7 Books That Destroyed Me in 2016

I read 69 books in 2016. In addition to 2016 being the worst year, like ever, I read some extremely gut wrenching books. Please prepare yourself for this is why I sometimes consider myself an emotional wreck.

 

7. The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder – read in July

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Wendy Wunder’s second novel follows high school seniors Hannah and Zoe as they travel from their New Jersey town to however far west the road will take them. Zoe, whose struggle with bipolar disorder led them on this trip, teaches Hannah all about the “intangible things” in life. Filled with romance, drama and even aliens (sort-of), this quick read didn’t quite capture my full attention but the ending did leave me unsettled.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

Cry Factor: 😭😭 (out of 5)

 

6. The Boys on the Boat by Daniel James Brown – read in March

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The unbelievable true story about the University of Washington’s rowing team and their journey to the 1936 Olympics was one of the best books I have ever read. The majority of the book tells the story of Joe Rantz, whose hardships shaped him into the man he became. After witnessing his mother’s death and being kicked out of the house by his new stepmother, Joe had to fend for himself for most of his life. When he started at college at UW he took a chance and tried out for rowing. This last minute read of mine turned out to be one of the most inspirational book I’ve ever read. Joe Rantz truly was an unknown hero.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

Cry Factor: 😭😭😭 (out of 5)

 

5. Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley – read in July

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A last minute choice of mine at the library, this book is about a group of teenagers who flee their small town after one of them kills their abusive father. Haunted by the memory of her dead mother, Olivia is desperately trying to not have history repeat itself as she goes to the ends of the earth to help her fugitive best friend, Jamie. Written beautifully, this surprising book had me in tears by the end as Olivia and Jamie’s story came to a close.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

Cry Factor: 😭😭😭😭 (out of 5)

 

4. A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams – read in July

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Three years after reading my first Beatriz Williams book, I finally picked up her pivotal novel. Not sure what I was expecting, I went into the book hoping for a simple summer romance. Nope. Like her other novels, Williams tells the story in two different periods in time. One half was set in 1931 as Lily Danes falls in love with the handsome Nick Greenwald. In 1938 though, Lily is forced to relive her past with the return of Nick and his new bride-Budgie-who was also once Lily’s volatile best friend. All of this leads up to the climax of the story: the 1938 hurricane that left Rhode Island in shambles. While not as heartbreaking as some of the other books on this list, what really killed me was the drama. Oh the drama. I’ve never wanted to reach into the pages of a book and throttle each character as much as this one. While it did end on a much happier note than one might expect, the emotional roller coaster I experienced while reading it greatly overshadowed the book’s final chapters.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

Cry Factor: 😭😭😭😭 (out of 5)

 

3. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (also known as Jellicoe Road) – read in March

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Technically this was the second time I’ve read this book but it will always hit me right in the feels. Jellicoe Road was written by Australian author Melina Marchetta and is her most popular book. It follows a teenager Taylor Markham who has just become a house leader at her school. While simultaneously waging a “war” against two other rival groups in town, she attempts to uncover the mystery surrounding her friend’s disappearance. What I love most about this book is the characters and how well they were written. The relationships Taylor forges throughout the book are what make it so unbelievably real and even heartbreaking.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

Cry Factor: 😭😭😭😭 (out of 5)

 

2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – read in April

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Jojo Moyes’s most popular novel, which was later turned into a movie, was put on my to-read list after seeing the trailer for the upcoming film. Without giving too much away, the story is about Lou Clark, who accepts a job as a caretaker for paralyzed Will. Lou suddenly finds herself part of a bigger plan in the eyes of Will’s parents as he continues to derail in his mental and physical condition. Full of heartache, family, morality and of course, pain, this book shouldn’t be overlooked because of its hype (or controversy).

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

Cry Factor: 😭😭😭😭😭 (out of 5)

 

1. Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams – read in November

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This was the third Beatriz Williams book I had read in 2016. I don’t even know where to begin. The final book in the Schuyler Sisters trilogy is about the lives of two women whose lives intersect in 1966 when Pepper Schuyler decides to sell an antique car to Annabelle Dommerich. The same car that helped Annabelle escape Nazi Germany so many years before. Half of the story is about Annabelle’s early years in Europe at the height of World War II. After a shocking discovery tears her apart from the love of her life, a Jewish man named Stefan, she rushes into a marriage with a Nazi 19 years her senior after learning she is pregnant with Stefan’s child. As the years go by and the war escalates, Annabelle learns more about her first love and her Nazi husband. The other half of the book is set in 1966 as Pepper Schuyler, who got pregnant by a married senator, is pretty much taken under Annabelle’s wing. As the book progresses, Annabelle’s past is slowly revealed, first by breaking our hearts, then putting them back together only to tear them apart once again and then kinda-of-sort-of stitching them back together haphazardly at the end. With nods to Williams’s first novel A Hundred Summers and continuing with the stories told in the first two books of the series, Infinite Sea left me utterly destroyed. Even after 3 months I am still recovering from this one. I don’t know whether to be mad at Williams for writing such a heart-wrenching book or to applaud her.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

Cry Factor: 😭😭😭😭😭 (out of 5) – but seriously, DESTROYED me.

 

If you want to follow my adventures in reading this coming year you can find me on Goodreads

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