Bringing this feature back! I was going through an old notebook and found a list I’d made containing books with under 10,000 ratings on Goodreads, a list I had made for future reference. So I decided it was a message from the universe to do another post where I recommend some hidden gems I’ve read. The following books are a mixture of Young Adult and Middle Grade. I highly recommend them all!
Click on a title to view the book on Goodreads. Books are listed from fewest number of ratings to most, at the time I am writing this post.
- Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck has 1,220 ratings and 292 reviews. ♥ This is an adorable Middle Grade novel about a family of mice that, you guessed it, find themselves on a ship at sea. The title is actually a bit misleading, but the story is just charming. If you know a kid that likes animals and is into reading, I would highly recommend getting them this. FYI, Richard Peck is the author of A Long Way From Chicago and its Newbery Award-winning sequel, A Year Down Yonder.
- Annie, Between the States by L. M. Elliott has 1,228 ratings and 149 reviews. ♥ I read this when I was pretty young, probably at the lower end of ‘Tween-dom. I didn’t really understand it then, probably because this is a YA book and I was still reading mainly Middle Grade at the time. A number of years later, I reread it — and absolutely loved it. It’s about Annie who is growing up during the American Civil War. It’s high on my list of amazing historical fiction novels. FYI, Laura Malone Elliott is also the author of Under a War-Torn Sky and Give Me Liberty, as well as the upcoming Da Vinci’s Tiger, which I am eagerly anticipating (releasing November 10th from Katherine Tegen Books).
- The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech has 1,450 ratings and 354 reviews. ♥ Sharon Creech is a wonderful writer. This book is a bit strange, but it’s still really good. It’s been a while since I read it, but I think anything of Sharon’s is worth reading at some point or another. FYI, Sharon Creech has written The Wanderer and Walk Two Moons, which won the Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal, respectively.
- Purity by Jackson Pearce has 1,538 ratings and 376 reviews. ♥ Jackson Pearce’s contemporary YA novel was very enjoyable. She’s known for her paranormal fairy tale retellings (Sisters Red, Sweetly, Fathomless, Cold Spell), and has dived into historical fantasy as well (Tsarina, under the name J. Nelle Patrick), but Purity is a fun, lighthearted book about a girl who wants to lose her virginity. (Jackson’s debut, As You Wish, is still my favorite book of hers, however. I highly, highly recommend it if you like genies.)
- Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon has 2,655 ratings and 454 reviews. ♥ This is an amazing fantasy that takes place in or is inspired by Ancient China (I forget, sorry. It’s been a while since I read it.). It’s a novel I’d like to reread so I can read the sequel, Fury of the Phoenix. (Yup, yup, anything with the word “phoenix” is something I’m definitely interested to read.)
- Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay has 3,118 ratings and 326 reviews. ♥ This is one of my favorite books. I was a kid when a friend gave this to me, and at the time I didn’t appreciate the book or really understand it. Fast-forward many years when I reread it… to discover that I adored it so, so much. The Casson family is hilarious and spunky, and I’ve read Saffy’s Angel countless times. There’s a whole series about these crazy siblings!
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby has 3,327 ratings and 666 reviews. ♥ Icefall is an amazing fantasy book that really took me by surprise. It’s not a typical fantasy book, either, which is so refreshing. I loved the characters, and I wish the book had been longer, or that there were a sequel. Basically, I didn’t want to the story to end, it was that good.
- Dogsong by Gary Paulsen has 3,715 ratings and 228 reviews. ♥ I cried. This book is freaking beautiful. It’s a coming-of-age novel, but, like, to the extreme. I read Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet years ago and loved it (I’ve since reread it a few times; I love survival stories), but Dogsong I actually think is even better than Hatchet. Both books won Newbery Honors.
- The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera has 3,766 ratings and 442 reviews. ♥ I cried reading this book, too. This is the novel that the art-house film Whale Rider is based on. You know, that acclaimed film starring New Zealander Keisha Castle-Hughes, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Pai? (You know, Keisha — who is now grown up and playing Obara Sand on Game of Thrones?!) ANYWAY, The Whale Rider really touched me and it’s a book I feel I should shove in people’s face a whole lot more. I’d like to reread it, now that I’m thinking about it.
- Chalice by Robin McKinley has 9,524 ratings and 1,171 reviews. ♥ Chalice is quite possibly my favorite Robin McKinley book, and that’s saying a lot, since I love and worship every book of hers. But Chalice is one that is absolutely gorgeous and haunting and inspired (and still inspires) me as a writer. I’d love to reread this sometime soon. I think I also cried while reading this book.
Have you read any of these books?
What’s a “hidden gem” that you recommend to me?
Comment below letting me know!