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49 Underrated Books You Really Need To Read

Under-read, overlooked, and forgotten books that everyone will love.

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We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us books they loved that everyone should read. Here are some of the responses.

@wordsbydan I HAVE SO MANY BUT frances and bernard: most perfect epistolary novel of love affair between 2 1950s poets. Pure magic

4. The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers

"Not only the heftiest book I've ever read, but is by far, the craziest book, too. It is so utterly random, bonkers, and mind-bogglingly imaginative, yet, at the same time, it manages to maintain a genuinely intriguing plot line. If anything sums it up, its the review on its cover which describes Moers as 'JK Rowling on ecstasy'. If that doesn't make you wanna read it, I don't know what will. Oh, it's also full of kick-ass illustrations." – bethw487376fce

5. Anthropology of an American Girl by Hillary Thayer Hamman

"Coming of age story set in Long Island in the 1970s. Certain passages from this book changed my world." – Korrie Ann, Facebook

@wordsbydan children's book. McBroom's Wonderful One Acre Farm. No one has ever heard of it, and it's so weird and wonderful.

7. The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx

"This book literally changed my life – I started listening to a different kind of music, playing electric guitar, found out more about the background... It really is more than just complaints of some junkie." – Klára Repková, Facebook

8. Phantom by Susan Kay

"It's the story of Erik, who later becomes the Phantom of the Opera. There are some seriously heart-wrenching moments that made my cry. The story is so well written, with a lot of twists and turns along his journey, and the ending is both beautiful and satisfying. I highly recommend it!" – Amber Rodriguez, Facebook

9. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

"There's three or four different story lines, all about one bottle of perfume, that you can't ever see connecting and interweaving, and the way they do is amazing. I read it once every couple of years, and it might be my favourite book of all time." – rebekad

@wordsbydan great writing, beyond that lessons of the dust bowl important to remember when thinking about modern agriculture #savethebees

11. The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia

"A book where the characters become self aware, and begin a war with the author who has forgotten about them to deal with his own life. One of the funniest, saddest, most original and beautifully written books I have ever read, with lines like, "What do you call them, the spaces between seconds? I think of you always in those moments." One of those books that leaves you just emotionally gutted after the last page, and dying to talk to someone else who has read it, but sadly I don't know anyone else who has." – amyl42e3dfc0f

14. If You Look For Me, I Am Not Here by Sarayu Srivatsa

"An amazing study on identify, gender, and culture, set in a newly independent India. About an mother who longs for a daughter, gives birth to twins, however the daughter dies. The son, who lived, then struggles being the daughter his mother mourns for, and the son his dad expects." – gabyl4ee99562b

@wordsbydan Beautifully written, funny, bittersweet, great women, stunning descriptions of Scotland. And I have always wanted to be Kirsty.

@wordsbydan I found its portrayal of what it actually feels like to be a 14yo very realistic. Also such a strange & moving story.

17. The Color of Water by James McBride

"In this current climate, this memoir is a fantastic journey of understanding others, developing a sense of empathy and a reminder to love." – emilya17

18. Ida B by Katherine Hannigan

"I read it as a teen and the book was just different in very good way. It was about being kind and different and one of a kind and it was just intriguing to read going through the typical teenage BS. Very underrated." – justinp43a39a760

@wordsbydan @BuzzFeed Momo by Michael Ende. Impressed on me as a child importance of listening & compassion, + the perils of a hurried life.

20. A Word Child by Iris Murdoch

"It's got the strangest collection of characters skulking around 1960s London, the plot whilst quite tragic is funny and ironic. It's the characters that make it so brilliant, they're so vivid and strange, for example a beautiful mysterious ladies maid named Biscuits. It also paints a really beautiful image of post war London, the description of setting is really something else." – rachaeleahcar

21. Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell

"One man's struggle to escape middle class goals. It's full of struggle and emotion. Beautifully written and an Orwell everyone should read." – k4f1333b25

22. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

"It's a children's book but I still love it now in my 30's. It's a mystery novel that I remember working so hard on as a child to try to solve the clues alongside the characters in the book. It captured my curiosity and drive to solve puzzles. It was so much fun!" – tcalvin

24. Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

In Lagos, Nigeria, it's up to a famous rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier to handle humanity's first contact with an alien ambassador. "Refreshingly different" – narnia94

26. The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan

"She's obviously most famous for A Visit from the Good Squad, and I read Circus after falling in love with that. Invisible Circus is a totally stunning book about a young girl who tried to find out what happened to her sister who died in Italy on her gap year 10 years earlier. There's a theme in there of how a part of growing up is realising that the people you love aren't perfect, and treading your own path even if it means becoming a different person to who you thought you'd be. I've recommended it to everyone I know." – JC Morley, Facebook

28. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

"Groff is a wonderful author and I've read everything she has written but this was the first of her books I read and still my favorite. The Monsters of Templeton combines history and narrative so beautifully that she transports you through time while engaging you in an unfolding mystery; a seemingly ancient, mythological creature washed up on the shore of a small typically American town. Throughout the book she not only explores the history of the monster and the town but also the history of the protagonist and the predicament she finds herself in. And she has pictures! Who doesn't like a book with pictures?" – caseym49f6ac970

30. The Solitary by Lynn Hall

"This is the only book I've ever read more than once. Think I got through it 5 or 6 times as a teenager. Jane has had a bit of a traumatic start to life but she leaves it all behind to be self sufficient in an old cabin. Made me realise that you can leave all your crap behind and you'll still be ok on your own. Something I still think about. I don't want to read it again though, incase it's not the same and my teenage hopes were built on falsities." – anna-marien

31. Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

"It's about a lady pirate who kidnaps a fancy chef and makes him cook for her in exchange for his life. Full of daring adventure, gorgeous prose, and definitely some heart-rending romance!" – rachann

32. Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo

Bim Adewunmi

A satirical alternate history of the transatlantic slave trade - in which black Africans colonise the Americas and enslave white Europeans to work the sugar plantations.

33. The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker

"It's a novel about one guy's lunch hour in which he has to go and buy new shoelaces. It's also about everything and nothing, the contents of some guy's brain during a trip up the escalator on the way to the mezzanine. It's full of footnotes. The text is miniscule. Everyone I've loaned it to has hated it." – Hayley Campbell

34. Dead To You by Lisa McCann

"It's about a boy called Ethan who was kidnapped when he was seven years old. Now it's nine years later he's 16 and back with his family try to fit in. This book had me gripped from page to page. It's a book that keeps the shocks coming right till the end." – chelseah34

35. The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell

"It's a series of letters a boy writes to Morrissey, detailing his general life and misadventures. I laughed and laughed and then cried a bit. Absolutely loved it." – susanj4d5f3bd6f

36. Some Boys by Patty Blount

"The book shines a light on victim-shaming in the case of a rape, and it's just something that is really important for people to learn about. It also doesn't hurt that the main character, Grace, is a badass. I keeping going back and re-reading it over and over again." – Tara Ouradnik, Facebook

37. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

"Its the perfect example of, "don't judge a book by its cover".Its about an orphan with a deformity, in a time where that instantly made him an outcast. He went through so much hardship and mistreatment and unrequited love. However, he just kept going! Which taught me so much about perseverance and not letting your shortcomings get the best of you. It's a charming novel and I highly recommend it! :)" – ughnou

38. When She Woke by Hilary Jordan

"It is the futuristic version of The Scarlet Letter set in a dystopian society where there is no longer separation of church and state and Roe v Wade has been overturned. The story follows a woman whose crime is aborting her unborn child and her punishment having her skin turned red to represent murder. I don't think I've ever been more engrossed in a story. When She Woke is particularly relevant today as states continue to create barriers for abortion access and our nation struggles to define religious freedom in the context of the Constitution." – Stephanie Ostroff, Facebook

39. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

"It is heartbreakingly beautiful and I wish I had not read it so I could discover it again. It is a story that plays in two different times and I don't want to spoil anything but it is one the best books I have read in the last ten years." – Sana Sammi, Facebook

40. The Wave by Susan Casey

"Its a nonfiction book, and absolutely amazing. Casey spent years tracking rogue (giant) waves, and interviewed wave scientists, and most excitingly, big wave riders. It's a book that will pull you in right away and won't let you go." – Megan Sutton, Facebook

41. The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

"It's a funny book about a young boy and his family from Michigan. They go visit family in the South in the 60's and experience true racism for the first time. Its an amazing coming of age story about cultural experiences, oppression, and being a family." – andriad2

42. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

"YA novel that is harrowing and heart wrenching. Suspenseful all the way through and absolutely beautiful." – booksandrain

"It will leave you in tears, absolutely fantastic and superbly written!" – Anna Banyas, Facebook

43. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

"I found the book by mistake while looking for another book. It's a satirical comedy about the 32 missing years from the birth of Jesus and when he returns told by his BFF Biff. About the adventures/journey they went through, that ultimate became The Messiah's teaching. It has Adventures, Kung Fu, demons, and sexy women. This book had me laughing the whole time, and the idea that Jesus was just some nerd who can perform magic and Biff is there to "keep an eye" on him, is glorious!! The title alone is intriguing." – jonan3

44. Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill

"This was recommended to me a couple of years ago, and it's just the most funny, clever, heartbreaking book, written as a series of vignettes over the course of a marriage. It's about love, art, parenting, infidelity, and space, and best of all it's short! I've recommended it to everyone and anyone in the last year or so and everyone has loved it." – Dan Dalton

45. The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

"One of the weirdest books I have ever read but the concept is so original and the characters are so interesting that I couldn't put it down. It's definitely a bit confusing but if you stick with it it's a real mind fuck." – loolibye

46. Loot by Jude Watson

"It was fast-paced, interesting, and an all-around great YA mystery-type book. It doesn't get a lot of recognition, but I always recommend it to someone looking for something to read!" – dukepearl1

47. The Eyes Of The Dragon by Stephen King

"The first Stephen King book I ever read. This has ruined other Stephen King books for me (not that I still don't read and love them) because it is so different from the rest. Imagine a medieval murder mystery. Doesn't sound very Stephen King but it's so good! It's a quick read and thoroughly enjoyable." – sarahcritesg

48. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

"It's a lovely story, crossing generations, and tying them together. There's a lost book, a namesake, and two strangers whose lives are inextricably linked. It also has the most romantic quote I've ever read. "Her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering." No one I know has read it, and I haven't had any luck convincing friends to pick it up." – natalieg4c7885913

"This book changed my life. It is a book within a book within a book. It revolves around a novel called The History of Love written by one man, but was later published by another man, and later translated by a mother whose life was changed by the novel. I have read it so many times that the pages have turned soft and I've never read a book that really had… "the words for everything."" – ssilverman7

49. Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

"I had read his more well known novel Slaughterhouse 5 and loved it but this book is astonishing. It's complex and engaging and one of my favourite science fiction books at the moment! Definitely a fantastic read for all sci-fi lovers!" – mollyeastol

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Got a favourite under read book that isn't listed here? Leave a comment and let people know about it!

Also: Just because you've read one of these doesn't mean everyone has. Stay classy. Yay books!

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