Does It Really Have To End ‘Happily Ever After’?

beginnings

I’m a big reader of contemporary romances – the proverbial ‘happy ever after’ stuff.  For a change of pace, I’ve decided to read books that end not quite so happy.  Here’s a selection of titles.

rainwaterRainwater – Sandra Brown – In a time of drought and economic depression in 1934, Ella Barron runs her boardinghouse in Texas while caring for her son, Solly, and responds to the calm influence of one of her boarders, David Rainwater, while facing the tension and uncertainty around her.

 

pilots wifeThe Pilot’s Wife – Anita Shreve – When her husband, a pilot, dies in an airplane crash off the Irish coast, Kathryn Lyons finds herself in the media spotlight as rumors abound of her husband’s shocking secret past.

 

english patientThe English Patient – Michael Ondaatje – Portrays the convergence of four damaged lives in a bomb-riddled Italian villa in the last days of the war.

 

awakeningThe Awakening – Kate Chapin – In turn-of-the century New Orleans, Edna Pontellier, a woman who feels trapped in her stifling role as wife and mother, falls passionately in love with another man.

 

me beforeMe Before You – JoJo Moyes – Taking a job as an assistant to extreme sports enthusiast Will, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident, Louisa struggles with her employer’s acerbic moods and learns of his shocking plans before demonstrating to him that life is still worth living.

 

time travelTime Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger – Passionately in love, Clare and Henry vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as they struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition that casts Henry involuntarily into the world of time travel.

 

my sisterMy Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult – Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Kate begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body.

 

art of racingThe Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein – Evaluating his life on the eve of his death, atypical canine Enzo considers the sacrifices his master, Denny Swift, has made in his pursuit of becoming a professional race car driver, and the dog’s own efforts to preserve the Swift family.

 

bridgesBridges of Madison County – Robert James Walker – On assignment shooting the covered bridges in Iowa, photographer Robert Kincaid falls in love with Iowa native Francesca Johnson during four days of love, magic, and beauty.

 

girlThe Girl With The Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier – A poor seventeenth-century servant girl knows her place in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, but when he begins to paint her, nasty whispers and rumors circulate throughout the town.

What to Read After, or While Waiting for, The Fault in Our Stars

Are you among the masses that read and loved The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? If not, know that the book is emotionally charged. While considered a young adult novel because of the ages of the two main characters, the book has been read and raved about from teens and adults alike. It is not an easy read, but one that is worth the emotional investment that it seems to require. The book is about sixteen year old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, who has accepted her terminal diagnosis. Then a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob’s (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
Teenaged Luna, who lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her movie director father, tries to piece together the death of her mother with the seven unheard messages left on her forgotten cell phone.

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Told from their own viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Jill, in grief over the loss of her father, and Mandy, nearly nineteen, are thrown together when Jill’s mother agrees to adopt Mandy’s unborn child but nothing turns out as they had anticipated.

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
As she tries to sort out her feelings of love, seventeen-year-old Cass, a spunky math genius with an introverted streak, finds a way to memorialize her dead best friend.

Before I Die by Jenny Downham
A terminally ill teenaged girl makes and carries out a list of things to do before she dies.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.

Still looking for more? Then you might also be interested in: Saving June by Hannah Harrington, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Ask the Passengers by A S King, Every Day by David Levithan, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan,  The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A S King,  Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Where She Went by Gayle Forman, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer Lish McBride,  Wonder by R J Palacio, The Cardturner by Louis Sachar, and Speechless by Hannah Harrington.