This was an interesting topic put for notation on the Top Ten Tuesday theme as sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish. This week showcases my choice of Top Ten books that have under 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. It was noted as a way to look at books that may be underrated, but at the same time, noting something as underrated is quite subjective and people have different ways of defining it. Also worth noting is that just because something is reviewed on Goodreads in terms of the number of reviews it has doesn’t mean that’s necessarily reflective of its quality – it may just be that the book is mentioned in many circles, or more people have taken the time to reflect on it, or that it’s one that’s brought up in many conversations. I found it interesting because it’s not really something I primarily look for when I read and rate books, and I’d personally like to know just how much people discuss some of the books I’ve loved reading. So here we go (no particular order):
- Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life by Jillian Michaels: I really enjoyed this non-fiction guide to goal setting and making improvements in one’s life. I found it very inspirational. It surprises me that it’s been rated 1,678 times, given the popularity of Michaels’ platform and feature on “The Biggest Loser” among other platforms, but it may have much to do with how up and down ratings/reflections tend to be from the perspective of self-help and nonfiction books on Goodreads. Some are widely discussed, while others like this one don’t have the same mileage.
- Summertime Blues (Lou#2) by Julian Neel. The Lou series is such a cute middle grade comic series – very well animated and funny, so it surprises me that this book had 442 ratings. (Even in its other language translations, it still had under 1,000 ratings.) It also makes for a great summer coming of age story as Lou travels with her mother to spend the summer with her Memaw, and finds a summer friend with whom she has a strong bond in the process.
- Buried (Goth Girl Mystery #1) by Linda Joy Singleton. This YA book series definitely deserves more discussion. It stands having been rated 202 times on Goodreads. The story revolves around the very savvy heroine named Thorn (real name: Beth Ann) who has the ability to sense the histories of objects, and uses that to help solve a murder mystery. Intriguing characters, fun humor, and a story that kept me guessing to the end made this first in a series stand out to me. I definitely plan on reading the rest when I have the opportunity.
- The Emerald City by J.A. Beard. I beta read for this first book in the Osland Trilogy – a YA reimaging of The Wizard of Oz – back in 2012. It stands at 244 ratings at the time of this post on Goodreads, and I wish it had more discussions as it’s a strong book falling within the categories of urban fantasy with a wonderful worldbuilding, strong characters (including prominent features of POC characters), and an intrigue that stuck with me long after I finished the book. I definitely plan on finishing the trilogy and reviewing them in full on this blog.
- Homeland: Phantom Pain by Glenn Gers. It may be that this book is an offshoot of the popular Showtime series “Homeland”, but this short story as narrated by Damian Lewis has 127 ratings on Goodreads. I thought it was a strong story, even reading it out of context of the series and Lewis’s narration of it was excellent.
- The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. Bick. This was the first book I read from Bick and initially I was turned away from reading it because of reading reviews that were very broad in terms of reactions to the book’s content. After reading it, I saw why (it involves the death of a GLBT boy in a very prejudiced community, and the narrator writes a series of expositions while he’s at war detailing his guilt). It’s a brutal detailing of events that left me in tears by the time I finished the book. It’s worth reading, particularly for discussions that can come in the aftermath of reflecting on its events. It has 732 ratings on Goodreads.
- Frenzy by Robert Lettrick. This still remains one of my favorite middle grade horror books, which I was fortunate to receive as a galley on NetGalley. It has 107 ratings on Goodreads. Basically the story of a camp overrun by infected, murderous animals and the main cast of characters have to use their wits and trust each other to survive. The character deaths don’t pull punches, either.
- The Blue-Haired Boy by Courtney C. Stevens. As well known as Stevens’s “Faking Normal” is, this YA prequel novella to the aforementioned novel has 379 ratings. I thought it was a wonderful story that could be taken on its own as a strong read, with great focus on its characters and providing more backstory for Bodee.
- Thin Space by Jody Casella. Another YA book that had me in tears after I finished it. It’s the story of a boy who deals with the loss of his twin, going through many phases of grief and having his raw emotions bubble to the surface of this novel. It has 697 ratings on Goodreads.
- Through the Smoke by Brenda Novak. The first book by Brenda Novak I’d read and I loved it from cover to cover – from the strength of the characters and their chemistry to the overarching mood. It was definitely the gateway for me reading her other books, spanning across many different periods – contemporary and historical. This has 1,121 ratings on Goodreads.
That’s all for this entry. I’m looking forward to seeing what next week’s Top Ten will be. I’m actually glad that this made me go through my bookstacks to see what books I haven’t read in a while. Makes me want to read them again. 🙂