Ten Characters Who Have Gone Through Traumatic/Tough Things

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Characters Who X….I chose Top Ten Characters Who Have Gone Through Traumatic/Tough Things

I just have this thing for characters who persevere and overcome hard things. It’s inspiring! I tried not to repeat books that I talked about in my why I read YA about grief/loss/death so check out all those because those characters have definitely been through a lot!




Sophie from Far From You by Tess Sharpe: Man, an accident that almost kills you and then gets you hooked on pain meds. Then your bff is murdered and everyone blames you because they think it was because of a drug deal gone bad? I’d say Sophie has been through A LOT. I haven’t posted about this one yet of this one but it should be on your list!

Evan from Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian: The summary alludes to an assault that happens to Evan and my heart just broke for him and how this act of violence of affected him so deeply. My thoughts on this one to come!

Nastya AND Josh from The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay: This is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. I can guarantee you an explosion of feelings when you read this story with two characters who have had their share of hardships. Josh has experienced a lot of loss. Nastya experiences something traumatic and life changing that takes a lot away from her. GOD MY HEART WHEN I THINK OF THIS BOOK.

Caggie from The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle: I can’t imagine losing a sibling and in the way that Caggie did. The guilt and the grief that plagued her just emanated off the page. Plus another THING that happens in this book.

Alexi and Bodee from Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens: I don’t necessarily want to tell you what happens to Alexi or Bodee because it doesn’t say in the summary but just know they’ve been through a lot individually!

Valerie from Hate List by Jennifer Brown: MAN, I just can’t imagine even going through the trauma of a school shooting but for the shooter to be your boyfriend?? Such a great book!

Coley from Live Through This by Mindi Scott: I’m not going to give away what Coley is dealing with but WOW her story was one of the hardest for me to read. Definitely an uncomfortable read!
Alice from Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy: This book made me think quite a bit and it also broke my heart. Alice is diagnosed with leukemia and goes through all the treatments and gets really, really close to dying and then suddenly it is gone — she’s cancer free. She’s lived and she’s not prepared for that because she has lived as though she’s dying and suddenly has to come to terms with the things she said/did when she thought she was dying and also deal with how to LIVE again. I can’t imagine how traumatic and confusing this could be.

Angie from Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley: Being kidnapped and held captive for 3 years and not really being able to remember anything?  YEP very traumatic. This was a read I think was pretty damn underrated last year!

Lina from Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys: Well this is an obvious one and probably, in my mind, the most traumatic and hard on this list. She is a Lithuanian girl during the Stalin regime and endures getting sent to a Siberian work camp. This story made me BAWL. Mostly because this happened to people for real and my heart breaks for what awful awful things happened.


So tell me…have you read any of these? Recommend to me some books with characters who go through traumatic/tough things!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I haven’t read many of these, but I really loved Between Shades of Grey. Have you read Out of the Easy by chance? I loved it even more and that character had a tough life as well – raised in a brothel with a manipulative and distant prostitute mother and forced to basically raise herself. Such a crazy setting, but such a beautiful book.

    • I did read Out of Easy! Really enjoyed that one as well! It was so close to making my list!! I loved the setting so much — unique and felt so gritty! Pretty much I will read anything Ruta writes!

  2. Really interesting concept for this week’s top 10 list. I haven’t read any of these yet, although a few have been on my radar for awhile. Are there any in particular that I should be sure not to miss?

    • You should absolutely NOT miss The Sea of Tranquility. If you are into historical fiction, Between Shades of Grey should not be missed either! Those would be my absolute TOP picks!

  3. Great list, Jamie. I still need to read many of these books, but they’re definitely on my radar. I also think books with characters that go through hard times and persevere are inspiring to read about.

  4. The only book on your list that I’ve read is Between Shades of Gray and I can’t believe that Lina survived. Can you? It is an amazing book.

    • I definitely saw a different outcome to that book once we got closer to the end and it got worse and worse. I can’t believe people really survived things like that. It’s amazing!

  5. I will definitely be adding a few of these that I haven’t read to my TBR list.

  6. I haven’t read many of these but most of them are on my TBR. Great choice this week! =)

  7. To be honest, I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned.. A lot are on my tbr, though and I want to read a bit more about characters with hard pasts

  8. I’ve only read Pretty Girl 13, but I really liked it. I will definitely add some of these book to my TBR list, though, they seem great. 🙂
    Here’s my TTT

  9. Great topic choice! Completely agree with Nastya/Josh and Alexi/Bodee. Poor kids. 🙁 Augustus/Hazel were the first to come to mind for your topic.

  10. A lot of these are on my TBR list, but I just haven’t gotten to them yet – there are so many books! AH! Anyway, I’m excited to read a lot of these so I’ll know to prepare myself when I do pick them up 🙂

    I went a different route with my Top Ten Tuesday – best friends!

  11. So many books I need to read. I’ve read Faking Normal, but that’s it from your list. I love reading about characters who have been through really tough things. I think it’s so wonderful to watch them pull themselves out of that dark place and find their hope again.

  12. Yay for choosing Lina! I can’t wait to read FAKING NORMAL and SIDE EFFECTS.

  13. First of all, I have no idea how I just now realized you had a second blog! The first character who came to mind for me was Caitlin from Dreamland by Sarah Dessen.

  14. Great list. I love Sea of Tranquility and Side Effects May Vary. I have yet to read Far From You or Pretty Girl 13 but I have them on my to read list. Happy Tuesday!

  15. So, I suck. I haven’t read any of these! Very interesting choice for a topic. I need to get to some of these!

  16. You know I haven’t read any of these and feel more inclined to do so now.

  17. I haven’t read any of these. Clearly, I must remedy this right away.

  18. Wow that is a good topic. I’ve never read any of those books, but I love to read these types. I need to check out some of these. Faking Normal seems really interesting. 🙂

    Old follower,

    My Top Ten Tuesday
    Whitney@Shooting Stars Reviews

  19. I haven’t read Faking Normal yet, but I’ve read enough reviews to already have a huge attachment to both characters! I just know that my heart is going to be completely broken when I get around to reading it.

  20. Sea of Tranquility is so amazing! I love the way Nastya and Josh helped each other. Plus, Drew was hilarious. He’s that trustworthy best friend that you really want to smack sometimes but can’t help loving.


  1. […] Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner hosted a list with characters with trauma and tough situations. For those who love a little grittiness in their reading shelf, this is a must-read TTT list. […]