Marysville Library Blog

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tear Jerkers: Books Guaranteed to Make you Cry

I just finished reading John Green's "The Fault in our Stars", and I found I got a lot of funny looks because I ended up crying over it in public. Don't laugh at me, as I know some people really like books that make them cry. So here are other books that will also wrench your heart, some aimed at children, others at teens or adults, some are fiction, others are nonfiction. They will all make people stare at you in public.

The Fault in our stars by John Green. Hazel Grace Lancaster has stave IV thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. Having accepting her impending death, she meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group. They are normal teens falling in love, yet also dealing with their own mortality and all the humiliations that come with dying. Sarcastic, witty, and deeply romantic, I dare you not to cry.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray. All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school-and life in general-with a minimum of effort. It's not a lot to ask. But that's before he's given some bad news: he's sick and he's going to die from mad cow disease. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure-if he's willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. At the end of the summer before she enters high school, Melinda attends a party where she is raped. Shocked and scared, she calls the police, who break up the party and send everyone home. She tells no one of her rape, and the other students, even her best friends, turn against her for under-mining their good time. By the time school starts, she is completely alone, and utterly desolate. Few people penetrate her shell; one of them is Mr. Freeman, her art teacher, who works with her to help her express what she has so deeply repressed. When the unthinkable happens--the same upperclassman who raped her at the party attacks her again.

Marley and Me: Life and love with the world’s worst dog by John Grogan. A memoir of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan's life with his yellow Labrador retriever: John and Jen are journalists who are a newly married couple. Marley is the adopted puppy that no one wants, a high-strung lab who is virtually untrainable. Marley shreds cushions, destroys floors and walls and most everything in between. Instead of taking him to the pound, they love their dog and he faithfully loves them in return.

The Glass Castle: A memoir by Jeanette Walls. Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose stubborn nonconformity was both their curse and their salvation. They started off living like nomads, moving throughout the Southwest. Her father was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination. Her mother, who painted and wrote, called herself an "excitement addict." As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her siblings had to learn to fend for themselves.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun. When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she lives a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, and how she became friends with the pilot Maddie. But how much is she really revealing to the Nazis? Harrowing and beautifully written, this tale of danger, resolve, and survival shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ-the curse that has haunted the Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. A loving threesome, the boy and his two dogs ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country going coon hunting. Old Dan had the brawn. Little Ann had the brains, and Billy had the will to make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but tragedy came when they faced the mountain lion.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian. They met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and she threw her shoe at him.They married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true: Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder. Periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, disappearing spontaneously for experiences alternately amusing and increasingly harrowing.

The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. All summer, Jess pushed himself to be the fastest boy in the fifth grade, to win the year's first school-yard race. But his victory was stolen by a new girl, one who didn't even know enough to stay on the girls' side of the playground. Then unexpectedly, Jess finds himself sticking up for Leslie, for the girl who breaks rules and wins races. Their friendship grows as Jess guides her through the pitfalls of life in their small, rural town, and Leslie draws him into her imaginary world: a world of magic called Terabithia. Here, Leslie and Jess rule, safe from the bullies and ridicule of the mundane world. Safe until tragedy forces Jess to reign in Terabithia alone.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I DON'T WANT TO TELL YOU TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BOOK. It is a truly special story and I don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so I will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn't. And it's what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

Anne Frank: The diary of a young girl. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annex" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. Her diary was discovered after her capture and death.

-Kathy, using Seattle Public Library's list as abase:

1 comment:

  1. ARG! I'm in the middle of Code Name Verity right now and am not expecting a cry. Nooooooo!