It is not the books we read and go on with life that we remember. It is the books we read and keep contemplating that stick with us for life. I have often found myself having a hard time coming back to reality after reading a book that is so well written that it completely captured me in the story line. The list of books below didn’t just captured my attention for a few days, but I still carry their lessons with me today.
“My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult
“My Sister’s Keeper” is one of the most emotionally riveting books I have ever read. It tells the story of Anna, who feels the only reason she was born was to save her Leukemia-ridden sister Kate. Since the day Anna was born, she has donated organs, blood and bone marrow for Kate. The book reaches a point where thirteen-year-old Anna makes a choice about what she does for her sister, and it starts to tear the family apart. It gives the reader an inside look on the emotions and challenges families with sick children face.
The movie “My Sister’s Keeper” may be based on this book, but the book’s story line is very different. “My Sister’s Keeper” the book doesn’t focus on Kate’s cancer as much as it more focuses on Anna and her choice to be emancipated from her family, so she has a choice in medical procedures done to her. While Kate’s point of view is in the book, it isn’t as much her story as it is Anna’s story.
This was one of the first books I read by Jodi Picoult and the first thing I noticed about Picoult as an author is that she has a great way of taking cliche topics like diseases, pregnancy and relationships and giving them a unique spin. This book focuses on childhood cancer, but instead of just the traditional cancer patient’s journey from the patient’s point of view, “My Sister’s Keeper” focuses on someone indirectly affected by cancer, and this gives the reader a more broad view of the disease.
“Hate List” by Jennifer Brown
“Hate List” is a unique and engrossing fictional story. It tells the tale of two loners, Nick and Valerie ,who find comfort in each other’s company. Eventually, their relationship turns romantic, but soon, Valerie discovers the person she goes to for comfort has a dark, abusive side. Together, Valerie and Nick create a list of people they hate within their school. For Valerie, it is just a list, but for Nick, it becomes the people he has to kill, and he eventually does in a mass school shooting. After Nick is arrested, she has to deal with the aftermath of the shooting.
The book tells the story of Valerie’s guilt over the shooting and how she has to put her life back together afterwards. The book flashes back between the past and present, so readers can see the days leading up to the shooting, as well as the days after. Both the past and present view gives the reader more depth to the story and makes the reader more emotionally involved.
I think this book is a great read because it gives you a new perspective on a contemporary issue that occurs all over our country. I also liked how this book showed the aftermath of the pain caused from the shooting. Brown does an excellent job of putting the reader in the place of someone who is bullied like Valerie.
“Thirteen Reasons Why” By Jay Asher
I could not put this book down. “Thirteen Reasons Why” is a fiction that tells why Hannah Baker decides to end her life through 13 cassette tapes, each one giving a reason. This story takes an unexpected twist and really illustrates to readers how it feels to have depression, showing a unique view of suicide. Years after reading this book, I still think about it and the message it shares with its audience.
For me, I read this book at a time I really needed it. Two people very close to me committed suicide, and this book put things into perspective for me. “Thirteen Reasons Why” explained what maybe was going through their minds when they passed away, and I took a lot of comfort and understanding from that. “Thirteen Reasons Why” is a great read for anyone who has been impacted by suicide because it gives you a deeper understanding of the emotions and feelings of those who contemplate suicide.
“The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult
I love anything revolving around World War II, so when I read the synopsis of “The Storyteller” and saw it was by Jodi Picoult, I knew I had to read it. “The Storyteller” follows 25-year-old Sage, who has had a tough life. Sage befriends a man named Josef, who she finds out is a former SS officer, and he wants her to help him end his life. Josef tells Sage the things he did during the Holocaust, which deeply affects her because her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.
“The Storyteller” touches on redemption and forgiveness. What I loved most is how the story gave not just Sage’s journey, but also other characters involved. It was interesting to see how they learned from each other and how each character grew. What I took from the book was to not look at someones past and judge them but to see them for the person they are.