Last week I published a list of four novels that left me feeling deflated instead of hyped – you can check that list out here. This week I thought I would do the opposite and mention the underrated YA novels and series that you should begin reading immediately.
As you have probably guessed, I have read, completed and adored all of the books on this list. Also, this discussion does come across as more of a review/recommendations post. But, these books have all been underappreciated, therefore, I want more people to read them.
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Now, this book probably received its moment in the spotlight upon its initial debut in 2012. However, I have not heard much about it since. And, with the issue of mental illness being discussed more and more every year, I believe that this book should definitely be getting more attention for its presentation of emotional and physical abuse and the impact it can have on the recipient. Set in the initial stages of a zombie outbreak, Courtney Summers presents how issues from pre-outbreak life can still have an impact on you once the undead rise.
Sloane is a young adult who is abused by her father, abuse which has increased in her sister’s absence over the past 6-months. The outbreak occurs and Sloane must fight, not for her life, but for her death, because if she wants to die, she can’t be selfish. Stuck in a school with fellow classmates, Sloane must learn that maybe life is worth fighting for, especially in a dying world.
Summers manages to balance the gore and violence expected from a zombie novel, with the emotional exploration of a more serious topic. I fell in love with the characters, cared and cried for them. It is a heart wrenching story, with an open ending that gives way for the following novella – Please Remain Calm. I did publish a review of This is Not a Test and Please Remain Calm, back in March. If you would like to check it out, click here.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
For me, this was initially a cover buy. I saw it on the Kindle store and fell in love with the design. And then, I read it, and instantly fell in love. A Thousand Pieces of You is the first novel in the epic sci-fi series – Firebird. With the stories mystery, romance and dimensional travel, there is never a dull moment. It’s an epic journey through the multiverse told through the eyes of Marguerite, the youngest daughter of the two scientists who invented the Firebird – the object that gives people the ability to travel to alternate Universes.
This story discusses the ethics of travelling through dimensions, betrayal, loss and obsession. Everything gets crazier as the series and story progresses, but Claudia majestically manages to create intrigue and clarity within the craziness.
Additionally, the romance does not overshadow the overarching plot! Which is fantastic. This series should be receiving more of the spotlight, especially with the release of the third installment in the beginning of November. I talk more about this series in my Most Anticipated Releases of Autumn 2016 and my first ever review on this blog – here.
Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
People typically say that the premise for this series is similar to that of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, those people are wrong. There is a life or death competition, but that is where the similarities end. Both Fire & Flood and the sequel, Salt & Stone, span a two month period, following Tella as she attempts to win a cure for her dying brother. Each contestant and their animal companion must survive two weeks in each of the four ecosystems: jungle, desert, ocean and snowy mountains. It’s a thrilling journey through the competition as competitors go to extreme lengths to win.
Throughout the series there is a noticeable amount of character development. Everyone’s motivations come to light as people rely on one another for survival. Scott includes both light and dark moments between the action adventure elements.
Sadly, we are still waiting for Victoria’s publisher to decide whether they want to pick up the much-needed and highly requested third installment. Fingers crossed that this series gets the conclusion it deserves.
Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore (James Frey)
The Lorien Legacies series is a prime example of a series where you must separate the art from the artist. Because James Frey is not a good guy. But, the series is one which got me into reading. It’s an epic sci-fi action-adventure with a tragic story, and well developed characters. Although the series has it’s flaws, quite noticeable ones, I still love it and gladly preach about how more people should be reading it. The fandom is so small, friendly and will always happily welcome newcomers.
I am Number Four debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List during its initial release. Instantly, a movie adaptation was produced and everything went downhill from there. The adaptation was far from faithful, and pushed audiences away. The series’ seventh and final installment released in June of this year and hardly anyone blinked an eye.
However, many people failed to give this series a chance. It has heart. A gripping story. A thrilling mystery. And characters you will adore. I am likely to do a series discussion at some point, where I will talk about the author, the movie, the fans and the series in more detail. Keep an eye out for that! But, in the meantime, why not read the series.
Those were the four books/series I feel are underrated, underappreciated and that you should read immediately. What books do you believe missed their time in the spotlight? Leave a comment down below!