Reading can be insightful, enriching, and powerful - and with that, it can make you cry some serious tears. I've always been the girl that can watch movies like the "Notebook" and not shed a tear; but, for some reason, a good ole' depressing or heartwarming read can make me ball like a newborn baby. It's strange, I know. However, to help you get more in touch with your "emotional" side, keep reading to see what 8 books had me wishing tear ducts came with an off switch (hint: none of them are "The Fault In Our Stars." Let's leave that in the 2010's, shall we?).
1. "Crazy Horse's Girlfriend" by Erica T. Wurth
Even before picking this book up, I was excited to read a more diverse YA. The teenage protagonist, Margaritte is a spunky girl of Native American descent that lives in the slums of Colorado. She comes from a small town ridden with teen pregnancy and drug addiction. The only way out is through education and hard work. With an abusive father and a slew of other problems in toll, Margaritte has an extremely hard time throughout the short novel; this makes for some major tear-jerking moments when you think of her amazing strength.
2. "Water in May'" by Ismee Williams
This story is all about loss and the quest for true familial love. 15-year-old Mari is of White and Dominican ancestry and has gotten pregnant by her wannabe drug-dealer boyfriend, Bertie. Mari finds out early in her pregnancy that the likelihood of her giving birth to a healthy child is slim. With such a heavy topic being discussed, the story can lead to a few tears falling. Yet, the comical Dominican slang and rapid-fire banter between Mari and her pals make this hard-hitting book a lot easier to read.
3. "Wintergirls" by Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson, the author of "Speak" did it again with this YA novel on the firsthand challenges of a young girl dealing with Anorexia Nervosa. The name of the book itself says much about the emotionally-detached protagonist, Lia, who's daily life is extremely difficult as she deals with her sickness and the harm she inflicts upon herself. The book is immensely insightful on some of the possible thoughts and emotions going on within a person with a body dysmorphic disorder. It's a sad, but definite must-read that I couldn't put down.
4. "Girl On A Plane" by Miriam Moss
This book retells the scary, true story of the author as a young girl experiencing a terrorist attack on her plane flight back to boarding school. The topic alone of this biography made me want to cry and empathize with her simply for having to go through this. Yet, the challenges of fear and uncertainty she relived facing for all those days opened up a whole new level of sympathy from me.
5. "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton
If you're a fan of old-school Marlon Brando movies, you'll likely appreciate this classic read similar to "The Westside Story." The story follows the narrative of Ponyboy Curtis as he faces the challenges of living in a city divided by gang and socioeconomic rivalry. There are many twists and turns in this book boasting only about 190 pages with love, friendship, and death being just a few of them.
6. "Dreamland" by Sarah Dessen"
It's an oldie, but a goodie! It's one of Sarah Dessen's first published books, but it's also one of her most important to read. It deals with the life of teenage Caitlin as she undergoes the challenges of high school, low self-esteem, and a budding - yet abusive, romance. This book covers topics ranging from parental and emotional abuse to sibling rivalry. It's not Dessen's usual, "let's run across the shore" read but it was still impossible not to be glued to every word on the page.
7. "Providence" by Colozza Cocca
The book sort of blew me away. This short, but breathtaking novel follows the story of Becky, a 16-year-old on the run with an infant. Becky is a sweet, warmhearted girl that has been dealt an unlucky hand of cards, but her quaint, Southern girl narrative is an interesting one that'll make you want to read every single page.
8. "Madness" by Zac Brewer
This book is all about disarming the narrative that love can fix, or even "cure" mental illness. It seems every other page in this book is about depression and suicidal ideation, but the author did an excellent job of making it feel like the reader was on a quest to health and self-discovery with the leading characters. It's a great read for insight and understanding of teen and young adult depression.
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