Confession time: I’ve never taken part in a ‘Top Five Wednesday’ before. That’s not to say I absolutely haven’t wanted to. Most of my favourite videos are by booktubers hopping onto this trend and I love the format of it. So I thought , you know what? Sod it, I’m giving it a go.
If you don’t know what Top 5 is, it is a weekly (occurring of Wednesday surprisingly enough) series where each week has a different topic and you choose five books/authors/tropes/etc that fit accordingly. You can find the list of categories here if you want to take part or have a nose 🙂
I’m not entirely sure what is to be specified by ‘Underrated’ books, so I’ve gone with books I don’t hear spoken about nearly enough. I haven’t checked any statistics or anything but have simply based my decisions on hearsay, or rather, what I have heard said… spoken … talked about. I’m not sure if that’s exactly right but it’s my interpretation anyway and at the very least it should help you find some new and interesting reads for 2017. Enjoy!
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga.
Quite honestly, and I know I’ve said that for a lot of books I read last year, I think this was my favourite read of 2016. It’s another one that I wouldn’t have picked up unless it was on my course but this is more because I genuinely don’t think I would have come across it rather than not wanting to pick it up. And by golly, it’s a lovely read. Written by Zimbabwean writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, it is considered one of the twelve best African novels ever written. It follows Tambo from childhood as she tries to gain an education and escape the society that wants to entrap her. She is caught in a war of cultures, native Zimbabwean culture of her father who would keep her uneducated and unequal, or the colonial culture, which sees the colour of her skin in everything she does. The characters in this novel are so realistic and you cannot help but connect to them and this heart wrenching tale about colonialism. If you’re looking to read more diversely, or simply looking for a good book to read, this is definitely one to check out.
Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth.
This is another little corker and any fairy-tale fanatic should definitely check it out. The novel is a retelling of the life of Dorchen Wild, the girl who lived next door to the Brothers Grimm and who helped them collected the stories that would shape their collection of fairy tales. It tells the crisis that accompanied the invasion of Napoleon and the crisis of identity it subsequently creates but, most of all, it is a beautiful story about heritage, family, and love.
Porphyria’s Lover by Maggie Powers.
I’m a big fan of historical fiction, especially those based in the Victorian period, so this just had to go on my list. It is both creepy and eerie and wonderful and honestly will have you hooked from the moment you turn the first page. Set in a brothel in the dark abandoned streets of a back alley in London, this novel follows Kathleen Mangen and her ability to communicate to the spirits. Or can she? Through a plot of intrigue, seduction, and constant mystery, you are left completely in the mercy of a character who leaves a path of chaos behind her.
Girl who just appeared by Jonathon Harvey.
This has to be one of the few books that has genuinely made me laugh out loud. It follows Holly Smith who travels up to Liverpool to try and find the story surrounding her birth parents, namely her mother, in a moment of identity crisis. Alongside this, we follow the story of Darren, whose letters Holly finds in a biscuit tin in her flat, and his life caring for his young brother under the tyranny of his mother. As their stories intertwine, we are left asking whether Darren can help Holly find answers or whether she simply ‘just appeared’? It is both heartbreaking and hilarious and should be on anyone’s TBR.
Kiss me First by Lottie Moggach.
I know this sounds like a rom-com but honestly it reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllyyyyy isn’t. This is a weird and addictive thriller which will leave you feeling dazed and confused and asking for more. It tells the story of Leila who, just after her mother’s death, discovers RedPill, a chat forum for ethical debates with a sinister undertone. After falling too deep, Leila becomes involved with Tess, a tragic and damaged older woman who is desperate for her help. Leila becomes enveloped in the life of Tess for one clear reason – she is going to have to become her. This is a puzzling and addictive novel all about stolen identity and ethics and social media and will definitely have you spooked.
*SIDE NOTE: I’ve just found out that the rights for this were bought and production started in 2016 for the tv adaption of this corker, so maybe it’s not underrated, but at the very least, jump on this train while you can*
So, there we have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little post and that it has given you some books to add to your TBR. Share your thoughts and finds down below 🙂