For the month of December, I am joining Girlxoxo and Traveling with T for their #AMonthofFaves blog event. To learn more and to see the list of topics, read their announcement post–#AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.
When I started thinking about this one, I wasn’t sure how I could consistently measure whether or not a book is “underrated.” Is this based on my personal opinion? How much I heard about the book before and after it was published? How many ratings it has on Goodreads? What its average Goodreads rating is?
I decided to go with a couple of things: I chose books that have around 2,000 ratings or fewer on Goodreads, and/or their rating is lower than I think it should be. I didn’t go by how much “buzz” the book received because I’ve been so busy with work and school over the past few years that I haven’t been keeping my ear to the ground as much as I should about upcoming books.
A Woman First: First Woman, by Selina Meyer — Do you watch the TV show Veep? Do you love it? If you answered “Yes!” to those two questions, then why haven’t you read A Woman First?! This book has only 404 ratings on Goodreads. I had no idea this book was even a thing until sometime in June, and it was published in March. When I found out that Gary reads the audiobook with her, I immediately got the audiobook on Audible so I could listen to it instead of reading the treebook. It is SO GOOD. I laughed so hard. I might need to rewatch the show soon.
Go Ahead in the Rain, by Hanif Abdurraqib — 1990s hip-hop will always be my favorite. I’m one of those people who keeps classic A Tribe Called Quest and other 90s hip-hop in regular rotation. When I heard about this book (and I can’t remember where I heard about it), I knew I had to read it. And you guys, I cannot describe in words the way it made me feel. So much nostalgia. I love the way Abdurraqib not only traces the history of this amazing group, but also how he puts it in a larger cultural context and puts it in the context of his own life. It’s part memoir, part hip-hop history, and all good. I swear it touched my very soul. (This has 1,708 ratings on Goodreads.)
Universal Harvester & Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle — I chose these two books not because they had fewer than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads, but because their ratings are so much lower than I think they should be. I read both of these with sj (she’s the one who brought them to my attention), and I liked them so much. They’re really good. I gave them both five stars, but the average rating for Universal Harvester is 3.23 stars, and the average rating for Wolf in White Van is 3.71 stars. I really think they’re deserving of at least 4.5 stars, if not the five stars I gave them. You can check out my reviews of them here.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme, by Tiffany D. Jackson — This is another great hip-hop-based YA novel, with only 1,222 ratings on Goodreads. Tiffany Jackson’s other books have so many more ratings. I’m not sure why this one is falling through the cracks, but it’s definitely worth the read.
Pandaemonium, by Christopher Brookmyre — I get that this might not be everyone’s jam, but it’s so good. This is another one that sj and I read together and we both really enjoyed it. Pandaemonium has 2,009 ratings on Goodreads, and none of Brookmyre’s books have more than around 7,000 ratings. I don’t know if this is because he’s just not that well known, or if his books are too niche for more people to read them. But I really liked this one and would like to read more of his stuff.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, by Brandy Colbert — This book has only 600 ratings on Goodreads, and I’m not sure why. According to her website, she has four published novels (one of which won the Stonewall Book Award), and only two of them have more than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. I gave this one four stars, and while I wouldn’t describe it as fantastic, it’s still definitely worth the read if you like YA.
I’m looking forward to hearing about the books you think are underrated and deserve more buzz. Let me know what they are in the comments!