Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Authors aka People You Really Ought To Read

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in X genre.


I do not have a specific genre but I do have some authors that I can think should be read much more widely than they are.

  1. Alison Croggon
    She wrote one of my favourite fantasy series ever: The Songs of Pellinor. Her writing is excellent and her plotting is even better. More people need to know and love her geniusoity.
  2. Kersten Hamilton
    Hamilton has written The Goblin Wars trilogy and it’s such a perfect union between humour and mythology that I want everyone to read the books.
  3. Kat Beyer
    Beyer’s The Demon Catcher of Milan is the only book I have read that paid so much attention to family dynamics. It just gave me a warm feeling even though demons were involved. Scary non-sparkling demons.
  4. Holly Smale
    Smale writes The Geek Girl series and it’s just fun. The kind of thing you would pick up and read to make yourself smile. More people need to smile in this grumpy world (obviously) so more people need to read her books.


Okay, so, Nafiza’s mission is accomplished with that list. *whispers shamefully* I haven’t heard of a single one of those authors/books. *ahem* Here are mine. I don’t know that they’re underrated. Some of them are even award-winning, but I feel like they can stand to be more beloved by the mainstream.



  1. David Almond (Magic Realism + Fantasy for MG readers): SkelligMy Name is MinaThe True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean.
  2. Alan Garner (Fantasy + Folklore/Fairytales for MG/YA readers): The Owl ServiceA Bag of Moonshine.
  3. Kyo Maclear (Picturebooks for all ages): SporkVirginia WolfJulia, Child.
  4. Dan Bar-El (Picturebooks for all ages): DreamboatsA Fish Named Glub.
  5. Rachel Hartman (Fantasy for YA readers): Seraphina.


No particular genre.

  1. In a Mirror by Mary Stolz. I don’t know of anyone else who has read it (okay, it was published in 1953), nor have I found anything else by Stolz. In a Mirror features female friendship and rivalry, attraction and unrequited passion, and a protagonist who is striving as a writer, and striving to act instead of only observe.
  2. A Child’s Anthology of Poetry ed. Elizabeth Hauge Sword with Victoria Flournoy McCarthy. The poems in here range in length from very short to “The Highwayman.” The material and subject choice ranges from playful to metaphysical to dark. Most of the poems are by Western authors who are alive or died less than a hundred years ago, but there are quite a few very lovely exceptions.
  3. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. I do know people (ahem, all my fellow Book Warriors) who have read this book. For which they should thank me 🙂 Jones’s Tough Guide should be required reading for fantasy writers, whether their media is the novel, poem, screenplay, RPG, or anything else that incorporates fantasy tropes. Seriously.
  4. Ellis PetersGeorge and Dominic Felse mysteries. Yes, they’re formulaic and the women tend to be sidelined and they’re just not of the same fine quality as Rachel Hartman or David Almond’s writing is. What Peters does really well (her name is really Edith Pargeter, by the way) is incorporate music into the texts: music, both tune and lyrics, is woven inextricably into every tale. Peters/Pargeter really knows her music, and her characters often have the same easy knowledge, whether this appears as characters understanding other characters because their behaviour is so close to someone from a Scottish ballad, or deliberately managing events to echo German folksongs-turned-classical repertoire.
  5. Laurence Yep’s books about the experiences of Chinese-Americans. I particularly like Dragon’s Gate.
  6. Brian Jacques’s Redwall saga.
  7. Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming by Rachel Hartman. Also, “Merry Pedroolia.”


I second Alison Croggan! I love Pellinor.

  1. Arthur Slade who has written so much more than The Hunchback Chronicles. He won the GG in 2002 for the amazing book Dust, he has written a ghostly series which I quite admire called the Northern Frights series (ok… no points for cheesiness…). Honestly, this guy is excellent at thrills and chills and the uncanny! AND! He’s Canadian!
  2. Suzy Lee and her AMAZING picturebooks. I have probably said this before – they are absolutely fabulous.
  3. Joan Aiken dare I say she is a classic? Her book The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (and sequels) were some of my faves as a kid. They are full of darkness and adventure and injustice to children who in the end get their justice! It’s a wonderful series, and she has many more books to explore too, and I don’t see it often enough on shelves.
  4. Suzanne Collins now obviously she isn’t little known BUT her earlier works, like Gregor the Overlander which I quite liked are. So, if you like The Hunger Games try out her other books. Gregor is for a slightly younger audience, but it is a very nicely plotted series with compelling characters. It tackles large issues like racism very defly – I highly recommend it.
  5. Neal Shusterman this man sends chills down my spine in half a sentence. He has written many a book – and I recommend them all, but of course Unwind and it’s sequels… awesome.
  6. Witch and Wombat by Carolyn Cushman. I don’t know why but my mind always comes back to this book – it is in the same vein as Diana Wynne Jones’ Fantasyland but I just so thoroughly enjoy this read with it’s quirky characters and hilarious fantasy trope reversals. I recommend it. 🙂