Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's topic is Top Ten Underrated Books in X Genre. I know that YA isn't technically a genre (it's a reading level), but I didn't think I could come up with ten books in one genre alone. So here are ten books that I think deserve a bit more buzz than they may have gotten:
Absent by Katie Williams - I'd never even heard of this book when I found it at the library. I chose to read it because it was short. To my surprise, it was really good! It's part contemporary, part paranormal, and all teenage high school drama. I have no idea why this one isn't more popular than it is.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - I know this book got quite a bit of hype when it first came out, but now it seems to have been forgotten in favour of the author's Delirium trilogy. I think it's a shame when standalone books get overshadowed by series, because they're often stronger and more tightly written.
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb - I read this book before I had a book blog. I think I read some Amazon reviews and someone mentioned how good it was, so I decided to try it. Am I ever glad I did! It's one of my favourite YA books. It's definitely got a paranormal flavour, so I'm not sure why it's not more popular than it is.
Fire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones - The relative underratedness of this book is kind of baffling to me. It's got elements of fairytale/folktale retelling, as well as (depending on how you look at it) a questionable age-difference romance. Isn't that standard in YA?
The Lake and the Library by S. M. Beiko - I think I know exactly why this novel isn't more well known: it's by a first-time Canadian author. I found it at the local library and decided it looked interesting. While it's not perfect (the first draft was written when the author was a teenager, and... well, it kind of shows), it's imaginative and interesting and it tugged on my heartstrings more than any other book I'd read in a long time. I can't remember the last time I'd had such an emotional response to a book. It's a good fit in the YA genre, with its fantasy/paranormal themes. It's just not that well known.
The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller - This historical novel, told in turn by the four Romanov sisters, should get a lot more attention than it does. Even though most people know how it ends, the book is still worth reading. The characterization is strong, the story is compelling, and you can tell that tons of meticulous research went into the writing of this one. It's too bad that more people haven't discovered (and appreciated) this wonderful look at the unusual lives of real teenage princesses in Imperial Russia.
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi - This is one of the better dystopian novels I've read. Actually, I'm not sure if it's dystopian so much as post-apocalyptic (even though there really was no apocalypse to speak of) or just sci-fi. In any case, it reads like a more realistic version of a bleak future, with a changed climate that produces a rising sea level and Category 6 hurricanes, as well as a Chinese-dominated world economy.
Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis - I really don't know why more people haven't read this book. It's part love story, part historical fiction, part fantasy... with a fairytale flavour and hints of the paranormal. Didn't I just tick every box when it comes to what's popular in YA? To be fair, I hadn't heard of this one either until a bookstore employee recommended it to me. But now that I've read it, I'm baffled as to why it doesn't get more attention or praise.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion - I think, technically, this is more NA than YA, but I'm going to count it here anyway. I think the reason that this book doesn't get read more often is because people think they don't want to read a zombie novel. I totally get that; when I read this one, I'd all but sworn off of the genre because of a previous bad reading experience. The thing is, the zombie aspect is not really what this book is about...
The Witches of Willowmere by Alison Baird - This is the first book of my favourite YA trilogy. It's by a Canadian author (and I'm not sure if the third book was ever available in the U.S.), so it's kind of understandable that the books aren't more well known. But it's a shame that they aren't, because they've got plenty of elements that make up a good YA story: witches, reincarnation, parental drama, and a bit of romance. The writing is also pretty strong, and the books aren't super long... which makes it an easy trilogy to get through.
What other YA books do you think deserve more attention?