Top Ten Tuesday – Hidden Gems: 10 Wonderful Books That Deserve More Love
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!
This week’s TTT topic is Hidden Gems (which books haven’t been talked about as much or haven’t been marketed as strongly that you think deserve some recognition?). I found this topic somewhat difficult, not because there aren’t plenty of books out there that don’t deserve more recognition, but more because I have a hard time deciding what makes a book underrated. For my purposes, I used my Goodreads shelf and selected books I loved that have so far received less than 3,000 reviews. That probably still sounds high, but when I think about all of the super hyped books that have over 100,000 reviews already, I think 3,000 is a good number to go with. Some are newer releases so it remains to be seen how high their review numbers will climb, but most of these have been out for at least a year now.
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Hidden Gems: 10 Wonderful Books That Deserve More Love
STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Goodreads Synopsis: Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.
But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.
From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.
ZENN DIAGRAM by Wendy Brant
Goodreads Synopsis: The more I touch someone, the more I can see and understand, and the more I think I can help. But that’s my mistake. I can’t help. You can’t fix people like you can solve a math problem.
Math genius. Freak of nature. Loner.
Eva Walker has literally one friend—if you don’t count her quadruplet three-year-old-siblings—and it’s not even because she’s a math nerd. No, Eva is a loner out of necessity, because everyone and everything around her is an emotional minefield. All she has to do is touch someone, or their shirt, or their cell phone, and she can read all their secrets, their insecurities, their fears.
Sure, Eva’s “gift” comes in handy when she’s tutoring math and she can learn where people are struggling just by touching their calculators. For the most part, though, it’s safer to keep her hands to herself. Until she meets six-foot-three, cute-without-trying Zenn Bennett, who makes that nearly impossible.
Zenn’s jacket gives Eva such a dark and violent vision that you’d think not touching him would be easy. But sometimes you have to take a risk…
HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake
Goodreads Synopsis: All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
I STOP SOMEWHERE by T.E. Carter
Goodreads Synopsis: Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.
Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.
But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.
The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.
THE MERMAID by Christina Henry
Goodreads Synopsks: From the author of Lost Boy comes a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea for love and later finds herself in P.T. Barnum’s American Museum as the real Fiji mermaid. However, leaving the museum may be harder than leaving the sea ever was.
Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn’t bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.
P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he’d heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.
Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he’s determined to hold on to his mermaid.
THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS by Ashely Woodfolk
Goodreads Synopsis: Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.
Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.
But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.
Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.
THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON by Katherine Locke
Goodreads Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.
LITTLE BIG LOVE by Katy Regan
Goodreads Synopsis: About a Boy meets Parenthood in this smart, big-hearted love story about a family for whom everything changed one night, a decade ago, and the young boy who unites them all.
Told through the eyes of Zac, Juliet, and grandfather Mick, Little Big Love is a layered, heartfelt, utterly satisfying story about family, love, and the secrets that can define who we are.
NOTHING LEFT TO BURN by Heather Ezell
Goodreads Synopsis: The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she’s been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it’s time to evacuate.
Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey–and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks’s dark past come to light, Audrey can’t help but wonder if there’s danger in the pull she feels–both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.
LETTING GO OF GRAVITY by Meg Leder
Goodreads Synopsis: Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.
Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful. Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.
Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.
And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got leukemia. Parker didn’t.
But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.
Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.
That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.
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Senn Diagram was adorable. I own Starfish and The Girl With the Red Balloon. Need to get tot them! Great list!
Thanks! I hope you enjoy both Starfish and The Girl with the Red Balloon when you get to them. 🙂
So much good stuff here, Suzanne, and I haven’t read any *facepalm* Though on the upside, this TTT is going to be great for our TBRs!
Haha, right! I’ve already added quite a few new titles.
Thanks for sharing! I hope to read The Mermaid soon, and I Stop Somewhere sounds great. I feel like I read a really positive review of that one recently.
I Stop Somewhere hasn’t gotten too much attention yet but of the few reviews I have seen, they’ve all been positive.
The Mermaid sounds like a great read.
Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.
It really is. 🙂
I Stop Somewhere is on my list to read, and I loved The Mermaid. You’ve given me some good ideas, great list!
This is a great Top Ten Tuesday theme! I have a ton of hidden gems and I wish I had been on top of things enough to write my own post for this! haha Also, I have heard a lot of good things about Starfish – maybe I should try it.
Everyone I know who has read Starfish loved it so I definitely recommend it 🙂
Starfish is truly a hidden gem. The plot is so emotional and heartbreaking. I wanted to hug Kiko so badly. <3
Happy readings! 😉
The Mermaid is still on my TBR – hopefully I’ll get to it soon!
I can’t wait to see what you think of it!
Unfortunately The Mermaid and The beauty that remains were DNFs for me 🙁
I have heard wonders about Starfish! on my TBR!
oh my god this is the third list where Big Little love is! I won a paperback at Dani’s blogoversary giveaway I’ve schedule it for October CANNOT WAIT NOW LOL Great list Suzanne!
Awww, bummer that The Mermaid and The Beauty That Remains didn’t work well for you.
What a great list! The Mermaid is the only one I’ve read and I agree I don’t see it many places since it came out. Starfish and I Stop Somewhere are ones that sound particularly interesting to me, though I’ll have to check out quite a few of these. 🙂 Great selection!
I love, love, love all the titles in this list! They’re all in my TBR. Thanks for writing this!
* TTT: Hidden Gems + Giveaway
You’re welcome! 🙂
I own but still need to read I Stop Somewhere!
It’s a pretty intense read!
The Girl With The Red Balloon is on my TBR list. I hope I like it as much as you did.
I hope so too!
The Girl With The Red Balloon sounds really cool!
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/11/top-ten-tuesday-176/
I really enjoyed it. I’m actually getting ready to start the second book in the series soon.
What a great list, Suzanne! I haven’t read any of these and some are completely new to me. I will be adding all of these to my wish list that aren’t already there!
I am clapping my hands and jumping up and down, because I featured Zenn so many times last year. I thought there was something really special about that book, and people are truly missing out there. Letting Go of Gravity, Red Balloon, and I Stop Some Where were all fabulous too. I really need to get to Starfish, because I enjoyed Summer Bird Blue, and I heart Starfish was even better.
LOL! I’m glad I’m not the only one who loved Zenn Diagram. It deserves so much more attention than it’s getting.
I think I’ve seen Little Big Love here before, and it looks great. Starfish does too.
Both books are so good!
The covers of all of your choices are SO pretty!
I am loving these TTT because there’s so many good books here, and so many undiscovered by me! You’re making me want to read The Mermaid!!!!!
Thanks! If you read it, I hope you enjoy it!
I really enjoyed The Mermaid. And Zenn Diagram has been on my Kindle for quite a while—I need to get to that one. I’ll have to check out these others.
If you try them, I hope you enjoy them!
These are straight up new to me Suzanne. But to be honest, I rarely read YA and when I do it tends to be other genres. Fantastic covers though.
Great list – many new to me books here. As you can imagine, with each TTT post I’m reading this week there is at least one new book added to my wishlist; from you post, that is The Girl with the Red Balloon.
That’s a great choice. I’m getting ready to start the second book in that series and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.
I’ve heard Starfish and The Girl with the Red Balloon are really great. I haven’t heard much about the others. Great list!
Starfish is wonderful. I highly recommend anything by that author actually.