My Top 7 Under-Hyped Books of 2018

I love a ton of books. You might have noticed, that I tend to be a fairly generous reviewer. It feels like most of everything I read is a 4 or 5-star read. Which means I have tons and tons of favorite books.

When it comes to my fav 2018 reads, there’s a long list. I love many hyped books, but I’m also a huge fan of some rather under-hyped 2018 releases.

So, that’s what today’s post is ALL about! My favorite under-hyped books of 2018!

Darius the Great is Not Okay

I’m actually kind of surprised this book isn’t hyped more? It’s absolutely loveable and one of the best contemporary books I’ve EVER read. Really.

This book is about Darius, who is half Persian and lives in the American Northwest. When Darius’ family decides to visit his Persian relatives for the first time in Darius’ life, he immediately worries about how he’ll adjust to his new family. Not to mention, he also has clinical depression, a medication that makes him overweight, and a strained relationship with his dad.

This story really isn’t about a flashy plot – it’s about real relationships, family and friends and yourself. I loved reading Darius the Great is Not Okay, it was like enveloping my soul in a warm hug.

ALSO, Darius loves making tea!!!

Heart of Iron

I mean, look at this cover! It’s gorgeous!

Seriously, this story is SO FUN! It’s Anastasia set in space, do I need to say more?

Also, I really, really like one of the main characters, Robb. He reminded me of a certain character from Westeros, so when I met Ashley Poston, I might have asked if he was at ALL inspired by my favorite Stark! And, I guessed correctly!

Besides the absolutely adorable Robb, this story is effortlessly diverse, has some great plot twists, and has a stunning sequel coming out in 2019. Please, let’s hype this series more!

A Thousand Perfect Notes

Oh, this is the sweetest contemporary. I loved this debut, and everyone needs to really hype ATPN. And go buy CG Drews next book, The Boy Who Sells Houses.

This is a contemporary Beethoven retelling? So entirely full of lovely piano music and lots of intense emotions. I devoured this story in one afternoon, and it made me happy and heartbroken, and definitely want some cake.

I mean, if the book makes you want cake, it’s the best, right?

Tyler Johnson was Here

Did you enjoy The Hate U Give or Dear Martin? Then you’ll LOVE Tyler Johnson was Here. This story is rather short but packs a major emotional punch.

This is the story of Marvin Johnson, whose twin brother Tyler, goes missing. Marvin does everything to try to bring his brother home, and this book showcases the awful reality of life for black teenagers in America. It’s gut-wrenching and made me want to scream.

But more important than making me want to scream, it helps me, a privileged American voter, see life from another perspective. And hopefully, vote for people who will help implement policies that will help overcome systematic racism.

Girl Made of Stars

What a read this book is! I made the “mistake” of reading this in public and had to work SO HARD to not burst into tears. It’s just so realistic and well-written. 

This story is about Mara and a horrible, horrible event that completely shakes up her life. When her best friend, Hannah, accuses Mara’s twin brother of assault, Mara’s life is turned upside down. Mara wants to believe her friend, but that means believing her own twin is a rapist.

Girl Made of Stars engages in so many conversations regarding the #metoo movement and your own healing process. Sometimes, I really struggle reading books with any mention of assault beause of my own life history. But the way this story discussed assault was very healthy, and highlighted good conversations about mental health, victim blaming and assualt.

I deeply loved this story, and it should be hyped more. 

American Panda

Gloria Chao just shared the paperback cover, and I’m in LOVE!

Okay, the last few books I mentioned were really serious? But this story is SO FUN!!!! I loved this book, it was a great light-hearted book to read in February, aka the month when winter won’t go away.

American Panda is about 17-year-old Mei, who’s skipped her senior year of high school to enroll at MIT. Talk about overachieving! Mei is struggling to find the balance between her demanding Chinese parents, and her own dreams. When her parents demand she stop talking to her brother and study medicine, she has to decide who to listen to – her parents or herself.

American Panda is an own voices debut novel. It’s funny, poignant and feels incredibly real. Definitely needs lots of hype! 

Monday’s Not Coming

Apparently, I’m a big fan of emotional, tear-jerker books, because Monday’s Not Coming definitely qualifies. This is a book I could not put down, and I thought about it for days after finishing it. This entire story just haunted me.

Claudia’s best friend is missing – and no one seems to care. Her phone doesn’t work, she’s not registered at school, and no one has seen her for weeks. The police don’t seem to care, and no one seems to be able to help find her.

I think that’s all I can say? This book had a lot of plot twists and is deeply emotional. 10/10 recommend.

I’m sure there are plenty of other 2019 books that need some hype, but these are my top favorites I’d love to see hyped more!!! Someone on Instagram mentioned that a lot of best of the year lists tend to mention that same books.

I don’t tend to pay attention to those kinds of lists, and this isn’t my best of the year lists – but I wanted to talk about some books that haven’t shown up on a lot of lists! 

Also, I’m publishing while on a road trip, so yay for sitting in the backseat and typing. Also, blame my parents for asking me to drive and so this blog post is pretty late 😉

lets chatHave you read any of my to-hype more fav books? What 2018 books do you want to hype more? Any 2019 upcoming books you think deserve hype?

Are you traveling for the holidays? If so, how in the WORLD do you keep blogging and traveling?




  1. emmareadstoomuch
    December 22, 2018 / 12:44 am

    ooh i love this post, i love underrated book recs, and i love the other cover for American Panda??? so much prettier than the original. also can’t believe i haven’t gotten to Cait’s book yet!!

    • December 25, 2018 / 9:52 pm

      Oh, Emma, I’m surprised that you have’t read ATPN yet! And I loved the first cover for American Panda, but this one is just gorgeous!

  2. Brianna
    December 22, 2018 / 3:36 am

    Oooh I really want to read Darius the Great is Not Okay! I’ve seen it around a couple times but haven’t added it to my TBR yet. I’m going to do that rn!! love this post Liz❤️❤️❤️

    • December 25, 2018 / 9:54 pm

      Ah, thanks, Brianna! And yes, I hope you love Darius the Great is Not Okay!!!

  3. December 22, 2018 / 4:07 am

    I need to read Tyler Johnson was here. Hopefully Santa thinks I have been good this year!
    I read and loved loved loved Autoboyography by Christina Lauren but have sadly not seen that many reviews of it!

    • December 25, 2018 / 9:55 pm

      I hope Santa brought you some great gifts, especially books! I want to read Autoboyography, but my library doesn’t have it right now 😭

  4. December 22, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    Ooh I love this post! I want to read Darius the Great is Not Okay so I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. I haven’t heard many people talk about it.

    • December 25, 2018 / 9:58 pm

      I wish more people were talking about it, because it’s such a GOOD BOOK!

  5. December 22, 2018 / 11:35 pm

    Yess I love this list so much!! I definitely need to get around to reading Tyler Johnson Was Here and American Panda (whose paper back cover I am in love with!) But I agree wholeheartedly with Girl Made of Stars and Darius the Great is Not Okay being on this list — you know that I love those two books very much and I truly believe they deserve more hype!!

    • December 25, 2018 / 9:51 pm

      Isn’t the American Panda cover the cutest??? 😍 Tyler Johnson was Here is a heartbreaking read, but very good!

  6. CG @ Paper Fury
    December 24, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    omg I’m so so honoured to be included here *happy tears* DAY IS ABSOLUTELY MADE RIGHT NOW. And totally agree about Tyler Johnson (I actually don’t get why it’s not more hyped?!) and I have Darius the Great and American Panda on my TBR so hopefully I will get to them next year. Somehow I read a ton of books this year and am still behind 😂

    • December 25, 2018 / 9:49 pm

      Oh, ATPN deserves ALL the BEST LISTS! I hope you get to read American Panda and Darius the Great soon! They’re both so lovely!!!

  7. December 25, 2018 / 1:35 pm

    This is such a great post and thank you for highlighting these underrated reads, I love this list! I really, really want to read Darius The Great, it sounds like a book I’d adore and I can’t wait to get a copy at some point 😀 I loved A Thousand Perfect Notes SO much as well! 😀

    • December 25, 2018 / 9:48 pm

      Oh, Marie, I’m so sure you’ll love Darius the Great, it’s such a sweet read! ATPN was an amazing book!

  8. December 27, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    Great list! I still need to read A Thousand Perfect Notes! It sounds amazing!

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