45 Hidden Gems for YA Superfans

Posted by Marie on July 30, 2018
From the sprawling territories of Erilea to the 12 districts of Panem, YA superfans have covered a lot of familiar ground. To help take these seasoned explorers off the beaten path, we skipped the classics and bestsellers and put together a list of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

For this roundup, we chose books that have been added fewer than 200,000 times on Goodreads members' shelves. To put this in perspective, members have added The Hunger Games to their shelves more than 6 million times. From there, we only included titles with a minimum four-star rating. Then we broke down the results into recommendations for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Suzanne Collins, John Green, Jenny Han, and Cassandra Clare.

This list is far from exhaustive, so make sure to add your own under-the-radar recommendations in the comments. And don't forget to add what catches your eye to your Want to Read shelf!


If you love Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series
(or epic fantasies featuring swords, sorcery, and kingdoms in peril)…

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If you love John Green's The Fault in Our Stars
(or tear-inducing contemporary fiction about catharsis and self-discovery)…

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If you love Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy
(or thrilling sci-fi with dystopian regimes and terrifying tech)…

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If you love Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before
(or tender romances with humor, drama, and "adorkable" mishaps)…

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If you love Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series
(or urban fantasies with paranormal activity in modern-day cities)…

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What's your favorite under-the-radar YA novel? Share it with us in the comments!


Comments Showing 1-50 of 105 (105 new)


message 1: by Sammm [involuntarily somewhat on hiatus] (last edited Jul 30, 2018 12:22AM) (new)

Sammm [involuntarily somewhat on hiatus] IDK about other people, but as I type this reply, Forsaken (The Demon Trappers, #1) by Jana Oliver 's average rating is 3.99, while close, hardly fair, is it, to be on this list, when you clearly stated a minimum four-star rating.

Well, speaking of hidden gems, The Outs by E.S. Wesley .


message 2: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Y'all forgot the best YA book other than MAYBE Ender's Game that I've ever read (and yes, I've read HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT, among many others):

Jeremy Robinson's THE LAST HUNTER The Last Hunter: Collected Edition


message 3: by Katsuro (new)

Katsuro Ricksand Cynthia Voigt's trilogy about the Tillerman siblings is my all-time favorite YA series. Written in a time when being filmable and ovetly melodramatic wasn't the main point of YA fiction.
(Yes, I'm bitter. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some clouds to go yell at.)


message 4: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Jaye A lot of these are pretty popular books with thousands of ratings, I don't see how they count as hidden gems.


message 5: by Oda Renate (new)

Oda Renate Demon trappers daughter is so good. I would add guardians of time by marianne curley. Dreaming anastasia by joy preble.


message 6: by Erin (new)

Erin Spock The Tremblers is a hidden gem, for sure. YA steampunk, post-apocalyptic/post-Civil War USA, zombie-esque adventure with romantic elements. It begs for representation in a cos-play event.


message 7: by Elaine (new)

Elaine FYI, the page link for The Way I Used to Be takes you to the wrong book. :)


message 8: by Leo (new)

Leo Dang, all of these books look so good...


message 9: by Lexie (new)

Lexie Six of Crows needs to be on here!


message 10: by Ines (new)

Ines IBRAHIM Air awakens is a real hidden gem! Loved it!


message 11: by Elias (new)

Elias Love that you said Throne of Glass OR epic fantasies featuring swords, sorcery and kingdoms in peril.

Because Throne of Glass does not fit that description and is actually a frothy romance novel in a fantasy mask.


message 12: by Elias (last edited Aug 01, 2018 07:27AM) (new)


message 13: by Leo (new)

Leo Elias wrote: "Love that you said Throne of Glass OR epic fantasies featuring swords, sorcery and kingdoms in peril.

Because Throne of Glass does not fit that description and is actually a frothy romance novel i..."


I agree!


message 14: by Mary-Faith (last edited Jul 31, 2018 08:10AM) (new)


message 15: by Aurora (new)

Aurora Before reading Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima it would help to read her Seven Realms series, starting with The Demon King. It is set in the same world and provides some background into a few of the characters.
Also Kiss of Deception and The False Prince are some of my favorites! Must read!


Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon Lexie wrote: "Six of Crows needs to be on here!"

Six of Crows is too popular to be considered a hidden gem, it's just a gem


Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon Elias wrote: "Love that you said Throne of Glass OR epic fantasies featuring swords, sorcery and kingdoms in peril.

Because Throne of Glass does not fit that description and is actually a frothy romance novel i..."


Dear SJM, apply cold water to area of burn 🔥


Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon Even on this list The Epic Crush of Genie Lo doesn't make it 😞 does anyone even know it exists?


message 19: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Several years ago, I picked up this book in the library on a whim and was blown away. It's like a sci-fi YA novel written by George Saunders.

Feed


message 20: by Chandhanaa (new)

Chandhanaa S Truthwitch
And I Darken
Ruined

They are all hidden gems and more people need to read it so they can cry with me.


message 21: by Amber (new)

Amber The chronicles of Nick series is awesome and so is the Finisher series by David Baldacci.


message 22: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Relentless Series by Karen Lynch


message 23: by Sana (new)

Sana Not all of these are hidden gems but actually very popular books especially for people who are YA superfans. I'd recommend Katrina Leno's books like The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno , Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno and Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno . Also, The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is a real hidden gem as well.


message 24: by ローレン (new)

ローレン YEEESSSS!!! I want to read all of them!


message 25: by ローレン (new)

ローレン I need to read these at some point.


message 26: by Nana (new)

Nana Hidden gem? Try the Rephaim series by Paula Weston. My absolute favourite at the moment Shadows


message 27: by Yusra (new)

Yusra  ✨ The Agony of Bun O'Keefe a true hidden gem for lovers of contemporary


message 28: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Katsuro wrote: “Cynthia Voigt’s trilogy about the Tillerman siblings is my all-time favorite YA series. Written in a time when being filmable and ovetly melodramatic wasn’t the main point of YA fiction.
(Yes, I’m …”


That’s a very powerful series!


message 29: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Try the Michael Vey series (Richard Paul Evans) for superb YA. Also check out Garth Nix and Jonathan Stroud.


message 30: by Anne (new)

Anne Maya's Magical Adventures - a new series of magical comedy adventures by Malcolm McCoard following a young Scottish girl who with some dubious help from her forgetful cat discover a magical realm. Unusual word play, humour and plot twists abound. The sequel is an emotional roller coaster - heart warming, funny and a bit of a tear jerker. Purple dragonfly YA winner 2017 so worth checking out. Check them out in the what to read after Harry Potter list.


message 31: by Yusra (new)

Yusra  ✨ Chandhanaa wrote: "Truthwitch
And I Darken
Ruined

They are all hidden gems and more people need to read it so they can cry with me."



GIRL YES


message 32: by Alex (new)

Alex Vodník, Insignia, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and In Other Lands are all books I would add to this list. Maybe not all of them are completely unknown, but "The Novice" has more ratings than all of them, so that's why I've included them.


message 33: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Picture Us in the Light
The Crown's Game
Scythe
Hidden gems that other people need to read, they're just that amazing. It's upsetting to find out that no one knows about them.


message 34: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Biggest and bestest YA hidden gem: The Wee Free Men
I've never seen anybody reading or talking about it and yet it's in my top 5 all time favorites. It's so funny and Pratchett was such a gifted writer. If you love the British sense of humor mixed with the epicness of Tolkien, you'll love this.


message 35: by Clare (new)

Clare Because Everything Is Right but Everything Is Wrong

A debut by a young New Zealand author. You can't get much more under the radar than that. This gem belongs in the tear-inducing self-discovery list.


message 36: by ❄Elsa Frost❄ (new)

❄Elsa Frost❄ Sammm wrote: "IDK about other people, but as I type this reply, Forsaken (The Demon Trappers, #1) by Jana Oliver's average rating is 3.99, while close, hardly fair, is it, to be on this list, when you clearly stated a minimum four-star rat..."

Ooo, good catch!


message 37: by b.andherbooks (new)

b.andherbooks Oh my, I HAVE to recommend Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen! Three books in the series, a excellent slow-burn romance, and who doesn't love Robin Hood?!


message 38: by Kerri (new)

Kerri Elias wrote: "Love that you said Throne of Glass OR epic fantasies featuring swords, sorcery and kingdoms in peril.

Because Throne of Glass does not fit that description and is actually a frothy romance novel i..."


Haha, thank you. That series was cringe worthy


message 39: by Gieliza (new)

Gieliza The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver should be on here. It's such a well-written series but sadly underrated.


message 40: by Helen (new)

Helen S. I love whoever made this so much. I need to make you an apple pie. Like this is exactly what I needed because the cliches in YA are making me not even want to read any books from the genre anymore, and this is exactly what I need to get back to what I love! Thank you for being a genius.


Colleen's Conclusions Helen wrote: "I love whoever made this so much. I need to make you an apple pie. Like this is exactly what I needed because the cliches in YA are making me not even want to read any books from the genre anymore,..."

I super agree with The Start of Me and You. Emery Lord is just a hidden gem of an author in general. She's another contemporary Queen like Kasie West, Meg Cabot and Sarah Dessen.


message 42: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Elias wrote: “Love that you said Throne of Glass OR epic fantasies featuring swords, sorcery and kingdoms in peril.

Because Throne of Glass does not fit that description and is actually a frothy romance novel i…”


Yes it is! Thank you.


message 43: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Hmmmm...

If you like feminist themes in YA, focused on issues of sexual assault::
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed Asking For It by Louise O'Neill The List by Siobhan Vivian

Here's a retelling of Snow White and The Snow Queen that is LGBTQ friendly: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust


message 44: by Sea (new)

Sea Reads Wolf by Wolf
I'm not sure how it took me so long to find this book but wow did I love it! Of the above categories, it would fall under "For fans of The Hunger Games."

A tightly-plotted alternate history where Germany won WWII and a Jewish girl who survived the Holocaust enters a cross-continental motorcycle race to win a meeting with Hitler--so she can assassinate him.


message 45: by Sreetama (new)

Sreetama Pal Lindsay Buroker's Emperor's Edge series is my personal YA hidden gem. Crisply written with strong, humane and weirdly witty women leads, these books are a treat to read. Every. Single. Time. The Emperor's Edge Collection (The Emperor's Edge, #1-3) by Lindsay Buroker


message 46: by Chainpuppet (last edited Aug 01, 2018 05:09AM) (new)

Chainpuppet Urban Fantasies
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (Dead Things, #1) by Martina McAtee


Dystopias/sci-fi
Frost (The Frost Chronicles, #1) by Kate Avery Ellison
Amber Sky (C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass, #1) by Claire Warner
Gathering Frost (Once Upon a Curse, #1) by Kaitlyn Davis
Artificial Absolutes (Jane Colt, #1) by Mary Fan

Fantasy
Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
Winter Queen (Fairy Queens, #1) by Amber Argyle
Summer Queen (Fairy Queens, #2) by Amber Argyle


message 47: by Shizuku (new)

Shizuku The False Prince
Imperial Spy
The Glass Swallow
A Face Like Glass
Barefoot on the Wind
Howl's Moving Castle
The Witching hour
Gullstruck Island
Listen to the Moon
Allies and Assassins
And my absolute favourite... The Beast Player! READ IT if you love japanese fantasy tales!


message 48: by Elias (new)

Elias Audrey wrote: "Try the Michael Vey series (Richard Paul Evans) for superb YA. Also check out Garth Nix and Jonathan Stroud."

Nix and Stroud are two of the greatest.


message 49: by Elias (new)

Elias Shizuku wrote: "The False Prince
Imperial Spy
The Glass Swallow
A Face Like Glass
Barefoot on the Wind
Howl's Moving Castle
The Witching hour
Gullstruck Island
Listen to the Moon
Allies and Assassins
And my absolu..."


The False Prince, Howl's Moving Castle and especially A Face Like Glass are genius.


message 50: by Elias (new)

Elias Frank wrote: "Elias wrote: "Love that you said Throne of Glass OR epic fantasies featuring swords, sorcery and kingdoms in peril.

Because Throne of Glass does not fit that description and is actually a frothy r..."


The sad thing is that I actually know SJM and she's a lovely person. Even if she did murder YA fantasy with a blunted sword. But thanks for the reply! I work hard on my witty retorts.


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