The best books about emotions and suspense

Debra Chapoton Author Of A Fault of Graves: YA High School Thriller
By Debra Chapoton

The Books I Picked & Why

Echo of Escape: A Novel of Misogyny, Tragedy, and Unconditional Love

By Jessica Michaels

Echo of Escape: A Novel of Misogyny, Tragedy, and Unconditional Love

Why this book?

This novel is partly fictional, but also based on the author’s life and traumatic first marriage. There’s suspense for sure and a range of feelings. I cried hard in some parts, smiled in others, and felt sorry, relieved, and even joyful in other sections. I had no idea what would happen next. The story played out like a movie in my head, full of my two favorite things: emotional engagement and nervous fear for the main character. This is a thriller that follows a woman on a daunting personal journey that will pluck at your heartstrings.


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Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Why this book?

Where the Crawdads Sing is a heartbreaking coming of age story with a twist. It was hard to turn pages as I was wringing my hands throughout. The main character is a child whose situation gripped my heart and squeezed and squeezed. The poor thing only yearns to be loved and I wanted to reach into the pages, pull her out, and hug her until it hurt. Delia Owens has a way with suspense too and startles the reader with unexpected events. This is a moving story about survival in a way I hope no one has to endure.


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13 Reasons Why

By Jay Asher

13 Reasons Why

Why this book?

I’d heard about the emotional impact of this book, but wasn’t prepared for the theme of teen suicide to be so absorbing. I read the whole thing in shock and suspense and a whole lot of hope – hope that when I got to the end the main character wouldn’t have done the unthinkable. There are so many different emotions in this novel that any reader will be able to connect one way or another. We’ve all been teens facing bullying, rejection, first love, misunderstandings, and all that other “stuff” that tears you apart or makes you stronger. 


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Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Why this book?

Whoa! Unreliable narrator or unbelievable plot twist? This is an edge-of-your-seat read and, of course, the book is better than the movie. I dove into this one with no expectations and the emotions swept over me and pulled me deeper into the deception. This is an ingenious thriller, hence much suspense. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. These are flawed characters who do despicable things, but oh, the suspense, the passionate reactions, the emotional sensations; all these things keep you reading and feed those insatiable demands for more literary thrills.


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The Fault in Our Stars

By John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

Why this book?

I picked this one to round out the five books about emotions and suspense partly because I like the title which has a double meaning (like mine: A Fault of Graves). Talk about emotional overload, whew, this one grips your heart. If you’re a softy like me, you’ll cry for these fictional characters who are dealt a low blow at a young age. Death is imminent. In my very first year teaching I had a student die and that sorrow has never left me. The suspense in this book is a steady groan, unlike the more striking bursts in the previous recommendations, but the steady nervous apprehension is sustained with ups and downs in the emotional department. As usual, the book is far better than the movie.


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