Sixth day into this reading challenge. Books that made me sad, huh? I’m going to have to relive my emotions in mentioning some of these books. Oh the torments of the ever present bookworm, no one on the outside of that understands the perfectly good reasons why a book can bring you near to tears, or dampen your mood for the rest of the day because of something that happened to a character you loved, or make you cry for a multitude of reasons.
I want to say “Book, you fiendish thief, put my heart back where you found it. Don’t take it out and leave it on the doorstep.”
Nah, I’m perfectly fine with citing these books and my reasons for it, no regrets. Ten books as usual, here we go: Some mild spoilers contained, but none of them contain ones that I think would ruin the book for anyone if they were so inclined to pick them up.
You may notice that the vast majority of these books are YA, and it’s probably because those are what came to mind almost immediately when I thought about this list. All of these books are those which I read that really gutted me at the time I read them.
Some books I didn’t mention here that I’d say qualify under the theme include “Night” by Ellie Weisel, “Breathing Underwater” by Alex Flinn, “The Sin-Eater’s Confession” by Ilsa J. Bick, and “Touching Spirit Bear” by Ben Mikaelsen. I know there are many more I’m forgetting, but I’ll focus on the ones I’ve chosen for now.
“Hold Still” by Nina LaCour is one of those books that gut you for the subject matter as it shows a young art student dealing with the death of her best friend and the aftermath of things. It shows her coming to terms with how people view her as well as understanding her friend after death. It was so on point with Caitlyn’s perspective and I really appreciated the story, though it was rough emotionally throughout the story.
Are any of you really surprised that I would put a Melina Marchetta novel in this list? She has the ability to pull out so many emotions from in in her works; it’s ridiculous how talented she is. I had tears in my eyes for “The Piper’s Son” – I kid you not. It’s one of the best examples of a “bad boy who’s *actually* hurting” vein of story that I’ve come across, and it’s one of my favorites. I love Thomas McKee so very much, kinda still want to hug him after all the emotional roughness he goes through in this book. Same with Georgie, actually – she also made the book for me in reading her narrative.
Hannah Moskowitz’s “Teeth” and “Gone, Gone, Gone” both put me in sad places, but I cite “Teeth” because while it made me laugh in several measures watching Rudy and Teeth’s interactions, the story gutted me showing the contrast between Rudy’s dedication to his family, his observances of Teeth’s ordeals, and the whole atmosphere of a dark, longing fairy tale that had so many points of grief. I was brought close to tears even with the twice read through I did of it. While I had a e-galley copy, I loved the book so much, I bought the book two weeks after its official release to have a copy for my own.
I just recently re-read “Bless Me Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya and there are quite many tough subjects this book deals with on the level of a boy’s coming of age with his role in the world, with his family, with his faith, among other things, but the ending always guts me, even when I see it coming. It’s a tough way for Antonio/Tony to grow up from that and it leaves you at a point where he has to pave his own path into the world.
Elizabeth Scott’s “Living Dead Girl” was another sad read for me, in that it’s based from the narrative of a girl who’s sexually and emotionally abused by her tormentor, and manipulated in order to lure other girls that her captor can manipulate as well. It’s a short read, but evocative, and while it took me out of my comfort zone in many places, I respected Scott’s narrative, and it had me thinking long after I turned the last page.
“Noughts and Crosses” is the first book I’ve read from Malorie Blackman, and it certainly won’t be the last. I think this is the best example of a reverse discrimination novel I’ve read, and it’s incredibly impactful for the conflicts and emotional stakes it shows. I loved the book and count it as one of my favorites, even with a few rough narrative spots in the mix.
Nancy Werlin’s “The Rules of Survival” is a book I read a long while ago, and I still cite it as one of the strongest narratives on domestic abuse I’ve come across in YA. I felt so much for the hero in this book trying to take care of his siblings and wanting nothing more than to have a way out from the daily horrors he and his siblings suffered under the hands of his mother. It’s a sad book, but yet has glimmers of hope and true to life measures in the mix.
The only thing I’ll say about Elrich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” is addressed to the narrator: “You survived all of that, and you HAD to look at the bird.” >_< This was a rough book to be sure in showing the horrors of war, though, and it did affect me greatly the first time I read it, and even upon re-read.
Elizabeth Wein’s “Code Name Verity” was an emotional trip through time. I couldn’t tear myself away from the perspectives of the two girls shown in this book, and the meaning of sacrifice and grief taken in the journey. I loved the book, and count it certainly among my favorites.
And lastly, I find it fitting to end this set with a Patrick Ness (though it’s dedicated to the idea that Siobhan Dowd had, but sadly never had the chance to complete) book that did make me cry. “A Monster Calls” is such a potent story of dark humor on one hand, and a tale of grief on another. And it’s a middle grade novel. I have rarely come across any work that was as on-point about the stages of grief and what a young boy’s going through in the loss of his mother from cancer. It’s a wonderful book that I wholeheartedly recommend.
I think that’s it for today’s entry. Tomorrow I’ll cover books that made me laugh, and I have a quite a few to cite that I haven’t already mentioned.