8 of the Best Underrated Books in Young Adult Literature

Here are eight YA books that did not get the recognition they deserved upon their release!

Book Culture

When it comes to the literary world, many books fail to get into readers’ eager hands. They fall through the cracks or are unable to catch the hype-train right when it departs from the station. Just because these books are not popular per se, it does not mean they are not masterpieces unworthy of our time. Here are eight young adult books that did not get the recognition they deserved upon release. These are books that you will make you cry and leave you clinging to the edge of your seat. Trust me and take a chance on these books this summer. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is one of my favorite YA books of all time. April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing is beautiful, and her imagery makes me feel like I am there in the book with the characters. The book combines gothic horror and contemporary romance into a 360-page masterpiece that will have you asking the question, is the beautiful stranger renting Violet White’s guest house a normal boy or a devil in disguise?


Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither introduces the dystopian world where, due to a failed experiment to create the perfect human race, life has been cut short. Women die on their twenty birthday and men on their twenty-fifth. The book follows Rhine Ellery, who has been captured and sold off to wed the handsome Lindon four years before her death day. Rhine, who does not want to die trapped in a beautiful estate with her fellow sister-wives, plots her escape to get back to her twin brother before her clock forever ticks to a stop.

Wither is a book that I finished in a matter of days. After you read it, you will immediately want to pick up the second book in the trilogy to see what happens next. Point blank, this book deserves more hype. Lauren Destefano is a brilliant writer, and her dark story is as gripping as it is twisted.



The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

When people think of Holly Black’s books, they think of The Cruel Prince or The Iron Trial. Not The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a unique twist on a vampire story, following Tana, her ex-boyfriend, and a mysterious boy on a dangerous journey to Coldtown, a walled city full of vampires and the humans willing to mingle with them. The trick about Coldtown, though, is once you go in, you can never come back out again. The book has excellent vampire lore, fantastic LGBTQ+ characters, and shows the true meaning of love and family. It is a must-read!


Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Everything That Makes You tells two different stories about the same girl. One story encompasses Fiona Doyle’s life after her accident, which left half of her face riddled with scars. The other story tells a tale where Fiona’s accident never happened, where she is popular and the top-rated female lacrosse player in the state. Each of these stories has different trials and tribulations, but the question is, which story has a better ending? Which girl has a better life? Is happy?

Everything That Makes You made me cry. It made me question every decision I have never made in my life. It is a beautiful story about two very different girls that share the same name. It is a story that deserves more recognition then it has received in the past five years. More people need to read and know about Everything That Makes You because it is a story that can change your life.



The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith

One would have thought that The Vampire Diaries series would have gotten as much attention as the hit TV show, but in this case, to most, the TV show was better than the original book series. The TV show and the book series have entirely different plot lines and characters. The book, however, is a lot darker and sinister, and its Goodreads’ rating is just plain low. Still, if anyone enjoys a dark fantasy series, then The Vampire Diaries is for you. If you want to see mean girl Elena Gilbert, an eviler Damon Salvatore, and are curious to read about how the TV show should have been produced, you need to pick up this series immediately. It will be worth your wild.


The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

I recommend The Name of the Star the most out of any YA book that I own. The Name of the Star takes place in beautiful present-day London, where a copycat killer is replicating Jack the Ripper’s horrific murders across the city. Rory Deveaux, a Louisiana teenager attending a London boarding school, gets swept up in the killings when she spots the man who is believed to be the police’s prime suspect. The only problem is, she is the only one that can see him. This paranormal Jack the Ripper mystery will keep you guessing till the very end, and Maureen Johnson’s witty writing style will have you laughing out loud despite the book’s creepy, gothic undertone.



Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I know you have heard of The Raven Boys, but have you heard of Shiver? Both are fantastic books by the famous Maggie Stiefvater, but one is a little more well-known than the other. Shiver follows Grace, a teenage girl infatuated with watching the wolves prowl in the woods outside of her house, and Sam, the one-eyed wolf Grace obsesses over. The story is a masterpiece, and the poetry Maggie Stiefvater weaves into the text is gorgeous. Overall, the whole story flows together flawlessly, and I can honestly say Shiver is one of the best werewolf stories I have ever read.


Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel

I devoured Red Heart Tattoo. I read it in a day sitting in a lawn chair at the lake. This book elicits raw emotions from readers, and it is a compelling, short read. The book is about a high school bombing and the ones who survived and the trauma that came with it. In the end, books like Lurlene McDaniel should be talked about more. If we openly discuss and bring public attention to school-based massacres through books like Red Heart Tattoo, our society can continue to stop the devastation affecting our teenagers through unnecessary violence.