Bookworms and gamers, comic book fans and anime lovers around the world, this day is for you. So be proud of your geekness and let’s celebrate this joyful occasion together. Is there a particular fandom you’re fond of but don’t think it is popular enough? Today is your chance to come out of the darkness and embrace your geekness!
From Geek to Geek, let’s be honest with each other; books like Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia have all made our childhood a hundred times better, and continue to live in our hearts to this day. However, I think it’s important that we celebrate all and every fandom, so on this beautiful Embrace Your Geekness Day, I have compiled a list of 13 underrated books & fandoms that deserve a place on our bookshelves. From fantasy to sci-fi, paranormal romance to historical fiction and YA thrillers, these books are a pure delight, so take your pick, add a couple (or all) of them to your TBR and who knows, maybe your next favorite book is on this list!
1. the illuminae files by amie kaufman and jay kristoff
“You have me. Until the last star in the galaxy dies, you have me.”
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Why you should read it: The very unusual format of these books was the reason I was hesitant to pick them up, but once I did, man did I regret not reading them sooner. This trilogy is out-of-this-world fantastic.
2. The shades of magic series by v.e. schwab
“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
Why you should read it: V.E. Schwab is the queen of fantasy and no one can convince me otherwise. This trilogy is its very own shade of magic and needs to be talked about more.
3. the gilded wolves trilogy by roshani chokshi
“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”
From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change–one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires…
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
Why you should read it: This trilogy is awfully underrated. Seriously, it’s a sin we’re not talking about it more. If the words ‘magic,’ ‘heist,’ and ’19th century Paris’ aren’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what will. Bonus points of the delightful – sexual and ethnic – diversity in this book.
4. ninth house (alex stern #1) by leigh bardugo
“I want to survive this world that keeps trying to destroy me.”
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
Why you should read it: I debated with myself for quite some time before including this book in the list. The topics it raises can be very triggering and some scenes are not easy to read. Now that you have been warned, tread carefully. That being said, if you’re like me and don’t get triggered easily, by all means, read this book. It is dark, captivating, and will have your mind reeling until the very end.
5. serpent & dove by shelby mahurin
“I was no one’s sacrifice. Not then. Not now. Not ever.”
Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
Why you should read it: I cannot stress this enough; this series has the potential to become an international phenomenon.
6. Cinder (the lunar chronicles #1) by marissa meyer
“Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?”
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.
She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Why you should read it: I know a book about androids and cyborg may not appeal to everyone at first glance, but give it a shot. Think of Cinder as a Cinderella retelling set in a dystopian future with a badass yet vulnerable heroine, witty banter, and a cute Prince ;)
7. stalking Jack the Ripper by kerri maniscalco
“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
Why you should read it: I would say this book is more murder mystery than it is horror, although it does feature some morbid and gruesome scenes. I devoured the novel and loved it from start to finish. Fans of notorious serial killers and historical fiction, this one’s for you!
8. the charlotte holmes Series by brittany cavallaro
“I wanted the two of us to be complicated together, to be difficult and engrossing and blindingly brilliant.”
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
Why you should read it: This series is an emotional roller-coaster – and a breath of fresh air. In addition to the perfectly crafted plot, the characters feel so real you could almost reach out through the pages to touch them. Although Jamie and Charlotte are ridiculously good at solving crimes, at the end of the day, they’re still two teenagers who are just as confused about life and matters of the heart as anyone else their age. You will want to scream, cry, and perhaps even punch them, but you will also learn to love them so, so much.
9. Carry on by Rainbow Rowell
“You were the sun, and I was crashing into you.”
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.
Why you should read it: This was a special recommendation by Skyler Lee from our editorial team! I have yet to pick up Carry On myself, but I already know I’m going to love it.
10. Gideon the Ninth (The locked tomb #1) by tamsyn muir
“If you do not find yourself a galaxy, it is not so bad to find yourself a star.”
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.
Why you should read it: Special shoutout to Camila Fagen from our editorial team for recommending this book! Necromancers, bone witches, swords, and LGBTQ+ representation…what more could you want?
11. truly devious by maureen johnson
“There is nothing so serious as a game.”
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.
Why you should read it: Maureen Johnson’s wicked genius will make it impossible for you to put this book down. Also, Nate is a cinnamon roll and he deserves everything good in this world. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
12. caraval by STEPHANIE GARBER
“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. Elusive, difficult to hold on to. ”
A legendary competition.
A mesmerizing romance.
An unbreakable bond
between two sisters.
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.
Why you should read it: This book has a beating heart that pumps magic into its pages with every word. You will lose yourself in the world of Caraval and never want to leave the wonder that it is.
13. the psy-changeling series by nalini singh
”He wondered if she understood that he’d just torn out his heart and laid it at her feet.”
Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind— and none of the heart…
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…
Why you should read it: I have known this series for five years now, reread it more times than I count, and every time, it never fails to suck me in and put a smile on my face. The Psy Changeling world is my happy place.
It’s not always easy to find a book we’re certain to like, but give these reads a chance; I promise you they will not disappoint!