Book Recommendations: Hidden Gems

I’ve read some great books since the beginning of 2017, though none of them are particularly well known or popular. But they are all amazing and don’t nearly get the hype they deserve.

 

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

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Love and First Sight is about a boy named Will Porter, who was born blind and, when he enrolls in a public high school, falls in love for the first time. Then, he undergoes an experimental surgery that gives him sight; only to discover his girlfriend, Cecily, is not the beauty his friends said she was.

This book is perfect for fans of John Green. Will is a great protagonist and his romance with Cecily is adorable. Love and First Sight focuses on the pressures of traditional beauty and accepting people for who they are. Not only that, the writing was very good, witty and thoughtful, reminding me a lot of one of my favorite television shows, The Big Bang Theory.

 

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

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All We Have Left is the first novel I have read that is centered on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is told in dual perspective of two girls, Jesse and Alia. In 2016, Jesse is caught spraying graffiti on the Peace Center in New York City, acting out after years of living in the shadow of her older brother Travis, who was killed on 9/11. Alia is a Muslim girl in 2001 who goes to the Twin Towers where her dad works to talk him out of grounding her for a stupid mistake and gets trapped when the planes crash into the buildings. Both girls’ lives are intertwined.

I picked this book up in the last week of March. Once I started reading it, I could not stop. The writing was beautiful. Both Jesse and Alia have great character development. There are so many quotes about hate, ignorance, religion, family, etc. I can’t remember the last time I got so attached to a book.

 

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

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Jane Steele is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, except Jane Steele is a morally conflicted serial killer that only kills child molesters and wife beaters. There are also references to the original story; Jane Steele’s favorite book is Jane Eyre. While it maintains the primary elements of Jane Eyre, Jane Steele is its own story. Plus, Charles Thornfield, the Mr. Rochester of the story, is ten times sexier than the latter.

Dare I say it: I think I loved Jane Steele as much as Jane Eyre, if not more so. The book was over 400 pages, but the writing made it fly by as if it were 200 pages. And I think I had a book hangover after I finished it.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

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Set in World War II in America, Germany, and Poland, Lilac Girls follows three different women. Caroline is a New York City socialite that works for the French consulate when Hitler invades Poland in 1939. Kasia is a Polish teenager that gets wrapped up in the underground rebellion after Hitler’s armies invade and is then sent to a women’s concentration camp. Herta is a gifted surgeon blindly devoted to the Reich until she takes on a job that puts her moral code, as well as her sanity, to the test. The three women’s lives are intersected by an event in World War II history that has been forgotten in the wake of Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust.

This book was almost 500 pages and slow burning, but it was worth it. The writing made me feel all of the emotions. The author clearly did her research into the subject and her passion shows. I enjoyed all three of the main protagonists; all have their own personal struggles to deal with, but all have their own moral codes they try to stand by no matter what.

 

Have you read any of these books? What books have you read that you feel don’t get the hype they deserve?

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