Some of our favorite YA books don’t get enough mentions! We came up with a list of books that you may have never heard of but should definitely check out. Let us know in the comments if you have read any of these!
1. The Blood for Blood series by Catherine Doyle
The Blood for Blood series follows rival mafia families in Chicago. When a family of five hot boys moves into her neighborhood, Sophie Gracewell is pulled into a decades-old family feud between warring mafia families. Drawn to Nic and his brother Luca, Sophie comes to realize that their families are connected in more ways than one: her father was convicted of murdering their dad, and it may not be a simple case of self defense. As the boys’ dark secrets begin to unravel, Sophie must piece together her family’s hidden past before she finds herself in danger.
This is one of the best YA series out there! It has it all: romance, action, and humor. Sophie is a firecracker and both Nic and Luca are super hot. The Blood for Blood series is written by a British author not as well known on this side of the Atlantic. Her storytelling is amazing, and the plot is so well developed over the three-book series. Luca is on Claire’s Top 5 list of YA love interests. Definitely do not skip out on this series!
2. The Half-Blood series by JLA
We’ve gushed about this series before on our blog. You can check out our full review of the series here!
While JLA is a big time author, this was her first series so it doesn’t get as much hype. The series is also arguably her best. The cast of characters are fantastic, and the world building is out of this world. JLA makes lots of connections to Ancient Greek history, and the romance is your favorite type of YA ship but minus the cheesiness!
3. The Last Magician series by Lisa Maxwell
We met Maxwell when she came to our local Barnes and Noble to promote the first book in this series, The Last Magician. Since then, we’ve been obsessed with her work.
If you love history and the idea of time travel, then this is the book for you! The book follows Esta, a talented thief with the magical ability to manipulate time. She lives in modern day New York, where Mageus— or those with magical powers— are basically extinct. Any Mageus that enters Manhattan is trapped by the Brink, a magical barrier that causes them to lose their powers. Using her abilities, Esta steals magical artifacts from the Order, the society that invented the Brink. Her power allows her to manipulate time and steal artifacts before the Order even knows they exist. Her benefactor sends her on one final job: go back to 1902 and steal the book containing the secrets of the Order before the mysterious Magician can destroy it. While in 1902 New York, she joins a gang and meets Harte, a boy who may not be who he seems. To save the future, Esta will need to team up with those she doesn’t trust and unlock the secrets to her past.
The romance and world building in this series is top-notch! Maxwell did a fantastic job weaving the story (and in a historically accurate manner)! We really felt like we were living in 1902 New York. The banter between Harte and Esta was fabulous, and we ship them hardcore. Two books are out right now, with the last one on the way. Definitely pick this up to binge over winter break!
4. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Jessie moves to Los Angeles to finish out her high school years when her dad remarried two years after her mom died. She gains a new stepbrother and stepmother, and struggles to fit in at her fancy new school. Just when she is thinking of giving up, she receives an email from Somebody/Nobody (SN) offering to help her navigate her new school. The two form a close bond, and Jessie realizes that her new life may not be as bad as it seems. She makes new friends and blossoms as a person. Jessie wants to meet SN, but thinks maybe some mysteries are better left unsolved.
This book is equal parts heartwarming and romantic! It’s genuinely great to watch Jessie come into her own in her new life. And her blossoming romance with SN is guaranteed to make you swoon. This is by far one of the best underrated rom-com’s in the YA genre.
5. Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes
Falling Kingdoms is a fantasy series set in three kingdoms of Mytica, where magic is forgotten and mistrusted. A rebellion is brewing, and a prince, two princesses, and a rebel find their lives— and destinies— suddenly intertwined.
Cleo, a princess, finds herself betrothed to Magnus, the prince of an enemy territory. She secretly hopes that her marriage will provide her with the opportunity to search for a magic long thought to be extinct. Cleo believes the magic will be the key to getting her kingdom back. Magnus is a brooding ice prince with sharp, cunning wit. His sister, Princess Lucia, has recently discovered that she has magical powers of her own…but she cannot control them. Jonas is a poor rebel with a cause. After he kidnaps Cleo, he finds himself in deep trouble with the evil King, Magnus’ father, who is attempting to consolidate power by invading the two other kingdoms of Mytica.
This story is told in multiple POVs and each are woven together brilliantly! If you are in search of an underrated YA fantasy series, then this is the series for you! All the books are released, so you can binge to your heart’s content. We definitely recommend this series for the romance between Cleo and Magnus, which is the ultimate hate-to-love trope. The side characters in the series are also fantastic and the world building is well done without being overwhelming.
6. Paris, Modigliani and Me by Jacqueline Kolosov
The fact that this book only has 58 ratings on Goodreads baffles us. We’ve raved about this book before because it has everything: travel, romance, creativity and fun!
You didn’t get into your dream art school, so now what? After not getting into her top choice college, Julie Hankla reevaluates her plans for the future, while experiencing the Parisian art scene. Julie moves to Paris for the summer to be an au pair for her mother’s best friend’s daughter Genevieve. Genevieve, a fashionable and spunky 10 year old, helps Julie move forward and discovery the beauty of a new city. While exploring, she comes across two different guys she cannot help having feelings for. Clay, the American who travels the city with Julie and Genevieve and Luc, the bad boy artist who everyone tells her to stay away from. Along with deciding between two guys, Julie also has to choose whether or not to contact her father, a French man who she has never met and doesn’t know she exists. Through all of the choices she must make, the most interesting part of the summer occurs when the art galley that Genevieve’s mom works at acquires a Modigliani, one of Julie’s favorite artists. As a result of a lot of research, Julie believes that Modigliani’s wife, Jeanne was actually the artist behind the painting. Explore Paris with Julie as she makes choices regarding her future, her love-life and whether to see her father, all while discovering the truth about Modigliani’s past.
Julie’s description of Paris will have you on a flight ready to check out the city’s eclectic art scene. Follow her to important spots, such as the Louvre, Shakespeare and Co., as well as small local galleries and antique shops. We also suggest you take Genevieve’s fashion advice and go to Bon Marche and other fabulous department stores to learn about icons, like Coco Chanel. After this book, you’ll feel the need to soak up the culture and max out your credit card.
7. Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny
Released in 2018, Summer Constellations is a sweet story about family. The family business is hurting and Julie Ducharme doesn’t know what to do. The last thing she wants is for her mother to sell the camp ground lake property. Except, with her brother’s recent illness and her mom’s debt, it might be the only option. To make matters worse, her crush Dan returns for the summer with a new girlfriend.
One night while looking at stars on the dock, Julie runs into Nick Constantine, a cute guy playing guitar. Instant sparks fly between the two and for the first time, the summer looks hopeful. However, Nick’s dad is a developer who wants to turn the lake into a casino resort. Nick doesn’t want to be associated with his dad’s project and tries to help Julie keep the family business. Can she truly ever trust him?
This story is really great if you’re looking for a book centered on the importance of family relationships. Julie is very protective of her bother Caleb. Caleb and Nick developed a friendship that made the romance in the story even more genuine. While the romance makes you want to spend the summer at a lake with a hot guy, Julie’s first priority is her family. Julie enlists Nick and her family to come up with marketing ideas to boost the family business to prevent selling to the developers.
8) Pivot Point by Kasie West
While we’ve posted about all of West’s contemporaries, we’ve yet to discuss her first book. Pivot Point follows Addy Coleman a girl who lives in a hidden city for people with special mental abilities. Addy is a searcher, so when she has to make a tough decision, she can search the future to see the consequences of both paths.
When Addy’s parents tell her they are divorcing, they give her a choice: stay in their current house with her or move to the normal world with her dad. Unable to decide, Addy lives six weeks of both futures. She thinks the choice has become clear. but when tragedy strikes, Addy must make choice to pursue her own happiness or protect the ones she loves.
Even though West writes amazing books, we wished she would try another paranormal series. This series had mystery, powers and romance. You won’t want to miss it.
9. Prep School Confidential by Kara Thomas
Anne Dowling loves her privileged life in NYC. Until she burns part of her school down and gets shipped off to a preppy boarding school in New England. Right after she arrives, her roommate is murdered and Anne finds herself pursuing the mystery.
Not enough people have read this great series full of twists and turns. Anne’s character growth from a spoiled socialite to a badass detective is fun to read. Combine that with a swoon-worthy romance and a cast of interesting side characters and you have A+ series.
If you love a good mystery, you won’t be able to put this one down. You’ll be routing for Anne the entire time, even if she makes some bad decisions.
10. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Other dystopians get a lot more coverage. However, this series deserves just as much recognition as Divergent and The Hunger Games. In fact, think of an intellectual version of The Hunger Games.
Cia Vale wants to get chosen for the testing and when she gets chosen as a candidate. But, when she’s brought to the testing facility, strange things occur. Failing these tests has more consequences than just going home. In fact, if she doesn’t pass the testing, she may never see home again.
Cia’s story will be loved by dystopian fans. Think you have what it takes to pass the test? Their are four rounds and each one gets more difficult until the committee decides who will pass on to the university. The seven stages war turned the United States into rubble and the new leaders will do anything to protect the future of the country.