Saturday, March 12, 2005

Tearjerkers, compiled from YALSA-BK responses

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Freak the Mighty by Philbrick
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (I would consider it an “adult title” for YAs).
Born Blue by Han Nolan
Finding Fish: A Memoir by Antwone Fisher? It's along the Dave Pelzer lines, but with the movie as an extra programming tool. Also, Fisher's poetry book, "Who Will Cry for the Little Boy" is recommended in the Patrick Jones book, Connecting Young Adults and Libraries. Dave Pelzer's brother, Richard, also has a book out called A Brother's Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse
Some of Torey Hayden's books might also work for kids who want to read more like Pelzer's books. Crying, shuddering, and screaming are all suitable reactions to what's happened to some of the kids she writes about.
If your students like to read all the Pelzer books, they will also like to read Wayne: An Abused Child's Story of Courage, Survival, and Hope by Wayne Theodore. He also writes about his first hand experience as an abused child. This book will not stay on the shelf. It is a real tearjerker.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Inside Out, Terry Trueman…cried at the end!
Rilla of Ingleside - several parts toward the end of the book always have me in floods.
Also, I'd suggest two by Ellen Emerson White: Long Live the Queen, and The Road Home.
Not a tear jerker...but a real gut ripper is 'A Child Called It" and its sequels by David Pelzer.
Ordinary People by Judith Guest (The tears still fall after 30 yrs)
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter (I dare anyone to read this and not cry)
Maybe it was just me, but I balled at the before/after transition in Looking for Alaska! I do think that this might fit your list though, because it is a stark view of teens greiving the loss of a friend.
I second anything by Sharon Creech. I just finished -The Wanderer- and last summer I read -Walk Two Moons- and both brought tears to my eyes!!
Also any book by Lurlene McDaniel
Jordan Sonnenblick's Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie
Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass
Wilborn Hampton's September 11, 2001: attack on New York City
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
For boys: Over the Wall, Touching Spirit Bear
For girls: The Devil's Arithmetic, Searching for David's Heart
The Great God Pan by Napoli. I don't want to spoil it, but it involves parent angst (Pan & his father) and also Pan & a human, Iphigenia.
I am so with you on Nicholas Sparks! A Walk to Remember is my absolute favorite book, and I always end up bawling even though I've read the book and seen the movie a thousand times. I would second someone's suggestion of Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson. He has another book, Sam's Letters to Jennifer that is similar to Suzanne's Diary- although I have not finished it yet, so I can't say whether or not it made me cry (but since I've also been known to cry over commercials as well, I'm sure I'll be crying!)
Adult book read by teens: I cried and actually threw the book across the room when I read _The Things They Carried_ by Tim O'Brien. It was the story about the water buffalo. I did pick the book up and finish reading and crying later on.
Kids' book: My daughter cried so hard during _Where the Red Fern Grows_ by Wilson Rawls that she got a nose bleed. She also cried during _Bud, Not Buddy_ by Christopher Paul Curtis and _Love That Dog_ by Sharon Creech.
Earthshine by Theresa Nelson for an older title.
I just finished Looking for Alaska by John Green yesterday and had to explain to my boss while I was sitting at my desk crying.
First They Killed My Father by Luong Ung - this is one of the most wrenching things I've ever read. I saw in Booklist that the sequel just came out, so I need to get my hands on that, too.
How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadn’t Called You Back? by Valerie Hobbs
More Than You Know by Beth Gutcheon (not YA, but adult with YA appeal)
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (I read this multiple times as a teen and cried fountains everytime)
Hanging on to Max made me cry... a lot
Say Goodnight Gracie made me sob when I was a teen.
How about an oldie: Flowers for Algernon.
"Stop Pretending: what happened when my big sister went crazy" by Sonya Sones
PUSH by Sapphire: It's a killer, a true tear-jerker, but definitely only for more mature YAs. I am currently reading INVISIBLE by Pete Hautman and that's another extremely powerful & emotionally involving book for YAs! Would certainly be appropriate on the tear-jerker list.
A Time for Dancing by Hurwin
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood--and I don't cry easily!
The Bell Jar
If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
Whale Talk , Chris Crutcher
My Sister's Keeper
Letters from Wolfie by Patty Sherlock (for all of us dog lovers) and Behind You (sequel to If You Come Softly)
The Cure by Sonia Levitin
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
Though these are not really ya fiction, which is what I think of first for tearjerkers for teens, some teens might like:Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived-wonderful non-fiction
Gingerbread made me tear up pretty good, but I cry from commercials as well... BUT, if you REALLY want to cry, have you read Faithful Elephants? This is a children's book, read out loud in one of my classes this semester. Needless to say, I had to walk out of the class to avoid sobbing.
Must your list only contain fiction? Irena Gut Opdyke's In My Hands definitely made me cry, as do all books about the Holocaust. 33 Snowfish (F by Adam Rapp) made me cry, too.
EMAKO BLUE by Brenda Woods
The Lovely Bones
Good night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
Imani all mine by Connie Porter
A child called it by Dave Pelzer
They cage the animals at night by Jennings Michael Burch
Hope Was Here_ by Joan Bauer
Oh, and Vanessa, my 15-year-old says she, "Cried like a baby at the end of the FIRE-US trilogy."
Bringing Up the Bones by Lara M. Zeises
Pat Conroy's The Great Santini
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Moss

Flamingnet February Enewsletter

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1. New and Advance Books Recently Reviewed On Flamingnet
What is normal, anyway? Kate Klise's book Deliver Us from Normal is an intriguing, adolescent view on what normal is and why it is
so important to children and teenagers.

ANACAEONA Edwidge Danticat
Quisqueya is the name of the land currently called Haiti, and the time now is 1490. Anacaona is a young lady, and heir with her brother Behechio to the throne of Xaragua, a section of Quisqueya. Anacaona gets her hair cut off, a Native American ritual sending her into adulthood. Now that she is in adulthood, she can marry. Caonabo', the chief of the land of Maguana, which is a different section of Quisqueya, is looking for a wife, and he chooses Anacaona.

Poor Hiccup. He wants to be as good a Viking pirate as his father, Stoick the Vast, but his absolutely average size makes Pirate Training Lessons harder than he thought. But with the help of his best friend Fishlegs and his loyal, if sometimes sulky, pet dragon Toothless, Hiccup is destined for great swordfights, meetings with mysterious strangers, and hilarious treasure- seeking adventures as he learns "How to Be a Pirate."

HUNTER JoyCowley
Jordan and her brothers, Baxter and Robbie, are flying on a small plane, and they crash. Baxter has suffered some wounds in his arm. They all are hungry. They know they are miles away from civilization, so they have to survive on their own. Yet, they are not completely on their own.

Millicent is a fourteen-year-old girl with an incredible power. Millicent can do magic, and when she is fifteen she will have a wish that will absolutely have to come true. Of course, what should the wish be? Millicent comes to an extreme conflict. Should she use her wish for friendship, brotherhood, or for something she would want?

2. Other Recent Book Reviews
Mia has a perfectly harmless yet rare condition where sights and sounds have a color in her head. Whenever she hears a noise, a color streaks across her vision. She has had trouble in school trying to figure out how numbers can be added together to get another number. To Mia the corresponding number they add up to does not match the color that the original numbers were. As long as she has known about it she has kept it a secret, until now.

John and Philippa are twelve-year old twins that live in New York with a seemingly perfect mother and a short businessman father. It all starts with a trip to the dentist where John and Philippa find that they have to have their wisdom teeth removed. While they are under anesthesia, their djinn-uncle Nimrod puts himself into their dreams and tells them to meet him in London. The kids mysteriously convince their mother and when they ask their father, he seems scared to say no. When they meet their Uncle Nimrod, their mother's brother, they find out that their mothers side of the family is djinn. This means that they have magical powers.

This prequel to The Killer Angels begins before the start of the Civil War; it goes all the way through the first part of the war and stops at the beginning of Gettysburg. It mainly follows four men, Robert E. Lee, Winfield Scott Hancock, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The reader learns about their personal lives and the lives they led as soldiers. Jeff Shaara turns these men's years as soldiers into a beautifully told story that educates as well as entertains.

LORD OF THE KILL Theodore Taylor
Ben's parents have left on a trip to India to do a story about Bengal tiger poachers. Ben's father is a conservationist that has made many people mad with his actions to stop the illegal killing of tigers. They leave Ben, their 18-year- old son in charge of the family's Los Coyotes Big Cat Preserve. Ben handles the responsibility well, and the job is easy, until someone breaks into the preserve.

The book takes place in the future. It starts when Cosmo Hill, formerly an inmate in the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, escapes to a group that calls themselves Supernaturalists. The group now has four members, Cosmo, Mona, Ditto, and Stefan. What they all have in common is the ability to see a creature that they have named Parasites. They are supposedly sucking the last bits of life that injured people have left in them. The Supernaturalists fight these creatures by rushing to places where people have just been injured to ward of the Parasites with their electric rods. Soon, though, a person will give them information that will challenge what they are fighting for.

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On our home page,, we have added a new link to a Word Challenge on our sister site, We have a database of over 6000 vocabulary words, many that appear on standardized tests. Students are presented a defintion and given four choices. For members of there are two other vocabulary sections that include more difficult words with definition and context clues.

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Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen is about two children named Bryce and Julianna who grow up across the street from one another. Each chapter changes back and forth between Bryce and Julianna telling their story. Julianna raises chickens in her yard and sells eggs to all of her neighbors because her family needs the money. She gives the eggs free to Bryce because she likes him. Bryce does not want the eggs because he does not like her and feels they may be diseased. He does not tell her because he does not want to hurt her feelings so he throws them away every morning. One morning after Julianna has delivered the eggs she catches Bryce throwing them away. The story then flips and Bryce tries to win Julianna back because he realizes that she is a kind person and has a lot of feelings.

I liked this book but definitely feel that it is a "girl's book."
by Sister-of-Flamingnet