July 22, 2015

My Favourite Underrated Young Adult Books (Part 2)

I posted Part 1 of my favourite underrated YA books awhile ago, and today I'm back with Part 2. You can check out the first post for my thoughts about the meaning of underrated vs what people mean what they say it. I also recommend you check out the hashtag #quietYA, started by @DailyJulianne for some great under the radar suggestions.

Alright, here's part 2 (with a reminder that stats were gathered on April 6, 2015 and may have changed since then):

Underrated Young Adult Novels:

Apparition by Gail Gallant [190 ratings, 3.84 average]
Canadian set YA ghost story? Yes please! I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. The ghost part was eerie but never truly scary (a good thing IMO). I loved the characters and their relationships. This felt like a real contemporary novel where there just happened to be a paranormal element, which is something I always enjoy.

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin [544 ratings, 3.67 average]
This is a contemp with a great mix of heavy and light emotions. It has a music theme to it, and it tells a great story of boys, family, and growing up. I especially liked that it featured exes who were both to blame for the break-up, and I thought that the author did a great job of telling a “will they, won’t they” story.

Kiss. Kill. Vanish. by Jessica Martinez [640 ratings, 3.61 average]
This book is exciting, romantic, and thrilling. There’s a certain twistiness to the story, a real slow reveal of what happened to Valentina (or Jane, as she’s calling herself in Montreal). I can’t say too much except I was still thinking about this book months after I read it. I truly believe this is the strongest of Jessica’s books yet, and I was a huge fan of Virtuosity as well.

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker [1,028 ratings, 3.50 average]
What I wrote in my review for this book: ‘Small Town Sinners’ is an incredibly compelling and touching novel. Melissa Walker offers a very nuanced and non-judgmental examination of religion, belief, and truth. I get that the topic of this novel will turn some people off, but I honestly find it such a relevant and honest novel that a lot of teens may be able to relate to. It's not easy to reconcile faith and modern society, and Small Town Sinners takes on one aspect of that.

Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins [1,735 ratings, 3.85 average]
Please ignore the over-used cover models and focus on the inside of this book. This was released as YA, but I definitely consider it a hybrid NA book. It features an aspiring chef and a wounded war veteran. Sooooo much character growth in this book, such an amazing story of finding your path in life, and the romance is absolutely beautiful. When you can do family, friends, and romance well in one book I am a happy contemporary lover.

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding [2,077 ratings, 3.89 average]
If you’re looking for a book about a complicated mother/daughter relationship I’d highly recommend this one. Also great in this book: teens acting like real teens, show choir/musical theatre, and a cute (nerdy!) boy.

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross [2,315 ratings, 4.18 average]
Sporty heroine and sporty hero. Swoony, sweet romance. Complicated (but also amazing) family dynamic. I could keep going and going listing all the things Julie Cross has added to this book and done such a good job portraying. I loveddddd this novel and how it made me feel, and it makes me so excited for her hockey book to come out next year.

Shadows by Paula Weston [3,260 ratings, 4.00 average]
This is an Australian novel, and it's been out in North America for about a year and a half now. I highly suggest you drop everything and READ. THIS. BOOK. I'm so serious about this. This very quickly became one of my absolute favourite series. Fabulous characters, including tons of strong females. Epic, explosive chemistry between two of the leads. Wonderful world building and HIGH STAKES for the characters. Plus I love the setting and general tone of the book.

Star Crossed by Elizabeth Bunce [5,178 ratings, 3.81 average]
Such an interesting fantasy read, with fabulous characters and amazing world building. If you enjoy fantasy novels involving magic, court politics, and religion I definitely recommend this one. Celyn (or Digger) is a delightful main character, so strong, intelligent, and loyal.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood [Book 1: 10,826 ratings, 3.91 average; Book 3: 1,431 ratings, 4.17 average]
A trilogy about sisters, witches, feminism, and about love in its many forms. I love this magical alternate history. Such a smart, emotional, romantic, feel-the-emotions-in-your-stomach series.

I hope you'll check out some of these recommendations, and stay tuned for Part 3!

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