Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Underrated Books

It's time for the Broke and the Bookish's weekly top ten Tuesday meme! I was inspired for this one right out of the gate and have been considering my choices all week to make sure I included my absolute favourite books that need more attention.

1. Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin - This is an older book that’s been in and out of print since the 1960s. It’s currently IN print thankfully and is available for cheap for the Kindle. My dad gave me his copy when I was 10 or so, and I fell in love. The story’s about a young girl growing up on a vast spaceship after the end of Earth. Each person on the spaceship must participate in a 30 day Trial on the surface of one of the planetary colonies before they’re considered grown up. The Trial isn’t just a ‘rite of passage:’ it’s also population control. About one third of those who go down to a planet never come back. This book’s about the events leading up to Mia Havero’s Trial. It’s fantastic.

2. Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce - A much more recent book that I haven’t seen much talk about is this one. And oh, how I love it. It’s a gorgeously well-thought out fantasy world with a fantastic heroine in Digger. She’s smart, resourceful, mostly unprincipled, and gets her fingers into everything from a lord’s papers to a possible revolution.

3. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean - One of my favourite books of all time. Maggie recommended it to me a few years ago, and even though I’ve read it at least 20 times, I still find new bits to love each time. It’s a retelling of the ballad Tam Lin set at a Minnesota college during the 70s. Poetry, Shakespeare, fairies, and college roommate difficulties. It’s wonderful.

4. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden - I don’t know why these books have never gotten as big in the US or Canada as they are in Australia, but the series - and especially this first one - are a fabulous portrayal of a group of teenagers fighting back against the invasion of their country. Ellie’s one of my favourite heroines ever.

5. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer - This book? Scared the crap out of me. It’s about what happens when an asteroid hits the moon and whacks it into an orbit closer to the earth. The science is terrible, but the book itself is compelling enough that I was able to simply accept it and move on to the scariness of life afterwards. A really good post-apocalyptic novel.

6. Eon/Eona by Allison Goodman - Another fantastically well-thought out fantasy world. This one is set in an Asian - particularly Chinese - inspired world with dragons that only men are allowed to communicate with. When Eona can see the dragons, there’s only one choice. Eona must disguise herself as a boy. Court intrigue, politics, warfare, and magic. I’m so happy I got to read the sequel just a few months after reading Eon.

7. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire - My favourite urban fantasy series. The fae and changelings, the Summerlands, and a detective named October Daye. Seanan McGuire also writes as Mira Grant of the excellent zombie novels Feed and Deadline.

8. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund - Killer. Unicorns. That’s all I have to say. Killer unicorns and the girls who fight them.

9. Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner - A fictionalized account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire that was recently published for the 100th anniversary of that tragedy. Some of the book is a little overly sentimental, but overall, it’s a very good read and a good way to introduce people to the fire that really did change how workers are treated in the United States.

10. Ash by Malinda Lo - A retelling of Cinderella with elves and huntresses. I just recently read this one, and while I think it's received a lot of blogosphere attention, I couldn't help including it in my list since I haven't gotten around to writing a full review yet.


  1. Wow this is an amazing list! I haven't heard of any of these books before but most of the sound great! Especially Starcrossed. Will look everything up amazon :-)

  2. I loved Rampant! It's a fantastic book and I loved Dian's spin on unicorns. Have you read the sequel? I thought it was equally well done and provided a whole new round of adventures!

  3. I just picked up Starcrossed and I'm really excited to read it! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  4. Ever since I found out Tomorrow When the War Began was a movie I've been dying to read it. I figured with so much media attention it'd be more popular but unfortunately so many people neglect Australian authors. Great list!

    Here's my Top Ten: http://bit.ly/qqOf7F

  5. I haven't heard of any of your choices, but Tam Lin sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    Check out mine at The Scarlet Letter.

  6. Tomorrow When The War Began is a great choice. That series was one of my favourites as a teen.

  7. Tam Lin FTW! I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the book as much as I did. It's really re-readable!

    Also, Tomorrow When the War Began was a great rec - I loved those books even though they are intense!

    You probably saw my rant about the science in Life as We Know It - but it was an interesting look at life under dire circumstances.

    I'll have to check out some others you listed here.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I read and adore each one.