Top 12 Underrated Novels You Should Read


Have you ever read a great book, only to find out that very few people have heard of it? Reese Witherspoon will probably never recommend the book and Steven Spielberg will certainly not adapt it into a film. In other words, your great discovery is underrated.

It’s frustrating to see great books wilt under the overgrown shade of overrated best-sellers. For every book that has sold a million copies, there are dozens of underrated books that barely caught the attention of the reading public. I would like to shine a light on some of them.

All of the novels listed below are literary. “Origin” and “The Goodlife” are also considered suspense. “Kapitoil” and “Personal Days” have two things in common. They are set in a New York workplace and they are both hilarious. I’m partial to historical fiction—five out of these 12 books are historical novels.

These books received great reviews when they were first released and they deserve a wider audience. If you like literary fiction, you should check them out.

Top 12 Underrated Literary Novels

#1 “Your Face in Mine” by Jess Row, Riverhead Books, 2014

#2 “The Piano Tuner” by Daniel Mason, Vintage, 2003


#3 “The Good Thief” by Hannah Tinti, Random House, 2009

#4 “Origin” by Diana Abu Jaber, Norton, 2007

#5 “Kapitoil” by Teddy Wayne, HarperCollins, 2010

#6 “Personal Days” by Ed Park, Random House, 2008

#7 “The Cradle” by Patrick Sommervile, Little, Brown & Co., 2010

#8 “Woodsburner” by John Pipkin, Knopf Doubleday, 2010

#9 “The Goodlife” by Keith Scribner, Penguin Group, 2000

#10 “The Typist “by Michael Knight, Grove/Atlantic, 2011

#11 “The Promise” by Ann Weisgarber,  Skyhorse Publishing, 2014

#12 “Other Women’s Children” by Perri Klass, Random House, 1990

Note: This post, first published on my old blog on Sept. 25, 2015, has been updated from a list of 10 to 12 books.