Books by Theme: Underrated and Amazing Young Adult Books Vol. 3

Another installation of a great series!  I noticed this was sort of a theme for the last Tell Me Something Tuesday, so look that up too.  For more unsung heroes, check out volumes 1 and 2. 

Underrated YA Books Vol. 1
Underrated YA Books Vol. 2

Underrated YA Books

Reality Boy by A.S. King
This book is the reason I made a volume 3.  I got an email from ARCs Around the World.  I'd never heard of it, but the blurb sounded cool.  The book was everything I'd expected and so much more.  Like something Palahniuk wrote for teens, John Green's evil twin, or something straight from the mind of a troubled kid.  I connected with Gerald instantly.  His voice is raw and authentic; his story will make you frustrated, make you cry, make you think twice about what you watch on TV.  It was one of the most powerful books I've read and it'll be making my top 10 of 2013, mark me.  I'm shocked I haven't seen it on more blogs.  King has a way of bringing the darkness of the world to light, and giving you an ending that's real, not fairytale.  An absolute must-read. 
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The Riddles of Epsilon by Christine Morton-Shaw
I came across this when I was packing for Germany.  It's older and I haven't seen it around.  It didn't get huge press, but it certainly made an impression.  It's a fun book, part mystery, part ghost story, part paranormal fantasy something else.  There's a little bit of romance and a lot of suspense.  It's been a while since I've read it, but I really enjoyed it at the time.  It keeps you on your toes.  It's great for a fun, scary read.  Check it out if you liked Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
I've seen this around the web, but not nearly as much as it deserves.  This book was unputdownable.  Angela is relatable, pitiable, frustrating and raw.  Sometimes you want to shake her, other times you want to hug her until the tears stop.  Her quest for revenge parallels the tragic mystery of her best friend's death, and brings out a ton of important issues:  rape, suicide, depression, bullying, betrayal, the overwhelming force of guilt, and the cost of revenge.  Watching Angie struggle with her own guilt and her desire for answers was both powerful and compelling.  The ending will leave you speechless.

The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale
This is one of my favorite series' from when I was younger, shockingly one I haven't finished.  This book still shines as one of the best in the series.  It's a cool take on a sci-fi / fantasy blend, with Travelers who hop worlds to fight a menacing otherworldly villain and acolytes who aid and anchor them.  Bobby Pendragon is your typical All-American Boy who loses his life to become something greater.  It's amazing to watch him grow and change, to watch him wade through the darkness.  The supporting cast is fully realized and the worlds are breathtaking.  Each book a new world, a new little universe.  This first book exemplifies the series with its twisty plot, unique world, and earth-shattering ending.
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Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
Probably a little more middle grade, but undeniably awesome.  Loved Narnia?  You'll die for Cooper.  The series is a King Arthur retelling like no other, with two warring secret societies, old deep magic, and a cast of adorable British youths who are both charming and utterly admirable.  The books breathe new life into old legends in a way that's true to the original but so much more.  I wouldn't hesitate to compare the epicness to Harry Potter or Tolkien.  The first book is a fitting beginning, setting up the mystery and showing off the evil these kids and young teens are up against.  It's short and more exciting with every page.  And it only gets more epic.  Read Meg Cabot's Avalon High?  Now pretend C.S. Lewis rewrote it, and you'll get a hint of this series' atmosphere.

Click the book titles to find out more! 

What are some YA books that you think deserve more press and more reads?  


  1. I've only heard good things about A.S. King and her work, so I really would like to try Reality Boy or Everybody Sees the Ants. The S-Word has such a vibrant, attention-drawing cover that hints at a lot of those tougher topics, so it's surprising that it didn't get that much publicity//fell to the backdrop. As for the rest, I haven't heard of any of the titles, but you sure have a way of making them sound so appealing, despite my book buying ban :).

    1. DO, read Reality Boy! I'm planning on reading Ants too but obviously I can't vouch for it yet. Reality Boy was just so vibrant and perfectly put together. As for the S-Word, I'm equally surprised. It combines tough stuff with a compelling quasi-mystery, so I can only imagine it's a marketing thing. I hope more readers discover it. Heh, I apologize to your book buying ban. Having minimal book-related self control myself, I understand.