This post may include Amazon links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Monday I shared Six 2019 Books That Deserved the Hype, plus Six That Didn’t, and today I’ll be turning to 2019 books that just didn’t seem to get the hype they deserved or as I like to think of them, “Underrated Gems.” Underrated Books We Think Deserve More Buzz is today’s challenge for #AMonthofFaves from Girlxoxo, and Traveling with T, the hosts for this annual month-long blog event. Everyone has those special books they just want to press into the hands of others and I’m hoping at least one of the six I share today will make it onto your “to be read” list!
Six 2019 Underrated Gems
- The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells – Calling something “nice” doesn’t always feel like much of a compliment, but in the best possible sense this was a nice book. It covered family, love, loneliness, growth, change and redemption all in a beautifully told story of one man’s life. Widely read in Europe, I feel like it just didn’t get much attention here. (my review)
- The Other Americans by Laila Lalami – I loved everything about this story of a daughter’s journey through grief after the sudden death of her father. Told from many different perspectives, Lalami’s writing was absolutely gorgeous, examining social and cultural issues in understated ways, while uncovering the many layers grief. (my review)
- If, Then by Kate Hope Day – This strange little debut about residents of a small college town who begin to experience glimpses of other realities, might not be for everyone, but I believe many more would enjoy it. I found If, Then just different enough to keep me constantly engaged, but never so out-there I was rolling my eyes. Day’s characters were well thought out and completely likable. (my review)
- Juliet the Maniac by Juliet Escoria – I loved this brave, heartbreaking story of young Juliet’s rapid fall into mental illness and her journey toward finding a way to carry on without completely losing herself. Parts of Juliet the Manic may be difficult for some to read, but the story is truly wonderful. Especially if you’re a fan of memoirs or coming-of-age stories, this is a book you need to read! (my review)
- A Prayer for Travelers by Ruchika Tomar – This underrated gem is a beautifully told story of one young woman’s life of loneliness, loss, and longing for something more set against the jarringly desolate backdrop of the Nevada desert. Both a stunning coming-of-age story and an ode to female friendship, it’s definitely one of the best debuts I read this year. (my review)
- Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky – You know that feeling when you’re not really expecting much from a book and then it blows you away? That’s what I got from this fun, quirky story about a mother and daughter with a thing for the same man, a host of wealthy people behaving badly, and a poodle everyone adores. I still think the book needs to be more widely read AND adapted for the screen. (my review)
Do you have a favorite underrated gem from 2019?
PIN THIS POST ⇓
Claire @ Book Lovers Pizza says
I love finding books that are wonderful but less talked about. Great post!
Always happy to shine a spotlight on great books.
Oooo…I really want to read If, Then now. I saw it on the new books shelf at the library and the cover intrigued me, and now I know I want to read it. Thanks!
Let me know what you think. Not everyone loved it.
Tina Woodbury says
Thanks for introducing me to some more new books!
I have If, Then on my shelf and totally forgot about it! Nice picks.
Alison Holliday says
I’m excited to dig into these titles! I have all except A Prayer for Travelers on my shelf. Thank for the reminder for why they are there and the gentle nudge to pick them up.
Wow! I’m impressed that you already own so many of these. I hope many work for you.
I think I picked them up throughout the year as I saw on your blog that you loved them.
Which would you recommend first for post Christmas craziness?
Thanks for sharing these books, Susie! I am saving The Other Americans to present to my book club. It appears to be just the type of book we would enjoy, and very discussion-worthy.
The Other Americans would make a GREAT book club selection. Lots to unpack in it.
I love this list! One that I read this year that I thoroughly enjoyed but heard little about was Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald.
You know that feeling when you’re not really expecting much from a book and then it blows you away? –Yes. Yes, I do. I have now added Very Nice to my TBR because of you mentioning that. Thanks!
I hope you love it as much as I did.
If, Then is on my TBR – I’ll get to it someday! It’s good to know you enjoyed it.
Nice post. I did like A Prayer for Travelers. Of the rest of them, I would like to read The Other Americans most. I hear the author teaches in Riverside, not far from Redlands where I grew up. Her books sound good.
The Other Americans is set in that area, too, so I think that would make you enjoy it even more.
T @ Traveling With T says
Great post!!!!!!!! I’m going to check them out!
Tanya Patrice says
Ooh these are all new to me! Thanks for sharing them – I adding The Other Americans to my TBR.
I hope you enjoy it.
Beth F says
I still haven’t gotten to Very Nice, but I know I’d like it. I agree that Prayer for Travelers was really good.