6 Underrated Contemporary Realistic Fiction Books From 2021

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It goes without saying that fantasy and science fiction are two of the most popular genres of books; each allows readers to escape to an entirely different universe full of magic, mythical creatures and futuristic scenarios. People often read to transport their minds to a different setting and truly immerse themselves in the story. And while there is an undeniable appeal to it, the massive success of fantasy and sci-fi has one genre forgotten: realistic fiction. There are so many amazing realistic fiction books out there that are put aside just because they don’t set in a fantasy world or lack futuristic elements. Unfortunately, realistic fiction books – no matter how many copies are sold in bookstores – tend to be grossly underrated in popular culture.

Underrated Book # 1: “The Forever Girl” by Jill Shalvis

Best-selling writer Jill Shalvis is back with the next installment in her “Wildstone” series. The books follow life in the fictional small town of Wildstone, California, and each book focuses on a different character. The books do not need to be read in order, as the stories are not connected by anything other than the frame, which makes each book stand-alone. “The Forever Girl” tells the story of Maze, who returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her best friend whom she has not seen since a tragedy caused them to go their separate ways.

Underrated Book # 2: “Imagine Summer” by Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of “Whisper Beach,” returns with another summer read. “Imagine Summer” follows Skylar Mackenzie, who owns a toy bookstore in a coastal town in Rhode Island. Skylar’s world is turned upside down when her estranged sister shows up on her doorstep with the man who broke Skylar’s heart years ago. Her sister returns to make things right, but Skylar wonders if she can really trust her.

Underrated Book 3: “The People We Met on Vacation” by Emily Henry

Emily Henry, another New York Times bestselling author, recently published a new novel called “Beach Read”. Two people who have nothing in common manage to become friends after a semester of shared car ride home after college. Poppy and Alex live their separate lives for most of the year, but during the summer they take a week’s vacation together. That is, until they quarrel. Eventually, Poppy convinces her friend to take another vacation together to try and put things back together.

Underrated Book # 4: “It Happened One Summer” by Tessa Bailey

The first installment of Tessa Bailey’s “Bellinger Sisters” series follows Piper Bellinger, a celebrity known to be a bit wild. After being arrested at an out of control party, Piper’s stepfather cuts her off and sends her to Washington to learn some responsibility. As soon as she arrives, she meets Brendan, a ship captain who insists Piper can’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. However, she is determined to prove to everyone, especially her stepdad, that she is more than a pretty face. Everywhere she looks, she continues to meet Brendan, and her time spent with the Navy Captain makes Piper wonder if glamorous living is what she really wants.

Underrated Book 5: “Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Set in 1983, this book follows four famous siblings who attend a party that changes their lives in the span of 24 hours. Model Nina Riva hosts her annual end of summer party, and everyone wants to attend just to be around Nina’s brothers, Hud (a renowned photographer) and Jay (a championship surfer). The only person who doesn’t look forward to the party is Nina, who never wanted to be the center of attention. At the end of the night, the festivities spiral out of control and many family secrets are revealed, changing the lives of everyone involved forever.

Underrated Book # 6: “Beth and Amy” by Virginia Kantra

The second part of Virginia Kantra’s modern tale of the classic “Little Women” follows Beth and Amy March. Amy is a rising designer on the New York fashion scene and Beth is a talented singer-songwriter who goes on tour with country music star Colt Henderson. The two are forced to return home for their older sister Jo’s wedding, and the March sisters must learn to lean on each other to cope with the changes that life brings.

Thinking about these amazing underrated books, consider diversifying your library and checking out some of these fun and realistic reads!


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