Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish with a different bookish theme each week. Today’s topic is:
Top 10 Underrated Books!
- The Host, by Stephenie Meyer. As much as it pains me to include Meyer, given how much recognition she got for those other books she wrote, I really enjoyed The Host. It was a really interesting concept, something that took much more creativity than sparkling vampires. I thought the world building was nice and the characters, even though I didn’t like all of them, well constructed. The writing, while not superb, was far better than anything of hers I’d read previously. I really hope she manages to get a sequel to this one out because she told a nice story here.
- Major Crush, by Jennifer Echols. Echols has gained a lot of recognition for her romantic dramas Forget You, Going Too Far and Love Story of late but I have to admit that Major Crush I have a huge soft spot for too. It’s a comedy more in the vein of The Boys Next Door but without the protagonist being so utterly clueless. I really enjoyed both Drew and Virginia and I thought the supporting characters, especially the teacher, were great. The teacher is hilarious – definitely wish I’d had a teacher like that when I was in high school!
- Emma’s Baby, by Abbie Taylor. Definitely one of the most raw, honest accounts of being a single mother I’ve ever read. It doesn’t shy away from anything, including the mother feeling like she may potentially harm her own baby if she doesn’t get a break. Instead of getting assistance from the doctors and social services, she gets ignored. Some events in this book are a bit dramatic, but the underlying theme of how hard it is to raise a child when you are completely alone, without a person in the world to help you, is flawlessly written.
- Speak, by Laurie Halse-Anderson. Not underrated at all among book bloggers but I think the greater population would largely be ignorant to this amazing novel, especially in my country. It’s something that I think should be required reading for high schoolers, as it covers several incredibly relevant topics like sexual assault/date rape, bullying, etc.
- The Post-Birthday World, by Lionel Shriver. After I read We Need To Talk About Kevin, which got a lot of reviews and garnered a lot of talk here in the local press, I went in search of her other works. This novel was the only one my library had checked in and I sped through it in about a day. It’s a Sliding Doors-style, what if book which starts with a scenario and then splits into a dual narrative in alternating chapters with one set devoted to one choice a character makes and the other set devoted to what happened if she didn’t make that choice. It’s incredible, one of my favourite reads ever.
- North Of Beautiful, by Justina Chen Headley. Another story that touches on some pertinent issues, such as physical appearance, loving someone for who they are underneath and emotional abuse. It’s a beautifully written novel with a sympathetic and multi-layered main character and some very fleshed out supporting characters.
- Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes. Marian Keyes is a very well known name in chick lit but I’ve always thought that most of her novels sort of defied that category and none more so than this one, Anybody Out There?. A Walsh sister book, this one revolves around Anna who is trying to contact her husband, only for there to be no word from him, day after day. After surviving a horrible car accident in New York, she is recuperating at her parents house in Ireland. The reader can tell where her husband is long before Anna herself comes to terms with it but the reveal is still wonderfully emotive and heartbreaking. Definitely one of my favourite Keyes novel, if not the favourite.
- Heartless, by Tasma Walton. It was published here a couple of years ago to very little fuss through a small publishing house, the choice of the author. I bought it out of curiosity – Walton is an actress in Australia, best known for her run in the popular 90s cop drama Blue Heelers and also for marrying funnyman Rove McManus. I was pleasantly surprised when I read the book – unique idea, powerfully and simply written. I’m not sure if she has anything else in the works but I’d definitely read another book from her.
- The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. This book was a lot of things – when I first read it last year, it was just one of those books that felt so fresh and new to me, like something I’d never read before. The narrator, whose name we never learn, was beautiful, self absorbed, using his looks to make his money and get by in life before he was horrifically burned in a car accident – some burns classified as 4th degree. His looks are gone, everything almost, is gone. Some of the scenes where the author describes how they treat his burns are truly chilling and just…shiver inducing. But apart from all of that, The Gargoyle is a unique love story, a love that can’t ever be physical and can only be emotional.
- Caribou Island, by David Vann. A hauntingly depressing tale about couple Gary and Irene who have lived in Alaska for 30 years. Gary has a dream to build a log cabin entirely with his own two hands in an isolated part of their town accessible only by boat, and only in good weather. But Gary is hopelessly disorganized and selfish and eventually this leads to an exquisit destruction of sanity and marriage.
There are my Top 10 Underrated Books – it’s very hard to actually find underrated books to recommend to 100 other book bloggers because well, they all tend to be more on the ball with releases and even little-known titles are generally well known in the blogging world! So a couple might raise eyebrows as being ‘underrated’ but I’ve tried to think in the grander scheme of things, to what the average reader who doesn’t read book review blogs, or stalk goodreads, might agree with!
If you have time, pop over and enter my giveaway - a copy of Australian author Kylie Ladd’s second novel, Last Summer. It’s open internationally and all you need to do is fill out a quick form!