This year, I’ve finally accepted that I truly do love hyped books. I’ve always been torn about this because not every book can be hugely hyped, and I can’t possibly read every book that came out this year even if I read more than the average person (probably?), and it’s frustrating knowing that so many good books have come out and not appeared on my feeds or in my recommendations at all. I’m so behind on all the books.
(I’ve just done some Googling – the average number of books each person reads a year is 12, but that’s inflated by avid readers. The most frequently reported number was 4 books per year.)
So, for this post, I’m going to talk about some of my favourite under-hyped books of 2018 with the #HypeYour5 tag. This was created by Mackenzi Lee on Instagram, and I will stick to genuinely underhyped books rather than books I love but are averagely hyped or else this post would be The Song of Achilles ten times.
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews
This is the debut novel of C.G. Drews, who has a blog called Paper Fury. If you’ve seen a few of my posts or any of my YouTube videos, you will know that I’m obsessed with her, and I’ve been dying for the chance to read her book. I read this book in one sitting – only a few hours. It’s the most unputdownable book I’ve read this year, full of thrills and feels, and this beautiful musical heart that mine is breaking for.
This book made me feel so much. Lots of it hurt me to the core, but the rest of it was so wonderfully real and made me welcome the pain. This is a book that makes me want to live and breathe, slightly ironic as I spent a majority of it holding my breath and just hurting for Beck. This may only be C.G. Drew’s debut novel, but I can’t wait to see where she goes with her next book. I am already a lifelong fan.
We Are Young by Cat Clarke
‘We Are Young’ is not a light book. The plot is heavily centred around death, a car accident, suicide, and mental health, along with scenes of abusive family relationships and a discussion of pressures on modern teenagers. And the characters are teenagers that actually behave like teenagers do, not shying away from the larger issues in the story (death, suicide, mental health) or the smaller ones, like drinking, drugs, and sexuality.
Having read ‘Undone’ a few years ago (a book that’s had a pretty secure spot as one of my favourite books of all time), I knew that Cat Clarke was an author to keep an eye out for. I enjoy how she doesn’t make a massive deal of LGBT+ representation and includes it casually, unlike many other YA authors. She also throws a lot of other major contemporary issues into her stories in a way that is neither romanticised or sugar-coated.
All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
Following Charlie Calloway at her boarding school, life gradually begin to turn serious as she’s offered the chance to join secret exclusive society. When things turn darker and a family secret is unexpectedly involved, the mystery needs to unravel for Charlie to know where she stands.
What caught me straight away was how this isn’t just Charlie’s story. The perspectives switch between her and her parents, something I’ve not seen done before. And when there’s a family mystery at stake, it only serves to build up tension as different sides of the story overtake each other, until they eventually fit. Initially, I greatly preferred reading the parent’s perspectives, but as things became more twisted and confused I couldn’t help turning the pages to discover how the two stories linked.
I didn’t believe in these people or their world for a second, but All These Beautiful Strangers was undeniably fun to read. Klehfoth really knows how to construct a twisty plot, how to fashion a cliffhanger that will have you turning the pages as fast as you can read them. It’s ridiculous, and it’s also ridiculously enjoyable.
Final Draft by Riley Redgate
I have never seen this book in an Instagram post, a book blog, or a YouTube video. It’s almost definitely out there somewhere, but I’ve never seen it.
This book is a treasure. It’s about Laila’s obsession with artistic perfection, and that’s a feeling I know very well. It’s about how the growth of her writing corresponds to her own personal growth. It’s about being shy and learning to expand horizons and branch out into ‘real life’ in a way that is interesting rather than overdone.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
I read this book as an eARC from NetGalley back in March but as I was writing the review, I found out that it came out in 2016. I’m including it anyway as the version I read came out this year and it was somehow an advanced copy.
I still have no idea what this book is about, but the prose is what drew me in. The book is written in a way where I could clearly see the scenes I was reading as if they were on the big screen, and I hope someone makes this into a film. Hopefully, it’s a good film. The passion that the characters have for books is captivating, and the entire story felt like a love letter: hopeful and heart-breaking. Basically, I love this book a lot.
Have you read any of these? Tell me about your hidden gems of this year!