Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke – average rating: 3.5; my rating: 3.5
Unsurprisingly, the list starts with a Tucholke book.
Why is this book on the list if your rating is the average rating? Because it’s a really polarizing one, and I didn’t rate it 3.5 stars because of the common critiques (no plot, unhealthy relationship, etc – which are all true) but because of the exoticization of the Italian culture/characters (that was… gross). Otherwise, a really interesting, twisted book.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – average rating: 3.5; my rating: 5
I didn’t expect this book to be on the list. It’s one of my all-time favorite YA fantasy book. The writing is beautiful, the plot is really original and the world is inspired by Hindu mythology. It’s really weird, lyrical and description-heavy, so I understand that it isn’t for everyone, but it’s just… beautiful. Also, I liked the romance, and that almost never happens.
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo – average rating: 3.5; my rating: 4.75
Half dark contemporary, half mystery, this is a really unusual book (which is true for most books on this list). It’s about the twisted friendships and relationships between three lesbians. I think it should be more hyped, I had never read anything similar to this. It’s one of my favorite books of this year.
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller – average rating: 3.5; my rating: 3.5
Another fantasy book that is unfairly hated. I totally understand the bad reviews – the worldbuilding is mediocre, and there are some clichés – but I also found it really entertaining. And the bad reviews that said “the main character didn’t need to be genderfluid” are kind of gross.
The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury – average rating: 3.4; my rating: 4.5
A quiet, slow, underrated fantasy book. Not for everyone – there’s a love triangle and there’s hardly any action – but I loved the atmosphere and the main character.
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger – average rating: 3.4; my rating: 4
One of the very few new adult books that is not a romance, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is about demon-fighting bartenders, and it’s great. Not mind-blowing, maybe, but it’s a really entertaining, quick read.
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter – average rating: 3.4; my rating: 5
One of my favorite books of all times, Vassa in the Night is a whimsy, macabre, surreal retelling of Vasilisa the Beautiful, set in Brooklyn. Many readers loved it because of the beautiful imagery and writing, many hated it because they didn’t understand what was going on. If you are into darker retellings and Russian fairytales, try this.
If you like the idea of Baba Yaga Stores walking around New York on chicken legs, try this.
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza – average rating: 3.3; my rating: 3.5
This was a surprise. Why is this book so hated? As far as YA sci-fi goes, this book is good. It’s fast-paced, fun, and it deals with some really important themes. Yes, the worldbuilding was terrible… just like in every YA sci-fi book ever.
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke – average rating: 3.3; my rating: 4.5
Another Tucholke book! Everything about her books is weird – the writing, the plot, the characters – so I understand why they are not loved. But they’re so atmospheric…
After the Woods by Kim Savage – average rating: 3.2; my rating: 4
And the last book on this list is the first mystery book I’ve ever read. It’s not perfect – the ending was unsatisfying, and there were some spoilery things that bothered me – but the writing (especially the descriptions) were great, the woods were very creepy, and it deals with an unlikable main character in an unhealthy friendship. And I really liked it.
What are your favorite underrated books?