Some books are so weird and wonderful you can’t really compare them to anything else. Since they tend to get overlooked, these are some hidden gems you may have missed.
Light From Uncommon Stars has everything you could want and more, all squashed into a single novel. It’s got deals with the devil, aliens running a donut shop, the competitive world of classical music, and one of the strangest and loveliest romances I’ve ever read. It was also my absolute favorite book published in 2021.
From the first page, Gideon the Ninth is completely unexpected and shockingly funny for a book about necromancers. Gideon is snarky, violent, inappropriate, and truly weird, but you can’t help but root for her as the world throws every possible curve ball her way. And under all the bone magic and reanimated corpses, there is a mystery to be solved in the vein of And Then There Were None, which will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.
If you like your protagonists dark and twisty, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is the book for you. The narrator’s seemingly perfect life is so dull and depressing that she needs to take a break. So she decides to find a disreputable psychiatrist and medicate herself into an extended hibernation. Spending time alone with her in her increasingly addled brain through the author’s brilliant prose is uncomfortable but so fascinating.
Early Puritan America was not a safe place to be a widow, at least not without a little help. Slewfoot is the story of what happens when a woman accused of witchcraft is actually guilty and willing to do anything to defend herself. It’s dark, bloody, and not for the faint of heart, but the last act is so satisfying it’s absolutely worth it.
What are your favorite hidden gem reads?