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Joyofsixreboot

Need sad or depressing books-cross posted-Help Me Hive

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My 6th grader only likes sad or depressing books. Preferably ones with death. I made her read Nory Ryan's Song and my dd thought it would have been much better if the father had died. She reads anime almost exclusively for entertainment but does read quite well so I really need something with some literary worth that she will slog through. The sadder the better. Go!

Edited by joyofsix

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Well, if it's got an award on the cover there's a very good chance the protagonist's mom/sibling/best friend/pet dies in some brutal fashion, so that's always a good place to start.

 

And no, I'm not just being snarky when I say that :)

 

I'll go through my shelves and see what else I come up with.

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Ahh, I'm silly. Why should I re-invent the wheel? There's naturally a list at TvTropes.

 

I may still come by later and list some books of my own, which may or may not be at TvTropes, but... yeah. The first category is specifically Newbery award winners, but other awards are represented among "literature".

Edited by Tanaqui

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I'll second Where the Red Fern Grows.  I know many who have loved it, present company included, but the ending is a tear jerker.

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She might be a little young, but you could also look at Tuesdays With Morrie if you think she'd like more of a timeline and thoughts of professor as he deals with his upcoming death (written by a former student who met with him every Tuesday).

 

Another she might be young for if adult romantic situations aren't something you want yet (only a small part of the story) is Flowers for Algernon.  This one comes in a short story without the romantic specifics in it if I'm remembering correctly.

 

These are two more I recall fondly.

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I thought The Good Earth was rather depressing, but that might be a bit mature for a sixth grader.

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The First Part Last

May B.

 

These are sad but not depressing.

 

On My Honor, I can't think of the ending right now, but really really sad and hard to read.

Maybe any YA lit from the 70s-80s.

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Nectar in the Sieve is one of the most depressing things I have ever read.  She might be too young for it, though.

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The Fault in Our Stars when she is a little older.

The Bridge to Terebithia, totally.

David Copperfield--I don't remember exactly why, but I found this book utterly depressing when I read it at 8 or so.

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Thanks guys. She's read many of these but I got some new ideas. She has had a pet dies period, a concentration camp period, a best friend dies period. I suspect she will grow up, dye her hair black and think deep thoughts in coffee houses.

Edited by joyofsix
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Well, if it's got an award on the cover there's a very good chance the protagonist's mom/sibling/best friend/pet dies in some brutal fashion, so that's always a good place to start.

 

And no, I'm not just being snarky when I say that :)

 

I'll go through my shelves and see what else I come up with.

 

Yes. I have a child how doesn't handle depressing books well and tries to avoid them. She only reads the ones that won awards 30-40 years ago. They are not as burtal than what gets awards nowadays.

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Pretty much anything by Lurlene MacDaniel (I think she has a few where the person learns to cope with a chronic health issue and doesn't die, but not many). Maybe not the absolute best from a literary standpoint, but as much tragic death as you could possibly want.

 

I agree about Where The Red Fern Grows, Bridge to Terabithia, and On My Honor.

 

A Taste of Blackberries.

 

A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry

 

The Birchbark House by Louise Ehrlich

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My sixth grader also likes sad books. :D

 

Here's a few he's enjoyed recently:

 

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Counting By 7's by Holly Sloan

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

 

I'll bet she'd also like a lot of Sharon Creech's books, many of which have "sad" topics as big ones and are perfect for this age.

 

In addition to those and some of the above suggestions, I'd also dive into things like WWII and Holocaust books as well as more recent big world problem based books. So things like Number the Stars or Red Scarf Girl.

 

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If she's already been through a concentration camp stage, how do you feel about rape? She can always try Speak. Definitely cathartic, though it has a somewhat happier ending than many of these options.

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I answered in your other thread.  Copying here: 

 

My daughter mentioned "dead dog books" as well as Bridge to Terabithia as well as The Giver.

 

ETA: Lord of the Flies (though it has a happy-ish ending)

 

Regards,

Kareni

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The Divergent series (I haven't read it but my dds informed me that the protagonist dies in the third book)

Hunger Games trilogy (lots of dying)

The Graveyard Book (family murdered at beginning, but not a sad ending)

 

My youngest read the Divergent series as a 6th grader and is in the middle of the HG trilogy. FYI many families wouldn't do these books this young (I didn't with my older dd but youngest hits stuff right after her sister typically).

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We are listening to The Green Glass Sea. It gets really sad towards the end and the whole thing is a coming of age story of two awkward girls set during World War II.

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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes?  I never read this but I have heard a lot about it.

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I don't know if these are too old for a 6th grader, you will want to read descriptions and reviews, but I thought these were sad.

 

The Book Thief

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Sea of Tranquility

All the Bright Places

Me Before You

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Torey Hayden's books are also about right for that age. They built my empathy for abused and disturbed children so much, coming from a normal-ish home myself. They also had good endings by and large, but were heavy to get through.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0312425848?keywords=voices%20from%20chernobyl&qid=1452822664&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

 

Voices from Chernobyl

 

This isn't YA fiction, it's an oral history of the people who lived near the reactor or were sent to clean up (without protective equipment). It's massively depressing but, at the same time, extremely interesting. Since it's an oral history and translated into English, the reading level isn't too hard. You might want to preread for language and seeing if it's too depressing.

 

The author, Svetlana Alexievich, won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year.

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That's interesting about your daughter.  I often want to read sad books too.  Not really because they are sad, but because they often hit upon important/extreme life events that feel very real and make you think.  They are also very inspirational.   I usually pick up a WWII biography and get my fill that way!   

 

Has she read Diary of Anne Frank?  Corrie Ten-Boom?  Other Holocaust books:  I Have Lived A Thousand Years;  Alicia, My Story.

 

I Am Malala sure has sadness in it, but it is also very inspirational!  

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I think almost all "classics" are depressing. If it's got an award, they probably tried to make kids cry. 

 

My kids liked "A Dog's Purpose" it's sad but not overwhelming sad.

 

As a kid myself, one of the only books I ever reread, and one of the only books I ever cried with (every time, too), was Alex, the Life of A Child. I don't know how I got a hold of it, but it's definitely a tear jerker. 

 

Doomsday Book is pretty sad- almost everyone dies.

 

Animal Farm (poor Boxer)

 

Black Beauty

 

Lord of the Flies

 

Watership Down

 

The Outsiders

 

Into the Wild

 

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Has she read Summer of My German Soldier? I still *hate* this book. SO DEPRESSING. The poor girl is abused by her father, then made to live in a mental hospital at the end of the book. 

 

I've not read it, but The War That Saved My Life was recently read by our homeschool kids. Depressing themes abound.

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