Books that make you cry

View all School Board Recommendations book lists; This list was last updated on 4/4/2013
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1 - 21 of 21 results
release date: Jan 01, 2004
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My Sister's Keeper
Jodi Picoult tells the story of a girl who decides to sue her parents for the rights to her own body in this New York Times bestseller that tackles a controversial subject with grace and explores what it means to be a good person.

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate—a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.
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Breathless
What is the toughest request anyone can be asked to fulfill?

Travis Morrison is a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. On the first day of summer vacation, while boating on the lake with his friends, Travis attempts a silly stunt dive that goes wrong. He fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals he has a rare form of cancer, and to save him, the doctors tell his parents they must amputate. In an instant, Travis's life and the lives of everyone around him are forever changed.

Travis is determined that he and only he should decide the course of his life. He has a plan, but he can't carry it out alone. Will he convince one of his friends to fulfill his most important request?

Lurlene McDaniel tackles a controversial subject, probing the issues of personal choice and quality of life.
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The Prince of Tides
PAT CONROY has created a huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel, stinging with honesty and resounding with drama. Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

Filled with the vanishing beauty of the South Carolina low country as well as the dusty glitter of New York City, The Prince of Tides is PAT CONROY at his very best.
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Skeletons at the Feast
A masterful love story set against a backdrop of epic history and unforgettable courage

In the waning months of World War II, a small group of people begin the longest journey of their lives.

At the center is eighteen-year-old Anna, the daughter of Prussian aristocrats, and her first love, a twenty-year-old Scottish prisoner of war named Callum. With his boyish good looks and his dedication to her family, he has captured Anna's heart. But he is the enemy, and their love must remain a closely guarded secret. Only Manfred, a twenty-six-year-old Wehrmacht corporal, knows the truth. And Manfred, who is not what he seems to be, is reluctantly taken with Anna, just as she finds herself drawn uncomfortably to him.

As these unlikely allies work their way west, their flight will test both Anna's and Callum's love, as well as their friendship with Manfred–and will forever bind the young trio together.


Includes special bonus material: Chris Bohjalian responds to questions from book groups and readers
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Ellen Foster
Winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation's Citation for Fiction. An eleven-year-old heroine tells her unforgettable story with honesty, perceptivity, humor, and unselfconscious heroism. "The honesty of thought and eye and feeling and word!"--Eudora Welty; "A lovely, breathtaking, sometimes heart-wrenching first novel."--Walker Percy. A LITERARY GUILD SELECTION.

release date: Jan 01, 2008
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The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
Lauren Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother keep family skeletons in the closet or sewing her acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister, Thalia, is her opposite, an impoverished actress who prides herself on exposing the lurid truths lurking behind middle class niceties.


While Laurel's life seems neatly on track-- a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, a lovely suburban home-- everything she holds dear is threatened the night she is visited by the ghost of her 13-year-old neighbor Molly. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly, floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is an unseemly mystery that no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Laurel enlists Thalia's help, even though she knows it comes with a high price tag.


Together, they set out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about their family's haunted past, the true state of Laurel's marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.
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The Color Purple
Now a Broadway musical starring Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson, and Danielle Brooks: Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece, a powerful novel of courage in the face of oppression
 
Celie has grown up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she's badly treated by her family. As a teenager she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home.

The Color Purple's deeply inspirational narrative, coupled with Walker's prodigious talent as a stylist and storyteller, have made the novel a contemporary classic of American letters. 

This ebook features a new introduction written by the author on the twenty-fifth anniversary of publication, and an illustrated biography of Alice Walker including rare photos from the author's personal collection.

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Vanishing Acts
How do you recover the past when it was never yours to lose?

Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her beloved, widowed father, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall...until a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret about herself that changes the world as she knows it -- and threatens to jeopardize her future. With Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult explores how life -- as we know it -- might not turn out the way we imagined; how the people we've loved and trusted can suddenly change before our very eyes; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat. Once again, Picoult handles an astonishing and timely topic with under-standing, insight, and compassion.
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By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she's determined to get her death right.  She starts visiting a website for “completers”— www.through-the-light .com. 

While she's on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten.  When she's not on the Web, Daelyn's at her private school, where she's known as the freak who doesn't talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she's waiting to for her parents to pick her up.  Even though she's made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won't give up.  And it's too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn't it?

National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters shines a light on how bullying can push young people to the very edge.  

 
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The Time Traveler's Wife
A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.
release date: Jan 01, 2010
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Hold Still
In the wake of her best friend Ingrid's suicide, Caitlin is left alone, struggling to find hope and answers. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind for her, she begins a journey of understanding and broadening her horizons that leads her to new friendships and first love. Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin's first year without Ingrid to life with emotion, honesty, and captivating writing.
release date: Apr 07, 2015
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The Book of Negroes
A universal story of loss, courage and triumph, The Book of Negroes recounts the extraordinary journey of Aminata Diallo, an indomitable African woman who survives in a world in which everything seems to be against her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa then sold into slavery in South Carolina, Aminata navigates her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia, and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, before finally securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century.
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Still Alice
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind...

Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, Ordinary People and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Still Alice packs a powerful emotional punch and marks the arrival of a strong new voice in fiction.

release date: Jan 01, 2009
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If I Stay
The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She WentJust One Day, and Just One Year.
 
Soon to be a major motion picture, starring Chloe Moretz!
 
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.
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Just Listen
"Just Listen" is a captivating young adult novel about learning to forgive and forget from "New York Times" Number One bestseller Sarah Dessen, author of "The Truth About Forever" and "Lock and Key," Sarah Dessen. I'm Annabel. I'm the girl who has it all. Model looks, confidence. A great social life. I'm one of the lucky ones. Aren't I? My 'best friend' is spreading rumours about me. My family is slowly falling apart. It's turning into a long, lonely summer, full of secrets and silence. But I've met this guy who won't let me hide away. He's one of those intense types, obsessed with music. He's determined to make me listen. And he's determined to make me smile. But can he help me forget what happened the night everything changed? Sarah Dessen is the author of stunning teen novels: "The Truth About Forever", "Along for the Ride", "Lock and Key", "That Summer" and "What Happened to Goodbye". She lives in the countryside in North Carolina with her daughter, husband, some lizards and two very spoilt dogs - read her once and fall in love.
release date: Jan 01, 2010
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Lock and Key
New York Times bestseller

Unlock your heart and the rest will follow.

 
Ruby is used to taking care of herself.
 
But now that she's living with her sister, she's got her own room, she's going to a good school, and her future looks bright.
 
Plus there's the adorable boy next door.
 
Can Ruby learn to open her heart and let him in?
 
“All the Dessen trademarks here” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Dreamland
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye
release date: Jan 01, 2004
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This Lullaby
A New York Times bestseller
 
She's got it all figured out.
 
Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy's got a whole set of rules.
 
Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician.
 
But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don't seem to apply anymore.
 
Could it be that she's starting to understand what all those love songs are about?
 
“Remy and Dexter jump off the pages into the hearts of readers, who will wish for a romance like this of their own.” —Booklist
 
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Dreamland
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye
release date: May 23, 2006
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Veronika Decides to Die

Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything -- youth and beauty, boyfriends and a loving family, a fulfilling job. But something is missing in her life. So, one cold November morning, she takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up. But she does -- at a mental hospital where she is told that she has only days to live.

Inspired by events in Coelho's own life, Veronika Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Bold and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.

release date: Jan 01, 2010
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Hate List
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
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Thirteen Reasons Why
THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Eerie, beautiful, and devastating.” —Chicago Tribune

“A stealthy hit with staying power. . . . thriller-like pacing.” —The New York Times

Thirteen Reasons Why will leave you with chills long after you have finished reading.” —Amber Gibson, NPR's “All Things Considered”
 

You can't stop the future. 

You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.
               
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
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