Books allow you to escape reality for the short while you are reading them, or a long while depending on if you can put the book down or not. And these six books are definitely ones you won’t be able to put down! Escape into their stories and lose yourself there. When you come back to reality you’ll be a changed person, having found a new appreciation for life.
Of course, tears streaming out your eyes are a side effect of these books so be prepared with a box of tissues next to you and a blanket to cuddle into afterward. You’ll need the comfort!
By the way, there will be slight spoilers in the descriptions but I’ll keep it to the bare minimum so I don’t ruin the books for you.
1. A Man Called Ove, Fredrick Backman
When I was first given this book it went on the pile ‘to be read at some point’, the blurb didn’t exactly sell it very well. It tells of the grumpy old man, Ove and how his way of thinking is old-fashioned and focused around nostalgia. It doesn’t exactly stand out. But once you’ve started reading, its a book you fall in love with.
Ove repeatedly tries to commit suicide through the book, finding new ways after each failed attempt. But with each attempt you empathise with him more and more, wanting someone to step in and stop him. This is a man who misses the love of his life, it’s hard being the one who is left behind in an old married couple. There is a bitter-sweetness to being the first to die, you don’t have to suffer the heartache and loneliness.
But as the book progresses, you see Ove’s character develop as he interacts with his neighbours. He finds that there is more to life than his morning walk checking for litter, he finds love in many more places. And it’s enough to get you to keep fighting on.
So if you want a heartwarming book that’s filled with old, sarcastic humour, then Ove is your man. You’ll be crying at the romance and laughing at his insults. A rollercoaster of a book, but one that’s definitely worth a read.
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2. If I Stay, Gayle Forman
This time it isn’t about suicide, Mia, a seventeen-year-old musically talented female was involved in a car crash with her family. Her mother, father, and brother are all gone, but Mia is still fighting on life support. As a spirit over her body seeing those around her, she has to make the ultimate decision: to chose to live and fight or to die and be with her family.
Which would you choose?
It’s an awful decision to make, but one for Mia that needs to be answered. Gayle Forman tells some hard truths in the book, including: ‘I realise now that dying is easy. Living is hard.’
By the end of the book, you’ll be in torment over what you think Mia should choose. And what you, yourself, would choose. Guaranteed you will be crying your eyes out at the heartstrings this book pulls at.
And hopefully, you’ll come out the other side with a renewed appreciation for the life you’re living. Yes, it’s hard, but that’s what makes it worth it.
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3. Luckiest Girl Alive, Jessica Knoll
The title is misleading, nothing about Ani FaNelli is lucky, she’s had a traumatic past and that still affects her in everything she does. But when a TV crew comes to make a documentary about her life she is forced to face up to her demons. How she manages this is outstanding.
Knoll tells the story so brutally that it churns your stomach. You see in her writing the pressure we are under to have a perfect life, but who really is perfect? I don’t think anyone in the world lives a perfect life, and we need to realise this.
No matter how it may appear on the outside, all those social media accounts that look like they have it all, they really don’t. Everyone has a story, everyone has a past. This book teaches you to embrace it, that to move on is to acknowledge it happened.
So drop the facade and embrace the Luckiest Girl Alive. You’ll come out the other side battered and bruised but you’ll understand how important it is to live true to yourself.
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4. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
If you haven’t read this book yet, then get on with it! What are you doing? There are two more books in the series to read as well now.
Me Before You is one of those books that make you wish you could meet someone like Will Traynor, to have the connection and the romance that they have. But the romantic side of the story is not the reason that you should be reading the book.
Will is paralysed from the neck down, meaning he cannot move from his chair and is dependent on everyone else’s help. This leads him to try and take his own life, to which Louisa Clark steps in as a sort of cheer-up buddy.
By the time you have finished the book, you will feel so lucky to have a body that functions, you won’t want to take it for advantage again. Will signs off the book by saying ‘Just Live’, a very powerful statement from a man who wanted nothing more to live but couldn’t.
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5. A Company of Swans, Eva Ibbotson
This is a book about freedom and chasing the things you want to do. Harriet Morton is an over-protected woman, her father and aunt won’t let her do anything. Even pulling her out of school because an overly educated woman is looked down upon. But ballet is Harriet’s escape, metaphorically and physically.
Harriet is picked up by a tour that is heading to South America, which she runs away with to fully live the life she’s wanted. There are plenty of adventures and laughs as she gets herself into mischief and finds romance. But her father and those back home are always trying to track her down.
You’ll realise by the end of the book that you are living your life, no one else’s. And that also means that no one should be living your life for you, making your decisions. So stand up for yourself and chase your wants and dreams. Go do ballet till your heart’s content.
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6. A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Although the title would have you believe it’s a children’s book, you’d be surprised. Burnett has told a heart-wrenching story of a little girl who is put in a boarding school while her father goes off to fight in the war. They are a wealthy family, and the little girl gets nothing but the best. In any normal scenario, this would make a spoilt child, but Sara is the most well-mannered and adorable child you’ll ever come across.
But when her father dies at war and the money stops, Sara is left to fend for herself. Rather than being a student at the school, she becomes a servant. But even with the change in circumstances, Sara never loses her essence. She continues to believe that there is good in everything and everyone. As long as you believe.
I know that sounds like a fairytale, and it slightly is, but who doesn’t love a happy ending?
Sara teaches all her fellow students that they are all princesses. It’s not just Sara because of her wealth, even with no money she is still a princess. Every other girl is a princess. You just need imagination and then you’re surrounded by all the richest treasures, food and drinks. Warmth.
This book will move you to tears, and create one of those heartbreaking smiles. You’ll leave the book knowing that as long as you stay positive there isn’t anything the world can throw at you that you can’t handle.
So there we have it, six books that will change you and have you weeping. Each book will improve your outlook on life, teaching you valuable life lessons in how you approach the day. To stay positive, to live to the fullest, to know that each day is a blessing.