Favorite Underrated Books

Francesca Lia Block has charmed and amazed young audiences with tales of the mystical and ethereal. This outstanding story is no different. Following the life of Echo, an L.A. baby born to an artistic dad and a mom who’s an angel, this enthralling story offers more than fairy dust and the supernatural. It tells the tale of a girl who feels doomed to be less than angelic, at least in comparison with her mother. Mom’s startling beauty and aura enchant all who meet her, and Echo can never keep up. Desperate to be loved as much, and maybe find her own identity, she escapes to the boys in her life. Ultimately, she must rely on herself for the strength to survive.

Simple text and story lines do not appeal to Block, who weaves a tale with amazing grace and the flowing energy of a true genius. Images of vampires, ghosts, and fairies fill these pages, daring the reader to believe. Told from the point of view of Echo and the key players in her life, the story imparts a dreamlike quality to Echo’s life. This a novel layered with pain beauty, and triumph, all which will appeal to young readers.

 

 

 

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

 

From the New York Times best-selling author of The DovekeepersAlice Hoffman is at her haunting, thought-provoking best with these interconnected stories about a Long Island family, the Samuelsons, and the lessons in survival and transformation that life brings to every family…

 

 

 

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

 

 

 

Stella Parrish is seventeen, attractive, smart, deeply alienated, and unable to countenance life’s absurdities. She is not nihilistic; she is prematurely exhausted. Since her parents OD’d on designer drugs when she was eleven, she has lived with well-meaning but inexperienced foster parents, while her grandfather, her only living relative, tries ever more ingenious ways of committing suicide in his retirement home. Here are the last two weeks of Stella’s senior year in Orange County, California: the intensive AP final exams; the childish, celebratory trips; the totemic importance attached to graduation. Beneath Stella’s mordantly funny take on her life is the decisiveness with which she disengages from it, planting clues and providing explanations for those who will try to understand the act she is about to commit. With perfect pitch, remarkable wit, and a spare, vivid prose, Stella turns her farewell to suburbia into a wry philosophical inquiry.

One thought on “Favorite Underrated Books

  1. I haven’t read Francesca Lia Block’s books in a long time, but I remember a time when I read them all as soon as I could get my hands on them. They were so unique and beautiful. I don’t think I own them all right now, but I feel like a reread is in order. Have you read the Weetzie Bat books? I remember those being especially off the wall, but in a good way?

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