Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

I don’t always participate in Top Ten Tuesday, but when I do, it’s because I want to rave about books! This week’s theme is hidden gems, aka books we love that we think everyone should love but for some reason have not hit the bestseller lists or gotten the big movie deals. In no particular order, here are some of the books I’m always shoving into friends’ hands:

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
I read this as a teen and immediately made my close friends read it, too. Told in letters (some of which are from imaginary organizations), it’s a clever, funny, touching look at the evolving nature of friendship.

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
Admittedly, this one started slow, but it’s such a great story of a gender-non-conforming teen. All the relationships felt so real to me, and I especially appreciated Pen’s struggles with her traditional Portuguese family.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
This middle-grade novel about a girl with grand piano dreams and an organ reality hit me right in the feels. It’s a thoughtful, fun, and funny story about family, friends, fear, and surprising yourself.

Good Enough by Paula Yoo
Such a sweet, funny, touching story about a girl dealing with family pressure to excel, major crushes, and a secret love of pop music. Patti’s church group friends are my fav.

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
This is one of my favorite family stories, about four generations of women helping one to pass onto the afterlife. Doyle has such a way with voice and dialogue.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
This story about a competitive high school runner who learns to run again after losing her leg in a car accident feels so genuine, both in terms of the emotional stakes and of the information about what it actually takes to go through rehab and run with a prosthetic.

The Light Fantastic and Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
This is a two-for, because Sarah Combs is one of my all-time favorite writers and humans. Both of her books are packed with gorgeous writing, touching stories, deep sadness, pure joy, and characters you just want to hug.

The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper
A historical, epistolary series about a royal family at the edge of WWII? Sign me up. Cooper does a fantastic job creating a memorable set of characters and gives a fascinating look at the rise of hate, fear, and war (which, sadly, feels too close to today’s vibe) and what good people can do to stand against it.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
This was one of my very favorite books when I was 10/11-years-old. After reading The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, I randomly stumbled across this one in the library and it hit all those good Victorian feels–even governesses, plucky orphans, and a whole forest of hungry wolves.

Wildlife by Fiona Wood
I feel like if you squished together Feeling Sorry for Celia and Breakfast Served AnytimeWildlife is what you’d get, which means I am 100% its target audience. Wildlife examines toxic friendships, grief, and finding the people you need, all set at an outdoor education program in Australia. (What is it about Australian YA that I just love?!)

Underrated books that you love? Share them in the comments! Also make sure to check out everyone else’s Top Ten Tuesday hidden gems via That Artsy Reader Girl.

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