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The best books you’ve never read


Hype is a bit of monster in YA, and though we often get wrapped up in it, sometimes it’s good to look at the books that get a little left behind. You’d be surprised at how many gems stay hidden.

a world of pure imagination

Here are some of our very favourite underrated reads.

‘Monster’ monsterby CJ Skuse

Every one at Bathory School has heard stories of The Beast. Nash thought her biggest battle was the fight to be Head Girl at the prestigious school, but then she gets trapped at school over Christmas during a blizzard. Legends of the Beast of Bathory are running wild, but Nash brushes them off as just that, until the Matron goes missing…

CJ Skuse is one of our favourite UKYA writers and she doesn’t get nearly enough attention for her dark humour, grit and full-on fun. ‘Monster’ is so good that we’re seriously excited to see how her next book, ‘The Deviants’, tops it.

counting stars‘Counting Stars’ by Keris Stainton

Keris Stainton is another author beloved by the UKYA community, and not just because of her obsession with One Direction, but because she writes brilliant books. ‘Counting Stars’ is about Anna. After leaving school, she moves to Liverpool to an exciting house share and a dream job under her belt, but it quickly overwhelms her as everything begins to fall through.

‘Counting Stars’ is new adult how new adult should be and Keris Stainton shines. More please!

how to love‘How to Love’ by Katie Cotugno

Katie Cotugno’s debut is a gorgeous love story, but honestly, the blurb says it best:

This is a love story. But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.

This is real. This is life. This is how to love.

Right?! We love this book. It was one that turned up unexpectedly and we knew nothing about it, but decided to give it a go and devoured it all in one sitting.

night owls‘Night Owls’ by Jenn Bennett

On San Francisco’s night bus, Bea meets Jack. He fun, charming and completely gorgeous – he might also be a notorious graffiti artist… But Jack is hiding more than Bea realises. Can she uncover the secrets that are hurting him so much?

This book is a real beauty, inside and out. The writing is lyrical and evocative, the story entrancing and the setting so vivid we felt like we were in San Francisco with Bea and Jack.

summer i turned pretty‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ by Jenny Han

Jenny Han is mostly known for her completely adorable trilogy about Lara Jean, but Belly deserves some love too. Belly (her real name is actually Isabel) spends every summer at the beach-side home of family friends with their sons Jeremiah and Conrad. Belly has loved Conrad for as long as she can remember, but he’s never noticed her. This summer, everything is different and both boys are suddenly seeing her in a whole new light.

This trilogy is the perfect read to see out the summer. It had us longing for sandy days and warm nights, and maybe Jeremiah and Conrad too…

tithe‘Tithe’ by Holly Black

Holly Black is most well known for ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ which she co-wrote with Tony DeTerlizzi and her gloriously dark vampire novel ‘The Coldest Girl in Cold Town’, but we think the ‘Modern Faerie Tales’ trilogy is the best of the fae YA.

Kaye travels with her mum as she performs in a rock band, but when an attack forces them to return to Kaye’s childhood home, Kaye is once again faced with the faeries she saw as a child. But this time she’s dragged into their deadly world and becomes a pawn in an ancient faerie war.

Deliciously dark, angsty and full of magic and romance, ‘Tithe’ is completely irresistible. If you like fae, this series is for you.

eleanor and park‘Dangerous Girls’ by Abigail Haas

When Anna, Tate, Elise and their group of friends head off to spend Spring Break in Aruba, they expect it to be a trip they won’t forget. But murder? They didn’t quite anticipate that. Anna soon finds suspicion pointed at her. She’s trapped in a foreign country fighting for freedom, all while her best friend is dead. But the truth of that night is more shocking than you could ever imagine…

This book completely took our breath away. Like, seriously, it blew our mind. Twist after twist after twist and then a sucker punch of an ending. Make sure you’ve got a whole afternoon free to devour this in one gulp. SO GOOD.

french kiss‘Diary of a Crush’ by Sarra Manning

When Edie moves to a new town, miles from her friends and her old school, she’s terrified she won’t make any friends. Then she spots moody, messy-haired, art boy Dylan. On a college trip to Paris, everything changes between them. But are boys like Dylan in it for keeps?

We don’t even know how many times we’ve read this trilogy. Dylan is delicious, the scene on the ferry home from France makes our knees week and we love Edie’s sass. An oldie but a goody that EVERYONE needs to read.

Tell us about your favourite underrated reads at @maximumpopbooks

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Written by Sophie Waters

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Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.