Thursday, 13 August 2015

Recommendations: Tearjerkers

I don’t know about you, but I love it when a book makes me cry. For me it’s a mark of a book that burrowed under my skin, made me care about the characters and the story and it’s usually one that’ll stay with me too. Oh, and it goes to say that I don’t recommend reading these on public transport, right? Here are some of my very favourites:

More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera
Soho Press|2nd June 2015

In the Bronx, the revolutionary memory altering procedures that the Leteo Institute offers aren’t something that pops up everyday. It seems too good to be true to Aaron who can’t imagine forgetting how his father committed suicide in their apartment, how his um is working herself into the ground to support them and is distant brother. Until Thomas appears and all Aaron wants to do is forget his attraction to sweet, funny Thomas with an excellent movie set up on his roof. Being gay isn’t really welcome in his neighbourhood and he’d be more than happy to forget that.

Adam Silvera blends contemporary and sci-fi effortlessly. Aaron’s story was entwined with both genres in a heartbreaking way; the moment they twisted together took my breath away. It made me think about the potency of memories, how integral they are to what makes you you and the emphasis on how being gay can’t be erased or overwritten – it’s incredibly important.

Lucas, Kevin Brooks
Chicken House|6th March 2006

Lucas is the strangest, most beautiful boy Caitlin has ever seen and when she spots him walking across the causeway, her life changes forever. But not everyone is Caitlin’s small community is as receptive to Lucas as she is…

It’s been many years since I last read this book, but after finally meeting Kevin Brooks at YALC this year, once again, I can’t stop thinking about it. Lucas is an incredibly powerful that altered my outlook on the world as well on how books can end… I’ve never forgotten the anger and sadness and frustration that I felt finishing Lucas and quite frankly, I think I’m due a re-read.

All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
Puffin|8th January 2015

When Violet and Finch meet, they are both standing on top of the school contemplating their life, and what would happen if they ended it. Neither is sure who saved who but when they embark on a school project to discover the hidden wonders of their home state they start to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Only with Violet can Finch be loud, funny and off-the-wall and only Finch allows Violet to escape the aching grief of her sister’s death. But is love enough?

Jennifer Niven’s debut is a wonderful, honest portrait of first love, grief, loss and mental illness. It’s beautiful, sad and hopeful. I know there were some people that really didn’t like the ending, but I think it was the right ending for the characters, sad though it was. Anything else would have been doing the novel a disservice. Beautiful, hopeful and bittersweet.

Ways to Live Forever, Sally Nicholls
Scholastic|7th January 2008

Sam is eleven years old and he has leukaemia. He obsessed with collecting facts and stories, especially those about death. He wants to know about everything and he has so many questions that no one will answer.

This book will tear your heart out. Promise. Sam has an incredibly strong voice and he burrowed right into my heart. It’s been about six/seven years since I read this and I still feel a little choked up writing this! Sally Nicholls is a beautiful writer and this is by far my favourite of hers.

Undone, Cat Clarke
Quercus|31st January 2013

Jem is in love with her best friend, but he’s gay. When Kai is outed online, he can’t handle the repercussions and he commits suicide. Jem can’t undo what has happened, but she can find out who was responsible. And she can take them down…

Undone is a heartbreaker right from the start. We get to know Kai through letters he leaves for Jem and it’s so easy to see why she fell for him and it just makes Jem’s grief and angst even more potent. As always with Cat’s novels, the tension builds and builds until she stomping all over your heart and making you sob in the best possible way.

Twenty Boy Summer, Sarah Ockler
Little, Brown|6th August 2009

Anna and Frankie are off to spend twenty days on a minimally-supervised California vacation and they are ready to meet a boy a day to try and snag boyfriends. But Anna’s already had a romance, which Frankie doesn’t know about. Before his tragic death, Anna was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt.

Sarah Ockler’s debut is beautiful. The mixture of Anna dealing with her grief, Frankie dealing with hers and them both struggling with as well as the addition of new possibilities gives a wonderfully bittersweet story that will stay with you. Though it did make me cry, it’s the perfect summer read.

Shadow Kiss: A Vampire Academy Novel, Richelle Mead
Puffin|4th February 2010

This is the third book in the Vampire Academy series and by far my favourite – and the most soul-destroying. Rose has nearly survived St Vlad’s and graduation is nearing, but after her battles with Strigoi (bad vamps) at the end of Frostbite, she can’t quite control the darkness permeating her mind. With her overwhelming love for her tutor, Dimitri, and the pressures of protecting the princess, Rose is in no position to face the danger facing her friends.

It’s difficult to talk about this book without spoiling events from the previous two books, but all you really need to know is that Rose’s best friend is a vampire princess who people want dead, she’s in love with her tutor (and he loves her too) and they have unbelievable chemistry. This is a series that gets progressively darker and more emotional but the events at the end of this instalment knocked me for six. It’s one of the most horrific cliffhangers I’ve ever read and I couldn’t even tell you how long I sobbed for…

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
Dutton|11th January 2012

Hazel Grace Lancaster has terminal cancer and her mum thinks she’s depressed. She’s shipped off to support group in the ‘literal heart of Jesus’ where she meets gorgeous, pretentious Augustus Waters. What’s left of her life is about to change.

Now this really doesn’t need any introduction or even a mention really, but I couldn’t not. This book has had the book world in tears since it was released three years ago; even the thought of it can make you tear up sometimes… I remember being so shocked that I was left breathless and I sobbed through at least the last third of the novel.

What are your favourite tearjerkers? Have I missed any I shouldn’t have?


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