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  • Writer's pictureNovel Nest

24 Ridiculously Underrated Books For Those Who Are Tired of Seeing the Same Recommendations

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Have you read these books?

Are you tired of the same old book recommendations popping up everywhere? Do you yearn to discover hidden literary gems that have yet to receive the recognition they truly deserve? If so, you're in for a treat! In this blog post, we've compiled a list of 24 ridiculously underrated books that will take you on captivating literary journeys, featuring stories that will leave a lasting impression on your mind and heart. Get ready to explore the uncharted territories of literature and immerse yourself in these lesser-known masterpieces.

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1. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy:

In the sun-drenched landscape of southern Spain, Sofia embarks on a journey of self-discovery and healing as she accompanies her hypochondriac mother to a mysterious clinic. Struggling with her stifled ambitions and a complicated relationship with her mother, Sofia finds herself entangled with enigmatic locals, unearthing long-buried family secrets. Levy's evocative prose and psychological depth make "Hot Milk" a mesmerizing exploration of identity, independence, and the complexities of human connections.

2. If I Had Your Face: A Novel by Frances Cha:

In the heart of contemporary Seoul, four young women navigate the high-stakes world of beauty and social expectations. Miho, Kyuri, Ara, and Wonna confront the harsh reality of South Korea's beauty standards and the dark underbelly of Seoul's nightlife. Cha's poignant narrative explores themes of female friendship, resilience, and societal pressures in a modern and dynamic society.

3. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger:

Narrated by eleven-year-old Reuben, this lyrical and heartwarming novel follows the Land family on an unforgettable journey through the vast landscapes of the American West. Reuben's brother, Davy, becomes a fugitive, and his father, Jeremiah, sets out on a quest for justice. Enger weaves elements of the miraculous, faith, and the power of familial love into a compelling and unforgettable tale.

4. Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller:

After their mother's death, Jeanie and Julius, twins in their 50s, find themselves thrust into an unfamiliar world outside their secluded home. As they confront the truths about their mother and their own identities, Fuller's atmospheric storytelling delves into the complexities of family secrets, resilience, and the courage to embrace the unknown.

5. At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill:

Set in 1915 Ireland during the Easter Rising, this beautifully written novel centers on the tender and heart-wrenching love story between two young men, Jim Mack and Doyler. Amidst the backdrop of political unrest and Irish nationalism, O'Neill's poetic prose delves into themes of friendship, loyalty, and the pursuit of freedom, making it a powerful and emotional historical masterpiece.

6. The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk:

In this captivating and imaginative historical novel, Leemet, a young boy living in ancient Estonia, communicates with animals and nature through the ancient language of Snakish. As the world around him undergoes dramatic changes, Leemet struggles to preserve the traditions of his ancestors in the face of advancing Christianity and foreign influences. Kivirähk's enchanting storytelling transports readers to a world where folklore and mythology intertwine with the realities of life.

7. Out There: Stories by Kate Folk:

This captivating collection of short stories explores the complexities of human relationships and emotions. Folk's vivid narratives delve into the moments that shape our lives—the joys, the heartaches, and the quiet revelations that often go unnoticed. From the struggles of grief to the unexpected connections that arise, "Out There" offers a rich and emotionally resonant exploration of the human experience.

8. When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett:

Set against the backdrop of Antarctica, this evocative novel follows the journey of a young woman named Isla as she embarks on an unforgettable adventure on board a supply ship. Parrett's beautiful prose captures the ethereal beauty of the icy landscape and the emotional depth of the characters as they grapple with their pasts and forge meaningful connections amidst isolation and solitude.

9. Among Other Things, I’ve Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney:

In this introspective and lyrical debut novel, Miranda is a young woman struggling to find her place in the world. As she grapples with family secrets and personal demons, Miranda's journey takes her across continents, exploring themes of identity, loss, and the search for belonging. Sweeney's eloquent storytelling delves into the complexities of the human heart and the pursuit of self-discovery.

10. The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks:

"The Secret Chord" by Geraldine Brooks is a captivating historical novel that reimagines the life of King David through the eyes of Natan, his prophet and advisor. Brooks skillfully portrays the complexities of power and personal struggles faced by the biblical monarch, offering a richly textured and emotionally resonant narrative. This masterful retelling brings the ancient world to life, making it a must-read for those intrigued by biblical history and human nature.

11. The Manningtree Witches: A Novel by A. K. Blakemore:

In 17th-century England, Rebecca West is accused of witchcraft, and as rumors spread, the village of Manningtree becomes consumed by fear and paranoia. Blakemore's atmospheric and chilling narrative delves into the dark history of witch hunts, and the strength and resilience of women who dared to defy societal norms.

12. The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett:

Set in a tight-knit African American community, "The Mothers" follows the lives of three individuals—Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey—as they navigate love, loss, and the complexities of friendship. Bennett's compelling and compassionate storytelling explores themes of motherhood, secrets, and the enduring impact of choices made in youth.

13. The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book One by Mary E. Pearson:

In this thrilling fantasy novel, Princess Lia flees her arranged marriage on her wedding day, setting off a chain of events that lead her into the company of two intriguing strangers. Pearson weaves a tale of deception, intrigue, and political machinations, blurring the lines between truth and lies, love and betrayal.

14. Drown by Junot Diaz:

In this captivating collection of short stories, Diaz explores the lives of Dominican immigrants living in New Jersey. Through powerful narratives and authentic voices, Diaz delves into themes of identity, cultural assimilation, and the complexities of relationships, painting a vivid and raw portrait of the immigrant experience.

15. Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx:

In this ambitious and sweeping novel, Proulx traces the journey of an accordion through generations of immigrants in America. From the Italian accordion maker in New Orleans to the German farmer in South Dakota, and the Mexican button accordion player in Texas, Proulx weaves a tapestry of stories that illuminate the struggles, triumphs, and diverse cultural heritage of America's immigrant communities.

16. Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman:

Rory Dawn Hendrix grows up in the Calle, a bleak and impoverished community in Reno, Nevada. Despite the challenges, she dreams of a better life and finds solace in the Girl Scouts Handbook. Hassman's poignant and lyrical prose tells the story of a young girl's resilience and determination to rise above her circumstances.

17. Heart of Granite by James Barclay:

In this thrilling fantasy novel, the Sky Guard and the ethereal Wraiths have been locked in a centuries-old war. When a prophecy reveals that a human boy named Rawal holds the key to ending the conflict, the Sky Guard embarks on a dangerous mission to protect him. Barclay's epic tale of magic, bravery, and sacrifice unfolds in a vividly imagined world of soaring skies and perilous battles.

18. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar:

In this enchanting and poetic novella, two agents, Red and Blue, belonging to warring time-traveling factions, begin a clandestine correspondence that transcends time and space. As their bond deepens, they must decide whether to remain loyal to their respective factions or risk everything for love. El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone's collaborative storytelling weaves together romance, science fiction, and the beauty of language in a unique and spellbinding narrative.

19. Severance: A Novel by Ling Ma:

In a near-future world plagued by a deadly pandemic, Candace Chen finds herself working at a publishing company while civilization collapses around her. Ma's darkly humorous and incisive novel examines consumerism, corporate culture, and the human desire for belonging in a world on the brink of extinction.

20. The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert:

Amidst the backdrop of early 20th-century South Africa, "The Lion Seeker" follows the tenacious journey of Isaac Helger as he relentlessly pursues the American Dream. Boner's captivating storytelling skillfully captures the essence of the immigrant experience and the unwavering struggle for a better life. Through the eyes of Isaac, readers are transported to a world of hope, hardship, and determination, making this novel a powerful exploration of one man's quest for a brighter future.

21. We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen:

Embark on an extraordinary voyage through generations of sailors and seafarers in Carsten Jensen's epic novel, "We, the Drowned." Set against the tumultuous backdrop of wars, love, and the enigmatic mysteries of the sea, this sweeping narrative celebrates the indomitable spirit of human adventure and the relentless pursuit of dreams that propel us forward. Jensen's immersive storytelling and rich character portrayals make this a captivating exploration of the human spirit's boundless capacity for resilience and courage.

22. Yolk by Mary H. K. Choi:

In "Yolk," Mary H. K. Choi crafts a poignant and honest portrayal of the complex relationship between two estranged sisters, Jayne and June. Their lives unexpectedly intersect when Jayne receives a life-altering cancer diagnosis. Choi's candid exploration of family dynamics, personal growth, and the intricacies of sibling bonds weaves a heartfelt and relatable narrative. As Jayne and June confront their individual struggles and buried secrets, readers are drawn into an emotional journey that examines the power of love, forgiveness, and self-discovery.

23. Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami:

Enter the surreal and dark world of "Coin Locker Babies," where two abandoned infants, Kiku and Hashi, are left in train station lockers and grow up haunted by their traumatic pasts. Ryu Murakami's thought-provoking narrative delves into themes of identity, purpose, and the impact of upbringing on one's life. As Kiku and Hashi embark on separate paths filled with eccentric characters and bizarre circumstances, readers are compelled to contemplate the profound questions of existence and the intricacies of fate. Murakami's evocative storytelling makes this a powerful exploration of the human psyche and the unpredictable nature of life.

24. The Seas by Samantha Hunt:

In Samantha Hunt's mesmerizing novel, "The Seas," a young woman living in a coastal town believes she is a mermaid trapped in a human body. Hunt's lyrical prose blurs the lines between reality and fantasy as the protagonist navigates love, loss, and self-discovery. This haunting tale explores themes of identity, alienation, and the power of imagination. With a dreamlike atmosphere, "The Seas" is an emotionally resonant journey into the depths of the human spirit, prompting readers to contemplate the profound impact of belief on the human experience.


These books offer a diverse and compelling array of stories that deserve greater recognition and appreciation. For those seeking fresh and unique literary experiences, these underrated gems hold the power to captivate, challenge, and resonate on a profound level. So, step outside the well-trodden paths of popular recommendations and embark on a journey through the pages of these remarkable and underrated books. Happy reading!


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