14 Underhyped YA Books Worth Reading

14 Underhyped Young Adult Books Worth Reading

14 Underhyped YA Books Worth Reading

I was emailing with an author of one of my favorite books from last year, and I realized it’s been a while since I shared a list of the books that I loved that just didn’t seem to get the hype they deserved. Some of these were published during the early days of Covid, when authors canceled book signings, school visits, and other bookish events. A few of these underhyped YA titles are from the ancient days before the pandemic changed life as we knew it. Others were published more recently– perhaps a victim of Barnes & Noble’s switch to carrying mostly paperbacks? I’m not sure what the deal is, but I am sure these books deserve more attention than they received thus far.

This list includes books that were published at least 90 days ago (usually much more than that) which have fewer than 500 ratings on Goodreads as of April 2023.

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Minus One Club by Kekla Magoon

The Minus-One Club by Kekla Magoon

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: After losing his sister in a car accident, Kermit gets invited to a grief support group of sorts, where he finds love and friendship, until the group faces a crisis that could undo them all. Such great storytelling here.

Published January 17, 2023 | 145 Goodreads ratings


How We Ricochet by Faith Gardner

How We Ricochet by Faith Gardner

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review to Come

What you need to know: After Betty and her family survive a shooting incident, she wrestles with why it happened. She builds a friendship with the brother of the shooter, trying to learn about the boy who tried to kill her sister and mother. An unforgettable, timely story.

Published May 24, 2022| 144 Goodreads ratings


Shades of Rust and Ruin by A. G. Howard

Shades of Rust and Ruin by A. G. Howard

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: Twin sisters. A family curse. An incredible boy who should be off-limits. Inspired by “Goblin Market” by Christina Rosetti. I am hooked on this one.

Release Date: September 6, 2022 | 361 Goodreads ratings


It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames

It Looks Like Us by Allison Ames

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: A high school team visiting an Antarctic research station. An unknown, shapeshifting infection pursuing them one by one. Scary books aren’t my usual go-to, but I couldn’t put this one down. Ace main character. Also, there’s an obnoxious billionaire named Anton Rusk. This was a spark of joy that I didn’t know I needed.

Release Date: September 13, 2022 | 460 Goodreads ratings


The 9:09 Project by Mark H. Parsons

The 9:09 Project by Mark H. Parsons

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: A boy grieving the loss of his mother. A project: capturing pictures of ordinary people on the street. As the photos show him a deeper world, he begins to forge connections with new friends and reconnect with his memories of his mother.

Release Date: November 15, 2022 | 143 Goodreads ratings


Belittled Women by Amanda Sallet

Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: From Goodreads: “Lit’s about to hit the fan.” (This book had me at that line.) A girl whose mother is obsessed with the Alcott classic navigates her frustration at feeling boxed in by the classic story. This is exactly the rom-com I need in my life.

Release Date: November 29, 2022 | 288 Goodreads ratings


Malcolm and Me by Robin Farmer

Malcolm and Me by Robin Farmer

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Set against Watergate and the post-civil rights era. A coming-of-age tale of truth-telling, faith, family, forgiveness, and social activism featuring a 13-year-old Philly native with the soul of a poet.

Available November 17, 2020 | 164 Goodreads ratings


We Made It All Up by Margot Wood

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: A town full of secrets. A love-story fan-fic written by two unlikely friends. A murder: the boy they’ve written about. Twisty and suspenseful. Great characters. I was on the edge of my seat.

Release Date: July 12, 2022 | 259 Goodreads ratings


Don't Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: A novel in verse. From Goodreads: “An affecting and resonant YA novel in verse that explores family, community, the changing ocean tides, and what it means to fall in love with someone who sees the world in a different way.” This book totally delivered on that promise.

Release Date: July 19, 2022 | 187 Goodreads ratings


Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: This one pretty much had me at “THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR meets JUMANJI.” Unique and entertaining. I loved this one.

Release Date: June 7, 2022 | 244 Goodreads ratings


We Light Up the Sky by Lilliam Rivera

We Light Up the Sky by Lilliam Rivera

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: An alien invasion. Unlikely allies and friendships. A post-pandemic Los Angeles. Eerie and beautifully written.

Release Date: October 5, 2021 | 262 Goodreads ratings


For This Life Only by Stacey Kade

For This Life Only by Stacy Kade

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: Faith and questions about faith in a non-preachy way. A sweet romantic relationship. This one stuck with me even years after I read it.

Release Date: August 30, 2016 | 326 Goodreads ratings


The Splendor by Breeana Shields

The Splendor by Breeana Shields

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: I couldn’t put this one down. Juliette and Henri are the kind of characters that hit like an arrow to the heart: vulnerable, desperate to save/protect the people they love, wounded, and smart.

Published September 28, 2021 | 426 Goodreads Ratings


Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski

Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads | My Review

What you need to know: A highly deadly, highly contagious illness affecting teens forces afflicted teens to live in a sort of boarding school. It’s heartbreaking and filled with some of the smartest exploration of love and identity. Still a favorite.

Release Date: April 5, 2016 | 458 Goodreads ratings


What are your favorite underhyped young adult books?

Have you read any of the books on my list? (If so, help out the authors by jumping on over to Goodreads or a retail site to leave a review!)

What are your favorite underhyped young adult books? Leave a comment and let me know what I need to add to my reading list!

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 Responses to 14 Underhyped YA Books Worth Reading

  1. I was obsessed with A.G Howard’s Splintered series but haven’t checked out the author’s subsequent releases. It seems like still full of fairytale retellings though, so I hope I can get to them this year!

    • Kasey says:

      I’m so behind on her books! Shades of Rust and Ruin was the first one I’ve ever read by her. I definitely need to read the Splintered series. Yes– it definitely had a fairytale vibe, even though it started in what was supposed to be the real world. I hope you enjoy it if you get to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thanks ffor spotlighting these books. I haven’t heard of any of them.