We’ve run into these types of novels before. They lure you into a false sense of security and then BAM! Someone’s dead, you’re left with a gaping hole where your heart used to be, and your eyes sting. They moisten. Suddenly the book rips the lid off of everything that’s been building up into a nice big cry and it. is. on.
Here are five books that targeted me when I read them on public transport.
5 – The Short Life of Sparrows by Emm Cole
Once again, this book features on a list. I read the ending of this in two physical locations – my bedroom just before going to sleep (I say sleep… I mean lying awake with my eyes wide open wondering how anyone could do that to their readers). The other was halfway between Eden Hills and Coromandel on the train after TAFE. I had some serious jaw-grinding going on to stop the sads. Had to distract myself by counting ducks as we went past the national park.
4, Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Picked this up from the library thinking it would be your standard apocalyptic survival story – a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. Instead it was the heartwrenching tale of a girl who is as hard as the land she’s grown up on. This book is brutal. It earned a chin wobble just out of the Adelaide Showgrounds. A few commuters saw my eyes mist up and edged away.
I did, however, get my own seat for the entire journey home #win.
3, Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
The first of two of Hand’s books on this list. Everyone who has read this book knows which part made me crumple into a ball and stifle sobs into my scarf. Why did I read this on a train? I don’t know. What makes it even stupider is that I’d already read this book and knew it was coming. I thought I’d toughened since last reading it. I thought I could handle it.
I was wrong.
Luckily I was distracted by the Lynton tunnel before I burst into five-star tears and howled at the ceiling.
(This entire series will be featured in a future post).
2, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Sci-fi Titanic with enough spooky elements to make me break out in goosebumps as the train left Glenalta. I’ve always found sci-fi to be heartbreaking in a very unique way (I mean, there are tears, and then there are Doctor Who tears, amirite?), and this book seized upon all the ways that sci-fi can exploit your feels. Apart from being incredibly haunting and beautiful, there’s a twist which made me cry confused tears at the back of an empty carriage. I’m still confused, actually. However this hasn’t stopped the book from making my ‘to-buy-hardcover-list’ – the highest honor I can grant a book.
1, The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
I’d like to preface this by saying that I’m not the only reader this book took down in public. Plenty of other Goodread’s reviewers have echoed my experience.
Cynthia Hand’s second book on this list, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is about a teenage girl dealing with her brother’s suicide. Why did I decide to read this on a train? Because once you start reading you can’t stop. This book took me out all the way from Mitcham to Blackwood. I’m talking silent, shoulder-shaking tears. Luckily the other passengers took in the title of the book before judging me for crying into my Game of Thrones scarf. They even seemed sympathetic (I guarentee this intensified my tears. I was a few caring glances away from throwing my arms around the woman next to me). This book makes you need hugs. Make sure you have a hug-buddy who is not a train passenger just trying to get home.