Monday, May 3, 2010

46 Favorite Underappreciated YA Book Contest & Giveaway

YAY! Great books and a contest! Okay folks, let's do something a little different today. I just took my afternoon coffee break and stopped by Literary Rambles, Casey McCormick's blog, and saw that she was participating in YA author Elana Johnson's Spread the Awesome festival celebrating the best of YA books. Over 60 bloggers (posted so far) have named a book they felt deserved 10 stars--go here to check them out. Casey did a wonderful review of Wintergirls and, like the other participants, added a giveaway for anyone who commented on the post. I love this whole idea. BUT I was writing all day and didn't get the memo until very late.

If you're a memo-misser like me, here's your chance. Do you know any UNDERAPPRECIATED young adult authors? Any books that didn't generate the buzz they deserve? Something you think is absolutely wonderful but didn't make everyone else's list?

Please share it with us! We'll run this contest for two weeks taking nominations, and then we'll compile a list of the submissions and ask everyone to pick their top five favorites. Hopefully, we'll all come away with some great new books and encourage authors who deserve exposure.

To reward your nominations, we'll follow the Spread the Awesome example add some prizes. We'll draw five random winners and give away goodie bags each containing a great YA book (Fallen, Beautiful Creatures, Shiver, Hex Hall or Body Finder) for inspiration along with some tension-taming writing essentials like bath soak, aromatherapy stuff, and chocolate.

Winners will be selected at random. We'll submit one entry for you for each of the following:
  1. Following the blog
  2. Commenting with a book recommendation (you can duplicate someone else's recommendation, but we will only count one recommendation for each commenter per book. If you comment twice with the same recommendation, we will enter you only once. If you comment twice with two different recommendations, we will enter you twice.)
  3. Posting a link to this contest on your blog or website
  4. Retweeting a link to this contest
If you link to the post or tweet, please comment including the Twitter name you used or the page URL on your blog. Hopefully, we'll find some great new blogs and tweeples at the same time we promo some fantastic authors.

This is going to be fun. Come recommend and comment and enjoy!

Martina & Marissa


  1. Wow -- great idea!

    I read and LOVED Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore. I almost chose it to feature on my blog during this Spread the Awesome campaign. And I think it got a lot of attention because of the Bloomsbury cover thing, but not from the delicious writing inside. And I thought it was brilliant.

    I'll tweet this for you guys. And I better double-check on the follower thing... :)

  2. I recommend Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway. Not my normal genre, but I absolutely loved it!


  3. I'm also going to recommend Devilish by Maureen Johnson. It's my favorite books she's written.

    I'm also a blog follower.


  4. I loved PJ Hoover's The Emerald Tablet. I think it's a great book for kids who liked the Percy Jackson series.

    I'm a follower. I don't have a blog yet.

  5. Great idea - way to continue spreading the love! I think Kathi Appelt's THE UNDERNEATH is big-time under-rated. I almost did my feature about that one, but I couldn't resist my beloved James Dashner! :-)

    I'm a new follower. :-)

  6. Cool! I love this idea. So, it should be someone undernoticed eh? Is that a word? Anyhow, I nominate Bleeding violet. I haven't seen much about it since it came out and I really enjoyed it. It's edgy paranormal YA and Dia Reeve's debut book.

    I'm going to go tweet you now.

  7. Oh WOW! - I also wanted to mention a book by a friend and amazing author - BUT - Natalie has already beat me to it!
    PJ Hoover's - The Emerald Tablet.
    Put succinctly:
    Great book+great author = Greatness.

    Am a follower but don't have a blog yet.

  8. How I Live Now - Meg Rossum. Won a few awards when it came out, but then got buried under the wave of paranormal romance. Definitely deserves a nod for its dark subject.

    More recently: The Enemy - Charlie Higson. Excellent YA horror that doesn't ignore the fact that there are young adult gentlemen out there. Not to mention a fabulous and exciting read.

  9. Ooo I LOVE that you're doing this. Let's see... I think UNWIND by Neal Shusterman is an incredible book that doesn't get a lot of word of mouth. It came out in 2007 though, so maybe I just missed it? Not sure but I think more people should read it!

    I'll tweet the contest for you guys!

  10. The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint. A gorgeous book and none of the YA writers I know have read it.

  11. Thanks, everyone. Keep the nominations coming. And no, the book doesn't have to be terribly recent as long as people can still find a copy.

  12. I LOVED Beautiful by Amy Reed. She's an agent-sister to the amazing Courtney Summers, and she's steady becoming a force to be reckoned with.

  13. Oh! And I'm a follower and I tweeted! @pamharris81

  14. I think THE PRICKER BOY by Reade Scott Whinnem has really flown under the radar - a super creepy, touching, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny book!

  15. I LOVE this, and have been thinking of doing a round up on my own blog of underrated YA books!

    First rec: Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. Brilliant. Beautiful. Brutal. Lanagan is a master storyteller. The book is a triumph.

    Tweeted at:
    Blogged at:

    And I will be chiming in with more recs later. Love this idea so hard.

  16. Everlost by Neal Shusterman This is a great blend of reality with sci fi.The plot line contains depth and is not predictable. I have enjoyed many of the books written by Neal Shusterman.

  17. This is a great idea! A book that I LOVED and haven't been getting much buzz is All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab. Jarzab's writing is amazing, she's a really talented author! It's hard to believe that she's a debut author. A must read!


  18. I second Everlost by Neal Shusterman, wow, I love that series! Fast-paced, had me at the edge of my seat, nervously bitting my nails. Everyone should definitely check out this book if you like something fantasy-ish.

  19. I will throw my nomination in for the book IMMORTAL by Gillian Shields....and no, it's not about vampires. (Not that I have anything against those, but don't let the title throw you.) It's full of mystical mystery, long lost family, discovering the past, unveiling your future and over coming a great darkness that is trying to take all of that away. I read it when it first came out (last year I believe) and enjoyed every minute. I actually received it a few days in advance since I pre-ordered it (it was delivered on a Friday when it actually came out the next Tuesday). It was read before it hit the shelves at our store...couldn't put it down.

    +1 - comment
    +1 - new follower (GMR)

    Great contest...I love the idea behind it! Let's help spread the word on some awesome books that readers may just be missing!


  20. Okay...I already submitted one comment with a recommendation, but I just remembered another that I can't simply pass by! ONCE A WITCH by Carolyn MacCullough. Read it as an ARC on NetGalley right before it was released. REALLY GOOD book. Witches and warlocks but not in a hokie sense....pretty much everyone was a "talent", except the main character. Hers tends less towards magic and more towards trouble. One day she is mistaken for her sister and drawn into a seek and find case that leads to much more than simply uncovering a lost object. There's magic, a little time travel, and a whole lot of story to follow and fall under its spell. The author is on Twitter as well...very nice and happy to answer any questions! Definitely check it out if you get a chance! Okay, done rambling now... LOL.


  21. I love all of L.J. Smith's old books. (None of the newer books that are coming out though).

    Can we nominate a series? I'd like to nominate L.J. Smith's Night World series, or if we have to nominate a specific book, then Huntress. She writes about amazing girls who kick butt!

  22. Another recommendation that I just blogged about the other day: "The Only Alien on the Planet" by Kirsten D. Randle. I feel like this is the most underappreciated young adult book ever. The relationship between the characters are so genuine and the story is absolutely beautiful. It's stayed with me ever since I read it, and I revisit it every year or two.

    I also linked the contest on my blog!

  23. I would like to recommend BOYS THAT BITE by Mari Mancusi. It is the first book in the Blood Coven series and Mari is an amazing author.

  24. I also recommend Vampire Beach by Alex Duval. He gives a different persective on vampires compared to most authors.

    I retweet @fairyqueen2098

  25. Hmmm....

    Great idea. I think the most recent one I've read is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - by Mark Haddon. Incredible :)

  26. You all rock! Thanks so much for participating. There are some phenomenal recommendations. I've read a handful of them (okay, unless you count the fact that I read all the L.J.Smith Night World books), and I will definitely add lots more from this list to my to read pile.

    Please keep em coming! I can't wait until we have the whole list.


  27. Martina and Marissa, thanks for stopping by my blog today, and for the wonderful comments about balance. You've lived those moments yourselves, and it helps those of us with smaller children to remember to stop and smell those roses!

  28. What a wonderful idea! Hmmm a book recommendation...WILLOW by Julia Hoban. :)

  29. Hi Julie,

    You're so welcome! It was a great post and we value your participation here, too. To clarify, the comments were mine. Marissa is a mere youngster by comparison to aged self. (Okay, not THAT aged, but have had my butt glued to this chair for so darn long revising that I'm starting to look for dinosaurs meandering past the windows.)

    And THANKS so much everyone for your participation!!! Yay books!!!!

  30. Another book I haven't seen much of is Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser. Oh my, I adored this book. The protagonist was so likable!

  31. I really loved Ruined by Paula Morris... I was enchanted!
    Tag line... " Welcome to New Orleans: City of Voodoo and Beauty. Of Hurricanes and Hauntings..."


  32. I know I'm going waaaaaay back here, but two of my all time favorite YA books, before YA was even a catagory, are "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton and A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Both are worth a first or second look--they show the differences young people faced without being vampires or werewolves or other supernatural creatures. Just a different perspective :)

  33. Oh, my gosh. Both The Outsiders and A Separate Peace are BOTH fantastic books (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Finny, so tragic) but are they underappreciated? Certainly not by me!

    If we are going that far back, I have to mention one of my all time favorite books growing up, and one that would fit right in with today's YA paranormal craze if anyone anywhere remembered it: Alison Uttley's A Traveler in Time. Has anyone read it?

    The 19th century protag, Penelope, goes to stay with her relatives at Thackers Farm in Derbyshire and finds herself moving back and forth in time between the present-day farm and its past involvement in a doomed plot to rescue Mary Queen of Scots. This is such a gorgeous fantasy; I highly recommend it.

    Thanks again, everyone! These are some amazing books. Please keep them coming!

  34. Ok I have a few recommendations, except one has not technically released yet. I am not sure if it counts, so I will list two here:

    The Secret to Lying - Todd Mitchell (releases June 8) - Funny, unexpected, great read.

    Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - a GREAT READ!!!

    I have also posted this contest on my Twitter!

  35. I also want to add Spells by Aprilynne Pike that just released! It is an great YA read. Of course so was the first first in the series... Wings. :)

  36. Another criminally underrated YA novel? Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell. Such a fab mystery wrapped in a Southern gothic setting. Loved it so much.

    Also: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin. She's known more for Elsewhere, which I haven't read, but Memoirs was so excellent and I never hear anyone talking about it. And they should.

    The Gone novels by Michael Grant. I don't understand why they haven't hit the NYT list yet, and I think it's because there hasn't been enough buzz. The books are Michael Crichton paced. Faster than Stephen King novels, but equally disturbing (and, therefore, fabulous). Gone also boasts one of the best first sentences ever, rivaled only by Mira Grant's Feed and Nabokov's Lolita.

  37. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting was a great read.

  38. Hey Ladies,
    Already a follower. Added you to my link under Upcoming Events
    Tweeted you @SherWordsGirl.

    One of my favorites is Bold and Chocolate. I never could get enough of it. (Surprise. I write about werewolves.)

  39. A follower now!
    Tweeted @candylandgang
    One of my favs: Chloe Doe by Suzanne Phillips

  40. Okay, I wasn't going to add a list of books, but I just have to mention three from last year that are not on this list so far. There are actually a lot of others from last year, but I'll start with these....

    First, The Siren from Kiera Cass. Really beautiful. Cryworthy.

    Also, Candor by Pam Bachorz, SF premise you will think about long after you close the book.

    The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King. Amazingly woven together, incredible premise.

  41. one I read recently that I loved was Faery Rebel: Spell Hunter, by RJ Anderson.

  42. Best underrated YA book?

    THE TRICKSTERS by Margaret Mahy
    OWL IN LOVE by Patrice Kindl
    TERRY AND THE PIRATES by Julian F. Thompson
    RATS SAW GOD by Rob Thomas
    HOPE WAS HERE by Joan Bauer
    TELL IT TO NAOMI by Daniel Ehrenhaft
    ALT ED by Catherine Adkins
    ZIGZAG by Ellen Wittlinger
    THE GENTLEMAN OUTLAW AND ME ELI by Mary Downing Hahn (Children's book, but it's so ignored and so possible to be loved by everyone. The author isn't obscure, but this one is, for some reason.)
    DRAGON'S BAIT by Vivian Vande Velde

    Er, off the top of my head.

  43. I thought that BIRTHMARKED by Caragh O'Brien was absolutely amazing, and could definitely do with a little more buzz :)

  44. Oh, I'm also going to have to add WILLOW by Julia Hoban.

    Also sidebar linked the contest at

  45. For its delicious voice & characters (plus solid plot), I highly recommend *The Boys of San Joaquin* by D. James Smith --

  46. I really enjoyed the Chanters of Tremaris series by Kate Constable. Lots of good recommendations here!


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)