Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gem Books I've Read in the Past Year Or So

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here at We Live and Breathe Books, two of us choose five books each week. This weeks topic is...

Hidden gem books I've read in the past year or so!

Kiersten's Picks

S.J. Goslee
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Whatever. is a really fun coming of age story about a boy who realizes he is gay (or bisexual, I'm not entirely sure what he lands upon in the end). The story is filled with humor and the awkwardness of being a high school student, and just feels really honest - I felt like I could have known these characters in high school. For more thoughts, check out my review here!

Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies
Laura Stampler
Publisher: Simon Pulse

This book had a really similar vibe to Jane by Design, True Jackson VP, and The Carrie Diaries - all television shows that I really loved. The concept of this book was super cute, the cast of characters had such a wide variety of personality, and the book was generally non-stop fun. Check out my full review here!

The Museum of Heartbreak
Meg Leder
Publisher: Simon Pulse

The Museum of Heartbreak was such a sweet and heartfelt book. I really liked the main character and how much she grew throughout the book - she starts out so naive and has to struggle through her coming-of-age story. I loved how this book touched on several different kinds of heartbreak rather than just a romantic one. For more thoughts, check out my review here!

Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Scythe was absolutely phenomenal. While the concept of reapers isn't an original one, the way Shusterman took the reaper concept and combined it with the idea of immortality was absolutely brilliant. This book was a wild ride, but it also made me really think about life and what is important. Review to come soon!

The Graces
Laura Eve
Series: The Graces, #1
Publisher: Amulet Books

I talk about this book and witch books A Lot but only because I think they're really great ok let me live. This book had a really mystical vibe that I can't really explain - it kind of made me feel like I was in the song Nearly Witches by Panic! at the Disco (which is on the playlist I made inspired by the book). Full review and playlist to be posted soon!

Sam's Picks

Hidden gems is an idiom which means something which is extremely outstanding and not many people may know about
Using the definition above, I went through my read shelf trying to identify those books that I considered gems. This was a really difficult list to compile. There were so many books I read last year, which I think deserve more love. I eventually settled on the five below. These were five star reads for me, and all were 2016 releases except Dahlia Moss, which was a 2015 release, but is being released in paperback format next month.

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Max Wirestone
Publisher: Redhook

This book was so much fun. I laughed so hard and so often, my face hurt. Dahlia Moss is a geeky Veronica Mars, who is hired to find a stolen spear. It’s not a real spear though. It’s a spear that was stolen within an online game. However, the crimes from inside the game soon spill from the virtual world to the real world. This was a hilarious trip through geek culture, and I loved every minute of it. (review)

Don't Get Caught
Kurt Dinan
Publisher: Sourcebooks

I have seen several hybrids thrown around to describe this book - Breakfast Club meets Goonies and Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven probably come closest to the feel of this book. In this story, five people from different social cliques come together for revenge. There are mysteries, pranks and lots of hijinks. I apparently have all the love for amusing books, because this one that was really fun too, and to quote my own review: “You will cheer when the Five succeed, and feel a little bummed when they fail, but man, you will laugh, smile, and fist pump many times along the way.” (review)

Phantom Limbs
Paula Garner
Publisher: Candlewick

All I can say is - Otis. Otis. Otis. Otis. I loved this kid. He was really very special, and I want everyone to read this book and meet Otis. Besides him, there are many other things to love about this book. There is the return of Otis’ first love, who had abruptly excised him from her life, and there’s Darla the promising olympian, who’s career was cut short when she lost her arm. There are the multiple meanings of the term Phantom Limb, which I gleaned from this story and left such a huge impression on me. I have nothing but love for this book. (review)

It's Not Me, It's You
Stephanie Kate Strohm
Publisher: Point

Another book that left me in stitches. Avery is charged with collecting an oral history for her final project, and decides to do one based on her disastrous love life. The oral history format allowed for so many POVs without being overwhelming, and the editor's notes always left me laughing. There were many times I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. But this book was more than funny, it was charming and sweet and I just cannot say enough about it. (review)

We Are Still Tornadoes
Michael Kun and Susan Mullen
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Talk about #FriendshipGoals. This is an epistolary novel chronicling Cath and Scott’s first year out of high school. Cath went away to college, while Scott joined his father in the family business. As they keep in touch via these letters, their friendship grows and changes. I just had so many feels! Cute, charming, heartwarming, swoony — there are not enough adjectives available to me. (review)

What are some hidden gems you read last year?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I haven't read any of these, but a bunch of them are on my TBR! Especially Scythe and Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies - I meant to get to both of those in 2016, but I just didn't have the time. Hopefully this year!

    1. Little Black dresses was so much fun!! (I loved this one too, but didn't want to overlap with Kiersten).

  2. Great list! I haven't read any of these. But I have heard of Scythe.

  3. Gah I haven't read any of these but own Little Black Dresses and Don't Get Caught. I really want to read We are Still Tornadoes. Great list!

    1. Yes! Read them! They are great =) And I am here getting all goose-bumpy thinking about We are Still Tornadoes.

  4. I ADORE Shusterman and agree that Scythe was amazing! I have Phantom Limbs from BEA, but I haven't managed to read it yet. This encourages me to pick it up!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. There was just something so special about Phantom Limbs.