T10T: Under-Hyped Books I Love

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s prompt was to list Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype, but, well, I wouldn’t be me if I followed the prompts, would I? 😉

These are ten books that I loved enough to give 5 stars, and that I think have way less hype than they deserve!

For the sake of fairness, I’m not including unreleased ARCs or anything that released in the last few months.


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1. A Monstrous Love — Magen Cubed
number of ratings: 31 | my review

This is a creepy little 2-story short anthology about scary queer girls, and I love it so much. It is THE perfect Halloween read, by the way.

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2. Cold, Thin Air — C.K. Walker
number of ratings: 148

C.K. Walker is better known for her r/nosleep infamy, but her collections are so fun and creepy, and I never hear anyone talk about them!

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3. When My Heart Joins the Thousand — A.J. Steiger
number of ratings: 542 | my review

I really expected this book to blow up when it released, and I’m so sad it didn’t. It’s about an autistic girl who falls in love with a disabled boy, and the representation feels so good, honestly, and the story is so sweet.

4. Aftercare Instructions — Bonnie Pipkin
number of ratings: 788 | my review

This was the first ARC I ever received! It’s about a girl whose boyfriend leaves her high and dry at her abortion appointment, and she’s forced to go through the healing process without the support she deserves. Parts of it are written like a play, and it’s so poignant and enjoyable.

5. Now is Everything — Amy Giles
number of ratings: 935 | my review

This is another book I expected to get more hype than it did. It alternates between the past and the present: in the past, the narrator is dealing with a very abusive home situation, and in the present, she’s trying to cope with the fact that her entire family has just died in a plane wreck, and she’s the only one who survived. Bring tissues.

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6. The Dollmaker of Krakow — R.M. Romero
number of ratings: 1,087 | my review

This is, by far, my FAVORITE middle grade book of all time. It’s about a little doll who comes to life in a dollmaker’s shop in Krakow during WWII.

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7. Blood Water Paint — Joy McCullough
number of ratings: 1,967 | my review

This is a story told through poetry, and it’s about the famous artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, and her court trial against the man who raped her. It is brutal, and incredible.

8. Spellbook of the Lost and Found — Moïra Fowley-Doyle
number of ratings: 2,014 | my review

This is a fabulism/magical realism story, and it’s super queer, and it’s a little bit creepy. Mostly, though, it’s just bizarre and incredible.

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9. The Only Alien on the Planet — Kristen D. Randle
number of ratings: 2,439 | my review

Apparently, my mission in life is just to never shut up about this book, but seriously, it came out in the 90s and it still holds up today – how often do you see that in a YA contemporary? It’s about a girl who befriends a new classmate who is mute and unresponsive to the world around him, for the most part. There’s a little bit of romance, but mostly, it’s about healing and found families.

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10. The Hearts We Sold — Emily Lloyd-Jones
number of ratings: 2,733 | my review

Since this was an Owlcrate book last year, I’m shocked it still has so few ratings. I loved this book. A girl makes a deal with a demon to get away from her alcoholic and abusive father, but the thing she has to give up is her heart. It’s very character-driven and very sad and very, very gorgeous.


What are some under-hyped books that you love?


(all photos are taken by me, and you can find more like them on my bookstagram here!)


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Just a 25-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

77 thoughts on “T10T: Under-Hyped Books I Love

  1. Spellbook of the Lost and Found is amazing it’s one of my favourite books! I enjoy a lot of really under hyped books, the ones that stick out the most are Cindy Anstey’s books. They are all 1800s YA historical fiction, they are funny, have strong women and bizarre situations

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  2. I read The Hearts We Sold as a finalist for the spec-fic category for the CYBILS awards, and while it didn’t win, it was FABULOUS. I do not know a single one of these other books though, so thanks for raising awareness. I don’t like super creepy/horror stuff, but there are still a number of books on here I’ll be looking for.

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  3. I think the only ones I’ve heard of your list are The Dollmaker of Krakow and Spellbook of Lost and Found. I think The Dollmaker was actually translated to Dutch so I might get that from the library some day. 🙂 Great list

    (Also you totally changed your layout, right? I keep staring. I love the header.)

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    1. That was such a good read, Chrissi! It wasn’t perfect, and the writing needed a little refining, but it’s still the only YA book I’ve ever read that offered an authentic insight into abortion and didn’t vilify the character for the choice she had to make, and as a pro-choice person, I appreciated that so much. Plus, the occasional chapters told in a play-script setting were super cool – I’d never seen that before in a book, at that time.

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  4. Ahh I LOVE When My Heart Joins The Thousand!! It was such accurate autism rep too 😭💛I definitely wish it had more love. And I also have Hearts We Sold from that Owlcrate box but I actually haven’t read it yet. I’ve heard it’s wildly good though and my goal this year is to actually read the rest of my owlcrate books. So I will get onto that. 😂

    Some of my favourite underhyped books are definitely The Wicker King (!!), The Serpent King (all the kings apparently?!) A Taxonomy of Love, and Bone Gap!

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    1. That makes me SO happy to hear you loved When My Heart Joins the Thousand! I never hear anyone talk about it and I just thought it was so precious and wonderful. ♥ Her entire development into realizing that SHE didn’t need to change, the WORLD did – ugh I need to go reread it now.

      Oooh, good luck with reading your OC books! I hope you enjoy The Hearts We Sold. I think it’s considered speculative fiction, so I know it’s not a *hugely* popular genre, but I thought it was really lovely and precious and heartbreaking. 😭

      The Wicker King, yessss! That is such a good one and I am DYING for her new book to come out! I still need to read the other 3 you listed but they’re all on my TBR so I’m super hyped now!!

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  5. I havent read any of these books. My tbr list just got a lot longer! I really liked A Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope and I didn’t see a lot of people talking about it.

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  6. I always love your little spins on the T10T prompts – they’re such a breath of fresh air after I’ve seen people talking about the same books/topic all over my feed. Also I am LOVING your new blog look! I really need to actually sit down and sort mine out :’)

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  7. *Adds everything to TBR.

    I haven’t read any of these, but they look amazing and now I am going into a deep dark hole that is this reading list. Be back in a few weeks…

    Love this spin and thanks for the recommendations!

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  8. Ohhh Spellbook of the lost and found, I love that one so much, I’m so happy to see it on your list. This author writes fantastic, really atmospherical-kind of books and I love ti so much 😀
    I’m curious about When My Heart Joins the Thousand, it sounds like such a sweet book 🙂
    Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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    1. I really want to read more from Moira! I also have a copy of another of her books, The Accident Season, but I keep forgetting it’s on my shelf lol… oops! This is why I needed the TBR jar. 😂

      I really do recommend When My Heart Joins the Thousand if you like heavy but sweet contemporary stories! Like, it’s definitely not light and fluffy, but it also is really empowering and has a great message.

      Thank you for checking out the list, Marie! ♥ Happy reading~

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  9. This is a great list for me, since I’m only familiar with a couple of them. And I guess that’s the point, right? I’ll be checking them out for sure, thanks for the suggestions!

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  10. I love your spin on this prompt! I definitely want to read When My Heart Joins the Thousand, Aftercare Instructions, and Now is Everything! Thanks for doing it like this, such a cool way to get people to see some books they may not pick up on their own! 🙂

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  11. Under-hyped books? Hmmm…I really have to read more books, because most of the books I end up reading are really hyped up (with the exception of ARCs). I did like My Real Name is Hanna, although I don’t know if that book is out yet or not.

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  12. I was SO stoked to read When My Heart Joins the Thousand before it came out, but the lack of hype pushed me away from it. I really need to give it a shot when I have money to spare, eh? xD I also really want to read The Hearts We Sold–I didn’t even know it was out already WHAT!

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  13. aaaah, Destiny, these are such quality picks!! When My Heart Joins the Thousand and Now Is Everything are both so high on my list. and Blood Water Paint, Spellbook, and Hearts We Sold all deserve the WORLD. especially The Hearts We Sold – i mean, just thinking about how much we both loved that on our BR… wow.

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  14. It’s sometimes very strange how some books seem to fall completely under the radar, while others get all the hype. This is a nice list of books, and out of all these I have to say I really like the sound of Now is Everything. Great post, and thanks for entering the Creator Showcase 😊

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