Monday 16 January 2017

Top Ten Underrated Books I've Read In The Past Year Or So

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I always find 'underrated' really hard to define! I've gone for 400 or less ratings on Goodreads.

The Emily Sparkes series by Ruth Fitzgerald (Little, Brown)

I tend to prefer MG adventure stories to contemporaries, but my two exceptions are Ruth Fitzgerald and Susie Day's books. Both of them capture their characters perfectly, with wonderful humour and brilliant friendships. This quartet is an absolute gem of a series, with the hilarious title character dealing with everything from trying to avoid being paired with Gross-Out Gavin for a trip, to aiming to stop her dad embarrassing her by DJing the school disco.

The Storey Street books by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie (Orion)

I wasn't 100% sure what to expect from Phil's MG books; his YA novels are superb but deal with tough topics; they are very emotional reads. As good as those YA books are, though, his MG ones are even more wonderful. I love the warmth, heart and humour he brings to his characters in this great reads (they're loosely linked, taking place in the same street and with recurring characters, but can easily be read as stand-alones.) In addition, the pairing of Phil and Sara Ogilvie is a stroke of genius, they complement each other perfectly.

Love Beyond Body, Space And Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology edited by Hope Nicholson (Bedside Press)

Currently reading but on course to be one of the best short story collections I've ever read. Lots of variety here and it's great to see own voices representation of indigenous people. The stand-out for me so far is The Boys Who Became The Hummingbirds by Daniel Heath Justice, some of the most beautiful writing I've read for years and a stunning story.

Seven Tears At High Tide by CB Lee  

Gorgeous romance between Asian-American bisexual guy Kevin and Morgan, a half-human half-selkie. The main draw here is the fabulous chemistry between the two leads, but I also loved CB Lee's wonderful world-building.

Sawbones by Catherine Johnson (Walker) 

Part of me is kicking myself that this was published in 2013 and I only got around to reading it late last year because it is BRILLIANT; on the plus side this at least means I have the sequel to hand rather than needing to wait three years as early readers did. Ezra, a surgeon's apprentice, and Loveday, a magician's daughter, are fantastic characters and work superbly well as a pairing. Great setting of late 18th century London, as well - sequel Blade and Bone takes place in Paris and I'm excited to see how Catherine brings another city to life.

Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan (David Fickling Books)

My favourite setting of last year, as Liz Flanagan brings the West Yorkshire countryside to life wonderfully well in this intriguing tale of two best friends - gothy Jess and popular Eden - and what happens when Eden disappears and Jess is left trying to figure out what has become of her. Awesome characters with a really interesting friendship, too.

Superior by Jessica Lack (Book Smugglers)

If you have any interest in super-cute gay romances, or superhero stories (one of the leads here is a superhero's intern, while the other is a supervillain's apprentice) you absolutely need this in your life! Completely gorgeous m/m story.

I'll Be Home For Christmas (Stripes)

Another fabulous short story collection featuring some of the best writers in UKYA - and raising money for homelessness charity Crisis too! I especially loved the stories here by Juno Dawson, Sita Brahmachari and Cat Clarke of the ones I've read so far (I'm dipping in every so often as I want to savour it); but there's bound to be something for everyone here.

Russell's Attic series by SL Huang (self-published)

This is such an awesomely action-packed thriller series, featuring a lead character who's basically the equivalent of Jack Reacher if he was a young woman with an incredible ability at mathematics. Cas Russell can dodge bullets, return Molotov cocktails, and perform many other incredible feats using her genius (superhuman?) levels of calculation. The moral dilemmas Cas faces as her new friend Arthur's essential goodness rubs off on her, meaning she's trying NOT to do stuff that could randomly kill bystanders, adds heart to the series.

Waiting For Callback series by Perdita and Honor Cargill (Simon & Schuster)

So many awesome fun YA contemporaries out there, and this series is definitely one of the best! I love the sparkling dialogue which is a major strong point, while there's great characterisation (Elektra is a fabulous MC) and book two, in particular, provides a hilarious look at the movie business. 

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