Summer Break Reading Challenge Activity #8

Okay, so I’m back from Ireland. Had an amazing time. Other half mostly caught up on much needed sleep, which left me plenty of time to read. Have crossed two more books off my Reading Challenge list – reviews to follow soon!

I missed this challenge while I was away, but thought I’d do it anyway.

My Read-a-Like List – Books That Made me Cry

I’m not a big sobber when it comes to books. Films, yes, the music gets me every time, but I don’t generally blub at books. So here’s a list of a few real heartwrenchers (or books I read while feeling particularly emotional perhaps lol)

If I Stay, Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

I read this a couple of years ago and loved it. A story about love, life and music, and the only choices that really matter in the end – I demolished it in one sitting and blubbed for about half an hour afterwards. Romantic, devastating, and yet hopeful at the same time it’s a pitch perfect weepy that didn’t need a soundtrack to prompt that lump in the throat feeling.

Before I Die, Jenny Downham

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

Pretty obvious why this one is a weepy. A book that forces you to confront your own mortality and what it truly means to be alive.

Horns, Joe Hill

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside.

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It’s time for a little revenge. It’s time the devil had his due.

Not the obvious choice, and I probably won’t remember in a month or so that it made me cry, but I just finished reading it. Behind all the horror and the humour there’s a heartbreaking love story in this that at one point had me struggling not to cry my eyes out.

The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials #2)

Will Parry has spent his childhood playing games. His have been deadly serious. This 12-year-old long ago learned the art of invisibility: if he could erase himself, no one would discover his mother’s increasing instability and separate them. Will’s enemies will do anything for information about his missing father, a soldier and Arctic explorer who has been very much airbrushed from the official picture. Now Will must get his mother into safe seclusion and make his way toward Oxford, which may hold the key to John Parry’s disappearance.

Not so much the story as a whole, but the death of a particular character that set me off in this one. It’s a testament to Pullman’s skill that in amongst all the epic in this series, you still care about all the characters.

(All summaries from Goodreads)

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