Underrated reads time.
There are books out there which I adore with my heart and soul, but no one ever really seems to talk about them. So I thought it would be interesting to talk about some books I think are fantastic but that just don’t get enough recognition.
1. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
“[W]e’ve learned that grief can sometimes get loud, and when it does, we try not to speak over it.”
This book was longlisted for the ManBooker award back in 2015 and I picked it up for precisely that reason and fell in love immediately. The story follows June after a devastating fire kills her whole family. The story is about grief and acceptance and it follows a whole cast of characters in the aftermath of the tragedy. It’s a really short book that manages to pack a punch in very little pages and manages to be so beautiful and so sad at the same time. People never talk about this one and it’s a tragedy since the book is brilliant. If you’re interested in more of my thoughts, they can be found here (be aware that this is an old review and I had even less idea what I was doing than I do now).
2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
“I love you more than I hate everything else.”
Landline is arguably Rowell’s least popular book and I really don’t get why. It’s one of her two adult novels, and it follows two married people who hit a rough patch in their marriage. Georgie then goes to her parents’ house and discovers she can talk to Neal’s younger self through her old landline. It’s a book about relationships, what it takes to make them work, it’s also about partnership and life and overcoming rough patches and I really loved it. I read this four years ago when I was 19, and I thought there would be nothing engaging for me in a read about marriage. I was wrong. Rowell’s characters are really human and they feel real and this was so heartfelt. I absolutely loved it.
3. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
“It was strange how your brain could know what your heart refused to accept.”
I am a firm believer that this book received so many mixed reviews simply because it had none of the Harry Potter qualities. But I thought it was brilliant. It’s a story about a small town and it’s ripping at the seams after a death of councilman Barry Fairbrother. I may be partial to the small town story but I found this to be exceptionally well written. Rowling is really good at character development and at portraying all sorts of conflicts – marital, familial and class conflicts alike. Moreover, she manages to tie all of this stories in beautifully and I was completely mesmerized by this book.
4. Traitor’s Blade by Sebastian de Castell
“That’s what being free means – not the right to do whatever you want, but the right to take a stand and say what you’ll die for.”
This is a recent read for me, but I am surprised by how little I knew about this book going in. Matter of fact, I haven’t heard anyone talk about it, which is a real shame. It follows Falcio val Monde, who was the King’s First Cantor in charge of upholding his law, until the King was killed that is. Nowadays, the Greatcoats roam the country engaging in petty crimes, and Falcio is set to finish one final mission that his king left him in charge of. This is such a fun, fast-paced and engaging Fantasy read. It’s funny, the characters are completely charming and the book is constantly changing and taking new directions and it’s really a fantastic read with awesome fight scenes. If you want to know more, I have a full review of it here.
5. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
“I always say the truth is best even when we find it unpleasant.”
This book is unlike any YA/Middle Grade story you’ve ever read. It’s one I read years ago and I don’t remember as much of it as I would like. I do know that it was really thought-provoking and philosophical and handled grand topics such as the soul. This is a dystopian fiction novel about a boy who lives in the land of Opium, ruled by El Patron, who happens to be the original DNA from which clones are made. It’s a weird premise, but the story takes on large themes of friendship, survival and hope. Highly recommend this one and we can even read it together since I am due a reread.
6. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
“Everything goes away, Jack Sawyer, like the moon. Everything comes back, like the moon.”
Since Stephen King has written hundreds of books, I feel like some (or most) of them fall through the cracks. I never hear anyone talk about this one, and I loved it. It’s one of his more fantastical ones (rather than horror) and it follows Jack Sawyer as he embarks on an adventure into another land. The thing I like about this book is that it’s the canonical epic quest book. There’s a search for the sacred object, there’s terror and awakening and mystery and it’s a classic hero coming of age story. I love this one and I highly recommend you check it out.
And those are my underrated reads recommendations! Do you have any recs for me of books that are awesome but people rarely talk about? Let me know!
Come hang out with me:
*Used Book Depository links are affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you buy a book through my link, which helps me out a lot!