The title of this post should say Five Books in 2016 That I Loved That Didn’t Get Enough Love, but that was a bit wordy and hey, it’s my blog so it’s understood I mostly write about books I love. Right? Anyway, I don’t make a point out of reading obscure authors, but I do enjoy reading out of the mainstream. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. These are five books I thought were incredibly well-done, but which didn’t show up in lists or other bloggers’ reviews.
Technically, these two books could have been on my Top Ten list, because I gave them both 4.5 stars but I wanted to set them apart—mostly for the reasons above. They’re also about as different from each other as two books could be. The Stargazer’s Sister is set in 1700s Germany and is based on the true story of Caroline Herschel, sister of the famous astronomer, William Herschel. It’s a novel of one woman’s transcendence beyond her place in life. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things takes place in modern day America, with a young heroine named Wavy, whose father is a meth dealer and her mother a junkie. The only person who cares about her at all is one of her father’s enforcers. The novel goes into squeamish territory, but is ultimately about the power of real love.
Three novels on three very different subjects. The Golden Age is set in 1950s Australia and the polio epidemic leaves a teenage European Jewish boy and an Australian girl recuperating in a rest home for children recovering from the disease. Author London covers a wide range of themes in this small book; all of them touching. The Mother is a contemporary novel about all too real problem today: violence amongst black teens. After her son’s murder one mother is left trying to navigate the justice system and cope with her grief. This is a powerful read-in-one-sitting novel. A really quirky teenager with a fascination for fire tries to navigate life when her support system falls apart. How to Set a Fire and Why is one of those novels that worked on every level for me.
What were the neglected book you loved this year?
Sarah's Book Shelves says
Oh – The Mother! Yay! That was such a good one and will be on my underrated gems list too. How to Set a Fire didn’t work quite as well for me.
KatieMcD @ Bookish Tendencies says
I remember hearing a bit about The Mother awhile ago, and thought it sounded interesting, but then (of course) promptly forgot about it. This reminds me I need to go look into that one a bit 🙂
It’s largely set in the courtroom so read very fast, but intense. It also challenged me at the end because I felt so differently than the main character, but that makes for great reading, right?
I’ve been dying for some extra time to get to Ugly, as I think it’s right in my wheelhouse. I have heard widely varying thoughts about it, which makes me want to read it all the more. It was just named Book of the Month Club’s book of the year, so maybe it will get more love now. I’ve not read these others (so I guess your premise is spot on for me), but I will check them out more closely now.
I can see why some people would really not like it. On the surface the plot is creepy, but Greenwood goes far beyond that and makes it feel even more real and then it is wonderful. I’ll be interested to hear what you think!
I hadn’t heard of most of these (so, yeah…they probably needed more love)…but I will be reading “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things” for my book club in February!
I’ll be interested to hear what you think. It’s very uncomfortable reading (even painful in the child neglect) at points, but it adds up to something very real, strong, and wonderful.
Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says
Although I didn’t personally love The Stargazer’s Sister as much as I had hoped, I agree it deserves more attention.
I had All The Ugly and Wonderful Things in my ecart yesterday but with seven books in it, something had to go. Because I hadn’t heard as much about this one, I deleted it. Sounds like more love would have had me keeping this one in the cart!
But you still have six great new books! Maybe keep it mind for next year.
So glad to see The Mother on your list. It’s lingering on my winter reading pile, and I WILL get to it!
It’s a quick read, Andi, but so well done yo uwon’t be able to put it down. Despite being set in London it feels very relevant to the U.S.
The Golden Age sounds good. I’ll put it on my TBR list. Perhaps Ben Winters’ novel Underground Airlines should have received more notice; I thought it was pretty darn good.
Eva @ The Paperback Princess says
I still really dislike titles that refer to female characters in relation to the men in their lives BUT this one does sound interesting. I’m adding three out of five to my list – thanks for continuing to enable me!
I understand that, I’m not fond of it either. I cut it a break because I didn’t know who he was anyway!
You’re welcome for the enabling!
Katie @ Doing Dewey says
I completely agree about The Stargazer’s Sister! I thought it was a great story and really well written. I’m also surprised it didn’t receive more attention, as one of very few books to tell the story of a female scientist.
Kate @ Parchment Girl says
The Stargazer’s Sister looks interesting. I don’t know much about it, but I did include it in my best books covers of 2016 list. The artwork is gorgeous!
Isn’t it wonderful? I freely admit to being one of those readers who is influenced by cover art and even title.