Hey everyone! Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my favorite backlist books and realized as time goes on, it becomes difficult to dive back into my old favorites with the sheer amount of new titles being released each year. It’s impossible to keep up with ALL the books, so today’s post is comprised of some marvelous reads that’ve been out for a while that I believe deserve more love. 💕✨
I’m so happy to be chatting with you all today about books I’ve adored that I definitely feel like should be recognized even more. Whether your looking for an urban fantasy, epic fantasy, contemporary, or thriller, this list is indeed for you if you are need of some backlist gems!
No More Heroes by Michelle Kan
Genre: Urban Fantasy┃Young Adult
Release Date: June 27, 2015 (Feb. 2017 2nd Edition)
Summary: The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted Vigilantes the world over. But a sudden rash of Vigilante deaths heralds the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy – one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they’re going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain?
Why you should read it: I still think about the unique concept that Kan delivered here― people gifted with superpowers live in a city they protect in the night! It also features a Queer / POC cast (Māori, Samoan, Indian, & Chinese characters) plus aro-ace and genderfluid rep. Friendship is also an integral part of this story as bonds are strengthened and new allies are made. Though years have passed, I continue to remember the fond memories I had reading this, truly a hidden gem in urban fantasy that delivers a fresh take on superheroes, highly recommend reading this. (Plus, if you want to support indie books and authors, you should also pick this up!)
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Genre: Young Adult ┃ Contemporary
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Summary: You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything? Actually, a lot. Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret. All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse. You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.
Why you should read it: What continues to stay with me about this superb novel is the use of a mixed media format which makes Alaine’s journey feel so personal as it deeply revolves around family, especially her mother! With Alaine being an aspiring journalist, I also found the element of journalism to be explored in such a thorough way. This truly is a moving, character-driven YA Contemporary story that explores many deep themes.
Shatter The Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
Genre: Fantasy ┃ Young Adult
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Summary: Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold. If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground… With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?
‘Why you should read it: Firstly, umm DRAGONS, but also the detailed worldbuilding. If you’re in the mood for a “quiet” fantasy novel this one is perfect because the protagonist Maren is more of “reluctant hero” who isn’t looking for adventure, but certain events propel her to do so and she learns a lot about her world. The worldbuilding has tons of layers to it from the politics, to the setting, history, dragon lore, and lots more that develops the further you read. Also has a great cast of characters that leave you wanting to know more about them!
The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
Genre: Horror ┃ Thriller ┃ Young Adult
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Summary: New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends. To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own. When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.
Why you should read it: Moldavsky uses elements from the horror genre in such a genius way that comes through in the writing, the way the story is told, its atmosphere, the intriguing characters and in so many other ways. Rachel is an awesome protagonist and this novel cleverly delves deep into her arc. This book truly blew my mind and is probably one of the most brilliant books I’ve read this year, I need more people to read this breathtaking and page-turning YA Thriller!
Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud
Genre: Contemporary┃ Romance ┃Young Adult
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Summary: Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy?
Why you should read it: This is a perfect read if you’re in the mood for a YA royal romance (its also set during summer)! Alongside that, its character-driven / focused where the story centers Zora’s dreams and her development when she gets thrust into a royal spotlight. Its cute, fun, and a sweet read that I think deserves much more love!
That concludes the list, I hope you found a new underrated gem to dive into and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new feature!
What are some YA Books you’ve read that you think deserve more love or recognition? Thoughts on the books I’ve listed here? ✨