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!