11 Underrated YA books

This is a list of books that you may not have heard of, or just haven’t gotten the recognition that they deserve. All of the books feature romance and the majority are a part of a series. They also have a range in genres, from fantasy/sci-fi to dystopian, as well as a variation in target audience, though none should surpass an ‘age 16 rating’.

All book descriptions taken from Amazon kindle website. All links and content based on UK Amazon website

1. Half a King -Joe Abercrombie

Christian Commentary:

  • Foreign deities
  • Violence
  • Mythological stories

Series? : Yes, 3 books, all completed.

Why read? : relatable underdog main character, amazing adventure, strong sense of camaraderie/loveable friendships.

“Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, and traps and tragedy…”

2. Snow Like Ashes -Sara Raasch

Christian Commentary:

  • Premarital sex , mentions of brothels and more sexual themes
  • Dark magic and corruption
  • Mystical beings
  • Violence, Wars, Murder

Series? : Yes, 3 books, all completed. Please read all 3

Why read? : Likeable main heroine, satisfying love triangle, cool magic system.

“Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.”

3. The Queen’s rising -Rebecca Ross

Christian Commentary:

  • Violence and Murder
  • Affairs
  • Mentions of brothels

Series? : 2 books. A completed duology

Why read? : great way to ease into the fantasy genre, main character is not a leader or royalty meaning there is less stressful decision making , cute age-gap romance.

“Born out of wedlock, Brienna is cast off by her noble family and sent to Magnolia House – a boarding house for those looking to study the passions: art, music, dramatics, wit and knowledge. Brienna must discover her passion and train hard to perfect her skill, in the hope that she will one day graduate and be chosen by a wealthy patron, looking to support one of the ‘impassioned’.

As Brienna gets closer to the eve of her graduation, she also grows closer to her smart (and handsome) tutor, Cartier. He can sense that she is hiding a secret, but Brienna chooses not to reveal that she is experiencing memories of her ancestors – memories uncovering the mysteries of the past that may have dangerous consequences in the present.

A daring plot is brewing – to overthrow the usurper king and restore the rightful monarchy – and Brienna’s memories hold the key to its success. Cartier desperately wants to help Brienna, but she must chose her friends wisely, keep her enemies close and trust no one if she is to save herself and her people.”

4. Renegades -Marissa Meyer

Christian Commentary:

  • Violence
  • Superpowers
  • Murder
  • Homosexual couple

Series? : Yes, 3 books, all completed.

Why read? : Diverse cast, epic superpowers, a cute clean romance.

“Secret identities. Extraordinary powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone . . . except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.”

5. Skyward -Brandon Sanderson

Christian Commentary:

  • Sci-fi violence
  • Strange supernatural ability

Series? : Yes, but only 2 released so far (as of Summer 2021)

Why read? : thrilling flying battles, a talking ship, a sidekick pet slug and an enemies-to-lovers romance.

“Spensa’s world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity’s only defense is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what’s left of the human race.

Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s – a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa’s chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They’ve doubled their fleet, making Spensa’s world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .”

6. Legend– Marie Lu

Christian Commentary:

  • Premarital sex
  • Violence
  • Murder
  • Homosexual characters
  • Dystopian corruption

Series? : Yes, 4 books, all completed.

Why read? : Equally intelligent and admirable main characters, intriguing and interesting plot, gut-wrenching romance.

Los Angeles, California

Republic of America

He is Day.

The boy who walks in the light.

She is June.

The girl who seeks her brother’s killer.

On the run and undercover, they meet by chance. Irresistably drawn together, neither knows the other’s past.

But Day murdered June’s brother.

And she has sworn to avenge his death.

Dystopian fiction at its very best in this thrilling instalment in the Legend trilogy.

7. The Winner’s curse– Marie Rutkoski

Christian Commentary:

  • Violence and Murder
  • Oppression
  • Premarital sex
  • Homosexual characters

Series? : 3 books. A completed trilogy

Why read? : determined and likable main characters, well paced plot, frustratingly forbidden romance (both a pro and con).

“As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. Kestrel has other ideas.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in Arin, a young slave up for auction. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him – and for a sensational price that sets the society gossips talking. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for him is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

The first novel in a stunning new trilogy, The Winner’s Curse is a story of romance, rumours and rebellion, where dirty secrets and careless alliances can be deadly – and everything is at stake”

8. P.s. I like you– Kasie West

Christian Commentary:

  • (Suggestions?)

Series? : No, this is a standalone.

Why read? : good humour, clean teen romance, multi-dimensional characters.

“Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters — sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.”

9. Crown of Secrets– Melanie Cellier

Christian Commentary:

  • Magic
  • Corruption
  • Violence

Series? : Yes, 4 books, all completed. A sequel to other series within the same world.

Why read? : Likeable main heroine with an amazing power, well paced, wholesome clean romance.

An enemy kingdom. A powerful prince. And an Academy for mages.
To stay alive, Verene will have to uncover her hidden power.

Verene is a disappointment to her entire kingdom–the first royal ever born without power, despite her mother being the most powerful mage in history. So when she’s sent to the Academy in neighboring Kallorway to forge ties with her people’s traditional enemies, she’s determined to succeed and prove she can still be of value to her kingdom.

Prince Darius of Kallorway is the strongest mage in his family–and the only reason his weak father is still clinging to his throne. Starting at the Academy at the same time as Verene, the crown prince is cold and distant and shows no desire to connect with her. Instead he seems suspicious of both her presence and her claimed lack of power.

Surrounded by unfamiliar politics and long-held enemies, Verene discovers that some at the Academy want her gone by whatever means necessary. As the threats grow ever more sinister, she starts to question all of her assumptions. The hardened prince might just be her best hope of survival and–even more shockingly–he might be right about her power. If Verene wants to survive Kallorway and the Academy, she must uncover her hidden powers and take her true place among the mages.”

10. Flipped– Wendelin Van Draanen

Christian Commentary:

  • Not a very loving neighbour

Series? : No, this is a standalone.

Why read? : a humorous multi-pov format, binge worthy and short, an ending that leaves you wanting more.

All I’ve ever wanted is for Juli Baker to leave me alone. For her to back off – you know, just give me some space.

Juli has been making Bryce’s life hell from the moment they met. All he wants is to live a normal life, without some crazy person mooning after him.

The first day I met Bryce Loski, I flipped. Honestly, one look at him and I became a lunatic. It’s his eyes.

But she doesn’t see it that way. In her eyes, they’re meant for each other, even though he might not realize it yet.

That is, until the eighth grade, when everything flips. And just as Juli starts to realize that Bryce may not be all he seemed, Bryce begins to think that there’s more to Juli than meets the eye . . .

Wendelin Van Draanen’s Flipped is a modern-day classic about first love and not judging a book by it’s cover. A romantic comedy-of-errors told in alternating chapters by two fresh, funny voices.”

11. This Shattered World– Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Christian Commentary:

  • Mystical beings
  • Violence
  • Murder
  • Sexual implications

Series? : Yes, 3 books, but starring different characters. This is the 2nd book in the ‘Starbound’ trilogy

Why read? : strong talented female main character, compassionate male main character, interesting well-developed storyline.

“Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. His sister died in the original uprising against the powerful corporate conglomerate that rules Avon with an iron fist. These corporations make their fortune by terraforming uninhabitable planets across the universe and recruiting colonists to make the planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage against the military occupying his home, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape base together, caught between two sides in a senseless war. The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.”

Do you agree with this list? Are there any books missing that should be included? Anything to add to the Christian Commentaries? If so, make sure to Leave A Comment or contact me directly!


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