Top Ten Most Underrated Reads

This week’s theme on Broke and the Bookish is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while! We’re talking about underrated books! Given the criteria of less than 2,000 rating on GoodReads, I went a couple steps further to make sure not to list any books published since March – I figured a lot of these low ratings were due to a book’s newness. I first outlined my list about a month ago, and it’s crazy how much or how little has changed in that time! I really loved my experience reading each of these, so I’m happy to see some change over the last month. It would be even more interesting to revisit them in 6 months – hopefully they’ll outgrow their underrated status by then!


The Passenger by F.R. Tallis: 92 Ratings, 3.29 Stars

The Passenger is a gripping tale of a German submarine haunted by the lingering spirit of a mysterious prisoner. Like any other submarine at war, the ship is constantly under threat as they approach enemy lines, but one disaster after another leaves them desperate, taking unimaginable risks and defying all odds to make it back ashore. More than a WWII novel, more than a haunting, The Passenger is a story of life, of war, and personal value, outlining the importance of the individual – we all have a part to play, and we can make a difference. (4 Stars)


The Sage of Waterloo by Leona Francombe: 151 Ratings, 3.26 Stars

Easily one of the most quotable books I’ve read, I was graciously swept away by the quirky mannerisms of the rabbits, their sense of the battle, and the sage advice given by Grandmother Lavender, who has quickly become one of my favorite characters of the year. Francombe is a gifted writer, beautifully interweaving simplified lessons of war with the more complicated effects that last lifetimes longer than ever imagined, surging the reader down, shall I say, a rabbit-hole of reflection. (4 Stars)


Free Men by Katy Simpson Smith: 164 Ratings, 3.59 Stars

Set just after the Revolutionary War in the American South, three men bound by their search for freedom will go to desperate lengths to take hold of a future not promised by fate. An escaped slave, a Creek Indian, and an emotionally disturbed white man are on the run when their paths fortuitously converge. Free Men gives readers a new meaning to freedom and family as their path to freedom unveils faith in country and fellow man. (4 Stars)


Black Hole by Bucky Sinister: 67 Ratings, 3.97 Stars

Now in his forties, Chuck’s still living the high life. He may not be a good guy, but he knows the ins and outs of the San Francisco punk scene – where to go, who to ask, where to get a free score… until one night he finds the everlasting gobstopper of drugs, a never-ending high known as the Black Hole. Sinister takes his readers on an unimaginable high, uncovering the demoralization and inconceivable yearning of an addict’s existence. (4 Stars)


A Bright Moon for Fools by Jasper Gibson: 427 Ratings, 3.58 Stars

Harry Christmas is unpleasant, greedy, and selfish, but after losing his wife, his grief hits an all-time, new low. He’s stolen his lover’s riches, and now her heart, stealing away to Venezuela while her psychotic son takes chase. After bouncing bar to bar, he finds the money stolen, landing himself on the street and and depending on the kindness of strangers (while ripping them off), until one woman is able to see past all his detestable drunkenness and forces him to deal with himself, one lie at a time. (3 Stars)


A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell: 448 Ratings, 3.66 Stars

In A Blessing on the Moon, Chaim Skibelski is sent on a journey in the afterlife. He awakes finding himself in a pit of bodies, having been shot by Nazis soldiers and thrown into a mass grave, but terror stricken and running for his life, he slowly realizes that he, too, had died. Caught in a seemingly never-ending state of limbo, Chaim will be put to the test, trial after trial, effecting a heartbreaking message of endurance and forgiveness. (5 Stars)


The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver Schonwerth: 468 Ratings, 3.61 Stars

For lovers of Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Anderson – this volume is not to be missed! Similar to his peers, Schonwerth traveled across Bravaria in search for the origins of traditional fairy tales, uncovering their dark and violent roots and bringing new life to a beloved genre. (4 Stars)


Joan of Arc: A History by Helen Castor: 523 Ratings, 3.71 Stars

Easily, one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read! Just as in She Wolves, Castor shares the familiar history, but also goes one step further by creating the context long forgotten, delving into the complex political climate of the time and all the different roles at play. By going beyond the story of Joan, she creates a vivid picture of the time and place, allowing the reader full access to the true and shocking story of a young girl turned political puppet. (5 Stars)


The Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone: 804 Ratings, 3.81 Stars

In The Rival Queens, Goldstone unveils the remarkable and twisted relationship between two of the most infamous women of Renaissance France, Catherine de’ Medici and Marguerite de Valois, mother and daughter, queen against queen. If you think the Tudors are incredulous, than the Medici are down-right ruthless. (5 Stars)


The Chimes by Anna Smaill: 1,235 Ratings, 3.46 Stars

Set in a world where the written word has been long forgotten and new memories are lost in an instant, only music remains. While the overall story can be confusing, Smaill’s world is unique and completely intriguing, building new bridges between literature and music. (3 Stars)

What books do you think are underrated?


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