Best of 2018: Hidden Gems + Underappreciated Books

To end 2018, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday left in the year will be dedicated to a list of 6 books that absolutely wowed me this year.

Today is dedicated to all those hidden gems, partly inspired by Mackenzi Lee’s awesome new trend, #HypeYour5 underrated 2018 books (which, I couldn’t help but top and turn into 6).

Everyone’s already talking about the amazing 2019 books ahead (which is 100% cool), but I’m still stressed about picking my favorites from the past year! There have been so many amazing books in 2018 and choosing ONLY 36 is such a hard decision.

But I managed to do it!!!

There are so many amazing books this year that I personally think did not get enough hype or recognition, and today’s all about highlighting some of the quieter YA releases that you should definitely check out!

Every single book on this list and the ones to come are books that I’ve already read + loved, but obviously there are 2018 novels I haven’t read and could definitely qualify. But, alas. It is not to be.

So yes! Time to highlight 6 underappreciated reads that released in 2018 that I loved!

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When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas

This is perhaps the most underrated book on the entire list, because I’ve literally heard no one but myself ever talk about this on the internet.

The author isn’t even on Twitter so she probably doesn’t even know just how much I adore this book, but it was so so moving. I loved all the family themes and the way Thomas mixed paranormal/sci-fi/something supernatural with contemporary, and the relationships between the Vasquez siblings were so impactful.

I absolutely loved this, and cannot hype it up enough for everyone to pick up!

What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

adore Katya’s debut and it totally needs way more love!

Not only is it one of the coolest blends of sci-fi, dark fantasy, contemporary, paranormal, and mystery, but it’s also just really atmospheric and spooky and perfect for fall. I think Hayden is such a cool protagonist, and the way she handles some of the crazy things that happen to her is far better than what I would have done!

Also, the conspiracy in this book is top notch! Seriously, get this on your TBR stat!

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

I feel like in end of the year lists, we oftentimes forget about books that published earlier in the year, but Undead Girl Gang is a book I looooved! Not only did it star a fat Hispanic MC, but it’s also a really great book about friendship?

I mean, this girl has her mean girls revived as “zombies” of sorts (just not…flesh eating) and I loved seeing how they resolved their differences throughout the novel. It was not only super nice to read about friendship and not a lot of romance, but I also really loved the sort of fun narrative style that makes you enjoy what’s happening and not take it too seriously!

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Black Wings Beating by Alex London

Obviously this had to make the list because this queer fantasy does not get enough credit.

There are so many strong sibling themes in this, as well as quests and learning about how you were wrong and the birds (all the birds!!!) were so awesome. I think the characters are really flawed and London does a great job of really shaping them into something unique and characters that are dynamic and learn a lot, which is one of my favorite journeys of the whole story.

Did I mention the birds?

Isle of Blood & Stone by Makiia Lucier

Suuuuuper underrated, this was such a lovely series!

I can’t really describe why I love it so much, but I do. It seems kind of traditional fantasy and it might not look like it has a lot of unique hooks or really out-there premises, but it’s really really good.

I just had a really enjoyable time reading and something about Lucier’s writing style really appeals to me. I love how the writing is light, yet has high stakes. And how things are emotional, yet not necessarily sad. Everything has a purpose, and I really love that about Isle of Blood & Stone (and am so excited for the sequel next year!)

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

This book is popping up on my blog two times in one week, and four times in one month, so you can obviously tell that I’m low key in love with this.

Fire & Heist is super underrated (I feel like all December releases are underrated) but I loved the voice of the main character so much. She was so genuine and felt fresh and real (kind of like if you take the good parts of the voice in a bad Wattpad novel written by a 13 year old, and make it less manic and more real).

This book is light and enjoyable and really really fun, and I definitely recommend to anyone looking for a standalone fantasy that will whisk you into the story and make you not want to leave!

much love, vicky

What hidden gems did you read in 2018?


16 thoughts on “Best of 2018: Hidden Gems + Underappreciated Books

  1. I just got Fire and Heist in my book box today! Now if you speak about read in 2018 and not published in 2018 I would recommend I’ll Meet you There by Heather Demetrios. And if you want published in 2018 and underrated: A Girl Like Lilac by Victoria L James.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohhh I had my eye on that Leah Thomas’ book! I have read her debut (I think it was her debut), Because You’ll Never Meet Me, and I really enjoyed it, I think I’ll have to pick up that one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes!!! at the end of the year, a lot of popular books come back a lot and people forget about some of the quieter releases :/


  3. So I terribly haven’t read any of these BUT I just bought Black Wings Beating and Fire & Heist and I’m so so excited for them. And I want to read When The Light Left Us but yeah, no one is talking it?! I’ve not even seen a single review I don’t think! It’s so frustrating how many books deserve way more love ajfkdlsa. Some of my underrated favourites are Boomerang by Helene Dunbar and Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES OMG I hope you love reading them both!!!! and yeah, I think a lot of it is because the author isn’t on social media :///

      oooh, I’ve heard good things about Summer of Salt + Boomerang–thank you for the recs! I’m putting them on my TBR now, Cait! <333


  4. I see Black Wings Beating at my library! I’ll have to get it 🙂

    Some underrated books I read this year were the Queen’s Thief novels by Megan Whalen Turner. I practically gobbled them up; they’re just such great YA fantasy–possibly the best. Also, An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker. It was just so enjoyable. Even though it hinted at dark themes, there were also some light-hearted moments, mostly because of a side character named William Shakespeare.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a lovely post! Undead Girl Gang was one of my favorite books this year, it’s so entertaining and I loved the zombie girl squad so much. Female friendships in books are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!! And yes omg Undead Girl Gang was awesome and I immediately started picking up some of Anderson’s older works because of it!


  6. Oh, seeing Black Wings Beating on this list makes me so excited to read it in 2019!! I feel like I’m really going to fall in love with it, so I can’t wait to read it! And Undead Girl Gang was definitely an underhyped book of this year, which makes me so sad since it was so fantastically humorous and diverse as well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s so awesome but you’re going to DIEEEE at the ending, May!!! (*heavy breathing till 2019*). Yes Undead Girl Gang deserves so much more love, but I hope it gets more due to the paperback cover (which is SO AWESOME AHHH)

      Liked by 1 person

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