Saturday 10 August 2013

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 5 - Recommend a tear jerker

I stumbled across the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge hosted by April from Good Books Good Wine and it looks like so much fun that I have to take part. You can find out all about the challenge and how to join in HERE. Obviously the idea of the challenge is to take part 15 days in a row but I don't have enough time for that and since April is so relaxed over the rules I've decided  dedicate one day a week to the challenge.

The Day 5 topic is: Recommend a tear jerker

When I'm in the right mood I absolutely love a good tear jerker so I found it impossible to pick just one book to recommend. In fact I'm going to recommend 3 very different books, each of which is absolutely amazing in a very different way, so in no particular order here are my recommendations:

Before I Die (recently re-released with the title Now is Good) by Jenny Downham:

It's really going to happen. They said it would, but this is quicker than anyone thought.

Everyone has to die. We all know it.

With only a few months of life left, sixteen-year-old Tessa knows it better than most.

She's made a list though - ten things she wants to do before she dies. Number one is sex. Starting tonight.

But getting what you want isn't easy. And getting what you want doesn't always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important.

Uplifting, life-affirming, joyous - this extraordinary novel celebrates what it is to be alive by confronting what it's really like to die.

Before I Die is a beautiful but heartbreaking story about a 16 year old girl who is dying of leukaemia, the title and blurb give away the fact that there is no miracle happy ending for Tessa so you know right from the beginning that you're going to need tissues to read this one. Having said that I still found it a beautiful story, one that teaches you to live your life to the fullest because you never know how long you've got. This one hit a bit close to home for me because there were a lot of parallels to when my Nan died of cancer, it was very realistic, very hard hitting and I don't think I've ever cried so much reading any other book.


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth?  That morning, my brother's life was worth a pocket watch . . .

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.

An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun.  Lina doesn't know if she'll ever see her father or her friends again.  But she refuses to give up hope.

Lina hopes for her family.
For her country.
For the future.
For love - first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose . . .
Will hope keep Lina alive?

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

Between Shades of Gray touches on a part of history that tends to get brushed under the carpet, we all know about the atrocities committed by Hitler but if you're anything like me you won't have heard so much about the millions of people who were sent to concentration camps in the Arctic Circle thanks to Stalin. Ruta Sepetys has written the harrowing story of a young girl called Lina whose life is turned upside down when her family is taken by Soviet guards and deported to Siberia. This isn't a biography but a lot of the events that take place were inspired by the interviews Ruta carried out with survivors of the concentration camps. This is a book that I think everyone should read, one that should be part of every school curriculum to bring this hidden side of history to life. There is just no way I can do this book justice but please, please watch this interview with Ruta to find out more about the book, I'll warn you now you're going to need tissues to hand before you press play!

Ruta Sepetys discusses her upcoming novel, Between Shades of Gray from Penguin Young Readers Group on Vimeo.


Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

"You've always been my best friend, my soul mate, and now I've fallen in love with you too.

Why is that such a crime?"

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed.

He is seventeen, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future.

And now they have fallen in love.  But... They are brother and sister.

My third and final recommendation is a book that I wasn't even sure I wanted to read. When I was sent a copy of Forbidden for review and realised it was a book about a relationship between a brother and sister I had absolutely no interest in picking it up. Then I started seeing some fantastic reviews for it and decided to see for myself if it was worth the hype it was getting. I'm so glad I gave it a chance because it absolutely blew my mind and three years on it's still one of the best books I've read since I started blogging. I know this is a tricky subject matter - I felt uncomfortable about it myself! - but the story is written in a way where you can completely understand how Maya and Lochan ended up developing such forbidden feelings for each other. Teenagers who are dealing with a very difficult home life they are basically acting parents to their 3 younger siblings, they are the glue that is holding their family together and they only have each other to rely on. Neither of them are able to share their home life with their friends and Lochan is painfully shy and unable to cope in any social situation. I never expected to find myself rooting for them as a couple but they so badly deserved a happy ending after everything they'd been through. This is one of those books that challenged my opinion on a lot of things and I love a book that makes me think.


So those are my favourite tear jerkers! Have you read any of them? If you have I'd love to know your thoughts on them! Which books would you recommend if you were making this list?


  1. Even thinking about Before I Die and Forbidden makes me choke up. Such amazing books! I really need to read Between Shades of Gray as well - I loved Out of the Easy.

    1. They're both heartbreaking aren't they Sophie! I absolutely loved Between Shades of Gray too & am sure it's one you'd like. I haven't read Out of the Easy yet but that's one I really need to get to soon :-)



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