  3. a) thanks for the recs, I haven't read any of these!
    b) your intro paragraph really made me laugh, although I think The Kid's Table *almost* qualifies as an under-rated book you love talking about ;)

  4. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read any of those! Although I have read others by those authors . . . I torn about which one to read first. Maybe How to Build a House? I loved The Things A Brother Knows.

  5. Trish
    Oh, definitely! I think that's sort of a hit-and-miss book, but it was definitely a hit with me and if you like offbeat characters and family drama, I think you'll really like it.

    Kailia Sage
    Oh good!

    Ha, thanks! Most of these books are older which is probably why I don't talk about them as much. But they're all SO GOOD.

    Yep, some of these authors have other better-known books. I'd go with Feeling Sorry for Celia, especially if you're a Jaclyn Moriarty fan. But they're all great.

  6. Yay for Feeling Sorry for Celia! Have you read book 4 in the series, Dreaming of Amelia? Even better, if anything.

    My top ten is at http://yayeahyeah.blogspot.com/2011/08/top-ten-tuesday-underrated-books.html if you'd like to take a look.

  7. Sash and Em
    It is way cute!

    YA Yeah Yeah
    OMG I hadn't even heard of Dreaming of Amelia, but it's now on my list. Thank you!

  8. You have so many books on your list that I actually have in my library but I haven't read them. Thanks for the push I needed to pay closer attention.

    My Head is Full of Books

  9. Yes to Feeling Sorry for Celia! So many people read The Year of Secret Assignments and ignore the rest of the series. I adore Jaclyn Moriarty. I picked After the Kiss too. Great minds think alike. ;)

    Here's my Top Ten: http://bit.ly/qqOf7F

  10. I love Feeling Sorry for Celia and Peaches! I really want to checkout Cheating at Solitaire.

  11. Lots of books I'm not familiar with! Great job.

    Here's my Top Ten post for this week: Top Ten Underappreciated Books
    And don't forget to stop in and sign up to win in the Readerbuzz August Giveaway!

  12. Argh! I'm trying to pick one book from everyone's top ten today but I'm having a hard time just picking one here! I guess I'll have to go with more than one.

  13. I'd forgotten Ally Carter had written an adult novel. I should read it.

  14. Anne Bennett
    Yay! Glad I've re-introduced you to these great books!

    Ahh I checked out your list & loved it. We seem to have some similar tastes so I'm now following your blog. :)

    Nose in A Book
    Yesss, it's such a good book. Most sites (Amazon, BN I think) have it for sale used if you can't find it at the library.

    Deb Nance

    Aww, thanks! I'm so flattered & glad.

    Alison Can Read
    Oh, you definitely should.

  15. The only problem with reading Cheating at Solitaire if you manage to find a copy is the sequel is even harder to find!

    I've read a few of these but the others I'll be adding to my ever growing list. I get really excited whenever I see a book you've reviewed at my library- I've borrowed Like Mandarin and I just finished Rival (so so good).

  16. I haven't read a lot of these! But I LOVE Feeling Sorry for Celia, it's such a wonderful book.

  17. Jennila
    YAY SO GLAD!!!

    Also, I would SWEAR I used to have a copy of Learning to Play Gin (the sequel) but it disappeared and I'm definitely upset about that.

    Yes! It is!

  18. Feeling Sorry for Celia!! looove it :) And crazy, I borrowed How to Build a House from the library just based on the title/cover (but i haven't read it yet D:) glad to know it's awesomesauce. hehe and I love that cover fot the Kid's Table!

  19. Great list! I really loved Peaches. (And the co-author of The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading was one of my crit partners on a YA writing course I did about 6 years ago. My other crit partner was Sara Bennett Wealer :) )