Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#26) - Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Are Struggling With Grief



A Suicide Survivor - someone coping with the shock and grieve that accompany the loss of a loved one to suicide. Due to the social stigma associated with suicide, survivors are often unable to cope with their loss and grief using normal support systems, which makes the healing process even more difficult. 

It has been estimated that for every suicide "there are seven to ten people intimately affected."

The books are in no particular order of preference.


1. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The way Cynthia Hand writes grief blew my mind away. The Last Time We Say Goodbye follows Lex as she tries to come to terms with the suicide of her brother. Hand writes about the reality of a suicide survival so realistically, especially when it comes to the reactions and actions of those around Lex. As someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, I appreciated Hand's honesty.This one DEFINITELY made me cry!

2. Hold Still by Nina LaCour

I read this one back in March of 2010, so my memory of it is a bit hazy, but I do remember it leaving quite an impression on me. Hold Still tells the story of Caitlin as she comes to terms with the suicide of her best friend Ingrid through the journal Ingrid has left behind for her. Though it is about grief, it is also about new chances, new friends and even new love. LaCour's writing style comes close to poetry at points, and I remember being very impressed by the characterization. 

3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This is not as clearly about a suicide survivor as the four other books I feature this week, but I wanted to include it nevertheless because I was VERY impressed by this book. It is narrated via dual narratives of Hannah, a girl who has committed suicide, and Clay, a guy that was crushing on Hannah and that has now been reached by Hannah via cassette tapes that explain why Hannah decided to kill herself. Asher uses foreshadowing brilliantly and the story is full of intrigue. This one will definitely stay in your mind for a LONG time.
4. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

I was not quite sure what to expect from this book, but wow, was I surprised. This one follows Harper whose older sister June killed herself just a week before her high school graduation. No one seems to know why June did so because everything seemed to be alright. When Harper's divorced parents want to divide June's ashes, Harper decides to make her sister's dream come true and she takes the ashes to California. On her way there she meets Jake, a guy who has a surprising connection with June and as they get closer to California, the more Harper starts to learn about her sister. Harrington writes so well about the confusion and anger that often follows suicide and about the desire to keep going, even when it hurts like hell.

5. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie both want to be the skinniest girl in their high school. Then Cassie is found dead from a hotel room (not directly as a cause of suicide, but I want to count this one in this category... you'll get why if you have read this one!) and Lia starts to blame herself - Cassie tried to call her 33 times and she never answered. Though the story and the characterization are amazing, what really impressed me was Anderson's use of language and the vividness of her prose. Even if the story does not catch your interest, you should definitely read this just for the masterful use of the English language.

Five books that feature a character struggling with the grief caused by a loved one through circumstances other than suicide

   6. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (upcoming release)

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to read and review Dumplin' early for Winter Haven Books, the blog I am an contributor for. The moment I heard about this book, I was excited! And oh my, this book was perfection. The reason I chose it for this list is the fact that the main character Willowdean is going through the grief that was caused by the death of her aunt, a woman much more like her than her mother. Whereas her aunt never took risks and said 'no' to things because of her weight and the way she looked, Willowdean knows that her aunt would never want her to be embarassed of how she looks. Dumplin' is such an empowering read and definitely a book that I will re-read again and again.

7. In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Okay, yeah, one reason I included this one on this week list is the fact that the love interest of the main character reminds me of Tim Riggins from FNL. In Honor follows Honor who, after receiving the last letter her brother Finn wrote to her from Iraq, decides to travel to see Kyra Kelly, a famous pop star and her brother's celebrity crush. She is joined by Rusty,  Finn's best friend, and as they travel on, they start to connect and share their grief over the loss of Finn. 

8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever is a meaningful book for me in the sense that it was the first Sarah Dessen book I ever read. It follows Macy whose is grieving the lost of her father and expecting her summer to be both long and quiet. As a result of a chain on unexpected events Macy finds herself working for a catering company and as she spends more time with new friends and a new guy in her life, she starts to find ways to go through the death of her father. 

9. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

After Amy's dad died in a car accident her mother decided that it would do the family some good to chance scenery which results in a move from California to Connecticut. Amy is not looking forward to the move, especially after she is told that instead of flying across the country, she will have to do the trip on road. The problem is that she has not driven a car since her father died. To help with the long road trip, Amy is accompanied by Roger, an old family friend who also needs to make the trip from California to the East Coast. Though there is a fantastic love story here, it is also a brilliant book about a girl who tries to figure out her world after the loss of someone she has loved dearly. I cried so many times while reading this one!

10. Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

When I read this one, I wasn't overly familiar with the new adult genre. I did not quite know what to expect and I must admit I was a bit prejudiced just because the cover seems a bit of a cliche for me. I am glad that I did not let my prejudices take control, because this book was amazing! It follows Ember whose father dies during service. The emotions connected to Ember's grief are so raw and real and seriously, once 10% of this book had passed, I had already cried like a baby. There's also a perfect romance here with a handsome and charming HOCKEY player called Josh. Seriously, you all need to read about Josh! He is PERFECT!

18 comments:

  1. Such a fantastic list. Some really beautiful picks and some that are going straight onto my to read pile. Thank you for sharing.
    My TTT

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    1. Thanks Rosy! Though the topic is pretty depressive, putting this list together was a lot of fun!
      Thanks for stopping by :)

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  2. Really good topic. So many great books - My favorites here are Thirteen Reasons Why and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. I have a few that are on my TBR but the rest I will check out - Great list!

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    1. Thirteen Reasons Why and Amy & Roger are both brilliant! :)
      Thanks for stopping by Grace :)

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  3. I avoid these kinds of books now as they depress me too much! I want to escape the misery of life and emerse in a good gory horror or fight filled urban fantasy instead! *grins*

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    1. These type of books are definitely not the easiest to read, but they can be such cathartic experiences as well and a way to go through your own feelings and emotions.
      Thanks for stopping by :)

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  4. Great list! I've heard so many great things about most of these books - especially Thirteen Reaons Why and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. They all look like fantastic reads but I think I'll need to have a few boxes of tissues near by!

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    1. Oh yeah, be prepared with tissues, you'll need those! :)
      Thanks for stopping by Katherine!

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  5. Nice list! I haven't been affected by suicide personally, but my friend recently lost her son that way and it has been so heartbreaking to see her and her family struggle with his decision to end his own life. It's been so hard for them. I'm glad this issue is addressed in books -- hopefully it helps someone with their real-life grieving.

    Happy TTT!

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    1. My father took his own life over 10 years ago and I can honestly say that these type of books, when they are well written, can be such a cathartic reading experience and they offer you with someone who feels the same, even if that character is fictional.
      Your friend is going through something incredibly difficult right now and some of the scars will probably never heal, but I hope time is good for her and her family and that eventually she is have the good memories of her son on top rather than the bad memories caused by his decision.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Love this! I have read and loved a good many of these. Hold Still and 13 Reasons Why are definitely 2 of my favorites. Actually everything Nina LaCour writes is amazing... and can't wait to read more from Jay Asher.

    Thanks for stopping by my list!

    Thanks for stopping by my list!!

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    1. Nina LaCour's newest book (for the life of me I cannot remember the title now) was really good! And I definitely need to reread both 13 Reasons Why and Hold Still because it has been too long since I read them.
      Thanks for stopping by :)

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  7. Nice topic! I love Thirteen Reasons Why, it's one of my favourite books! Wintergirls is on my TBR list. Here's my TTT:
    https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/top-ten-tuesdays-2/

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    1. Thirteen Reasons Why is really good! And you definitely should read Wintergirls ASAP - it's really good :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Grief books are so hard for me to read, and I'll only read them if I know there's a hopeful/happy ending. Saving June is a personal favorite of mine, and I also really love Amy & Roger.
    Great list, lady!

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    1. They definitely are difficult to read, but once in a while it is just what I need. The only thing I need is honesty - there is nothing worse than using grief as a glorifying characteristic.
      Saving June was absolutely fantastic, as was Amy & Roger. :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. This is a phenomenal list. Seriously, well done! It is such an important topic, I am glad you decided to feature it. I had no idea that Dumplin was so emotional either, I am definitely going to need to read that. I have only read The Truth About Forever on your list, but I have Thirteen Reasons Why and The Last Time We Say Goodbye, so I must read them soon.

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Thanks Shannon! Dumplin' was SO GOOD - definitely not as emotional as some of these books and not as focused on grief, but nevertheless, well written and the characters... SO AMAZING.
      The Last Time We Say Goodbye broke my heart because I found it so easy to identify with the main character, but at the same time, it was such a great reading experience. And Cynthia Hand writes grief brilliantly.
      Thanks for stopping by Shannon! :)

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