#UnderHypedReads: Recommendations

As promised, I’ve put together some of my favourite books that meet the criteria for the Under-Hyped Readathon, in case anyone is struggling to find things to read. 🙂 It was a pretty tough list to narrow down, but I did eventually manage to pick out just five!

Alison Uttley//A Traveller in TimeA Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley. My favourite book! (Or one of them, at least.) While visiting her relatives in the country, a girl called Penelope finds herself slipping back and forth in time, and winds up getting involved in a 16th century plot to put Mary Queen of Scots to the throne of England.

Tim Bowler//StarseekerStarseeker by Tim Bowler. The tale of a talented young pianist, who, after his father’s death, becomes involved in a gang. Hoping to find something valuable to steal, he breaks into an old woman’s house one day, but what he actually finds is her granddaughter, locked in an attic room. What follows is an extremely powerful story of friendship, loss and grief.

David Almond//Heaven EyesHeaven Eyes by David Almond. A wonderful (though short) story about a group of children who escape from their orphanage on a raft, only to get stuck in a bog further down the river. There they meet the mysterious Heaven Eyes and Grampa, who are both searching for saints, preserved in the mud. Skellig is probably David Almond’s best-known novel, but Heaven Eyes is definitely my favourite.

Essie Fox//Elijah's MermaidElijah’s Mermaid by Essie Fox. A romantic mystery (or should it be mysterious romance?) novel set in Victorian times, and featuring no actual mermaids. The story follows three main characters: The twins, Elijah and Lily, and a strange girl called Pearl, who was pulled out of the river as a baby and raised in a brothel. A very atmospheric read, full of secrets and scandal.

Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark//Backward Compatible

Backward Compatible by Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark. A romance novel involving two gamers, who meet at the midnight launch of a game they’ve been really excited for. By the time they get to the front of the queue, though, there’s only one copy left! 😮 Which one of them gets to take it home?! 😛 Cute, quirky and hilarious; what more could I ask for?

11 of the best books for children

The BBC recently came out with a list of the 11 greatest children’s books, as chosen by critics… And it’s an interesting article, but not one that I necessarily agreed with. For instance, I’m sure a lot of people remember Little Women fondly, but I personally found it unreadable when I was a child. And where are the Harry Potter books? So many people my age (myself included) only started reading for pleasure because of them, so surely that should earn them a place on the list! 😦

Anyway, I thought I’d try my hand at making my own list, as a counter to theirs, and I’d really love to hear what you consider to be the best children’s books, too! (And, for the record, when I think of children’s books, I think of the kind of books I would’ve been reading in primary school, so there won’t be any teen books on the list – though I know that, technically, they still count…)

Lemony Snicket//The Bad Beginning11) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

An incredibly creative series of books about a trio of orphans trying to solve the mystery of their parents’ deaths, whilst simultaneously being pursued by their distant cousin, the nefarious Count Olaf, who’s after their inheritance.

Dr. Seuss//Green Eggs & Ham10) Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss

A book that’s most famous for having been written using only 50 words, to settle a bet between Seuss and his publisher over whether it was possible to write a book with so few words. It’s a simple story about somebody who doesn’t like green eggs and ham.

Maurice Sendak//Where the Wild Things Are9) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The story of a boy who, after being sent to bed without supper, finds himself on an island inhabited by monsters, who make him their king. An amazingly-written book, with great, atmospheric illustrations, and themes of anger and growth.

J.R.R. Tolkien//The Hobbit8) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

My favourite book as a child, this tells the story of an ordinary gentlehobbit called Bilbo Baggins, who is manipulated by the wizard Gandalf into going on an adventure with thirteen dwarves, in order to reclaim their homeland from a dragon. Probably one of the best pure adventure books ever written, though some people find Tolkien’s writing prosy.

David Almond//Heaven Eyes7) Heaven Eyes by David Almond

Skellig is the most critically-acclaimed of David Almond’s books, but my favourite has always been Heaven Eyes, which is about a group of friends who escape from their orphanage on a raft, only to find themselves stuck in a bog not too far down the river. They’re rescued by a strange girl called Heaven Eyes, who lives in the boggy island with her grandfather.

Roald Dahl//Matilda6) Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is raised by her abusive parents and brother, and is constantly bullied by the awful Miss Trunchbull, the headteacher at her school. But through her own wits, she manages to forge a happy ending for herself and her friend, Miss Honey. A wonderful story about friendship and resourcefulness.

Dick King-Smith//A Mouse Called Wolf5) A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith

There are a lot of Dick King-Smith books I could have chosen, but the one I remember most fondly is A Mouse Called Wolf, which follows the tiny Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse (named for Mozart, naturally), who has a great love for music, and becomes the world’s first singing mouse.

J.K. Rowling//Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone4) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

This series really needs no introduction, as it’s famous worldwide, and for good reason! Reading about all Harry’s adventures is the best kind of escapism, and these books left millions of people wishing for their very own Hogwarts letters.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry//The Little Prince3) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A pilot stranded in the desert meets a prince from a small asteroid, who tells the tale of his travels on different planets, and the people he met on the way. This book is sombre, but incredibly touching, and all about childhood, and the strangeness of grown-ups.

C.S. Lewis//The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe2) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The tale of four siblings, evacuated to the countryside just before the second world war, who find another world by climbing into a wardrobe, and are tasked with saving Narnia from the White Witch. A great story about family, friendship, and loyalty.

Frances Hodgson Burnett//A Little Princess1) A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sara is made to become a servant at her elite boarding school, after her father dies, leaving her with enormous debts to the school, but she is able to make the most of her situation, befriending the school’s other servant girl, as well as, and keeping her spirits up through imagination and storytelling.