The book that changed your life

ELLE readers share their meaningful reads

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In the August issue of ELLE we asked the likes of Tom Odell, Hadley Freeman and ELLE's Rebecca Lowthorpe which book changed their lives, and then turned the tables on you.

If there was a book that made you cry, or an author that changed your life, we asked for you to share it with us.

If the humble book can make someone fall in love, what else could it have the power to do? Lots of you were keen to share.

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From words that gave you your first taste of heartbreak, to historical novels that inspired careers - you told us about the books that matter the most to you.

Read below for our pick of the best entries.

'The book that always makes me cry, without a doubt, is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. I have never experienced such gut wrenching sadness reading a book. It taught me that life shouldn't be taken for granted; everything can change in an instant and love doesn't always conquer all.' - Joanne Brodie

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'F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is the novel that has inspired me. It made me realise the realities of life and that I need to work for what I want. Furthermore, it changed the way I think and never fails to make me cry.' - Sophie Traynor

'The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is the book that truly touched my heart. It has made me want to live my life to the fullest, as you never know when the end could be.' - Ellie Shannon

'The book that has touched me the most is A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen. It has made me cry, made me think and most of all, opened up my heart to the homeless.' - Cerys Keen

'After studying English Literature for three years, I had lost the feeling of what it was like to read for pleasure. But Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin reignited my passion for literature and was the reason why I did so well in my final examinations.I'd give almost anything to relive my first reading of it. She beautifully merges history and fairytales, whilst weaving multiple story-lines together to produce one of the greatest modern literary masterpieces.' - Laura McLean

'The book that has never been bettered for me is Mikhail Bulgakov's Master and Margarita. I was originally motivated to pick it up after reading the winding allegory of Franz Ferdinand's B-Side Love and Destroy, where naked lovers fly through Moscow nights. Though originally banned in Russia, it is a flurry of components: a love story, black magic, biting satire and a giant cat with a penchant for vodka and chess.' - Natasha Morris

'To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee seems to capture every element of human nature. From sadness, happiness to fear, it also addresses fundamental elements of society at the time, such as prejudice and inequality. It's a book I can't live without; it gives me perspective. I read it every year without fail.' - Hollie Griggs

'I was 7 when I read Matilda by Roald Dahl. At that age, I basically was Matilda minus the horrible parents. I've read this book so many times the cover has fallen off. Each time, I am reminded that reading is cool, being clever is cool, and good things do happen.' - Emily Howe

'The book that changed me, made me cry and is my absolute favorite is Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høegh. I think it's got it all; adventure, sex, cruelty and it describes so geniously the unfairness of a child's death.' - Eva Simonsen

'The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel by Ken Follett about the building of a cathedral in England. It traces the development of Gothic architecture following the Romanesque architecture, but also raised my passion for medieval history and architecture. It droves my life towards an architecture school in Brazil.' - Agatha Right

'Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy was the novel that truly broke my heart. The heroine, Tess, is put through hell. However, she holds her head up high in a man's world and keeps her pride until her tragic ending, all of which make her an inspiration.' - Olivia-Grace Clark

'I fell in love with Lauren Oliver's Delirium series. Amor delirium nervosa, also known as love, is a disease! It has a cure, but would you really want it? My heart was wrenched in two by this story of love and loss. And it made me want to fight for love.' - Susa Dickerson

'The book that I read over and over again is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I just love it. It taught me to never judge people before you truly know them. The story is old, but amazing and every time I read it I fall in love with Mr. Darcy. It hasn't been a life-changing book but I truly love it. Jane Austen is amazing and I can't believe someone can write such beautiful stories.' - Marie, from Belgium

'For those of us that grew up as a bit of a Hermione, the Harry Potter books will be forever inseparable from our teenage years. Hogwarts is really just a big, mixed comprehensive school in Essex. Even after an English Literature degree – it's Harry I'll never forget.' - Emma Wightwick

'Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country is brilliantly depressing and dually heart evoking. Considering my distaste (or ignorance) of all things Western, I was surprisingly entranced by the leading lady Udine Spragg. Never have I seen such a vampire who victimized her lovers and literally left them suicidal. I too wish to be insatiable and uncompromising.' - Shanice Brette

The ELLE writing competition is back in September

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Words by Louise Donovan

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