Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

Posted February 4, 2014 by Brin in Memes, Top Ten Tuesday / 4 Comments

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

I hate to admit it but I am a really big fan of books that will make me cry (though to be fair I can even cry at sad TV advertisements!) I am a bit of a softy and tend to get weepy over even the slightest little thing (to this day the scene in the Disney film ‘Dumbo’ where baby Dumbo is reunited with his mother still makes me bawl)

This list ended up being a little easier than last week to compile (last week was my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post!) mainly because sad books are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Here is my list (in no particular order) that have the power to make me cry like a baby:

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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A tale of first love and all the pain that comes with it. What really makes the book so hard-hitting is Eleanor and her dreadful home situation. Alternately neglected and terrorized at home (and at school by the local bullies), Eleanor really has it tough and my heart was breaking for her. Luckily she meets fellow misfit Park and a lovely, heartfelt connection grows between the two; nurtured by a shared love of comics and music. I really loved this book and it is the type of story that will bring both sad and happy tears to your eyes.

2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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This was a real, honest to goodness, tearjerker of a book. It is a story of how life can change in a split second and one young girl’s choice about whether she will move on from this or give in. It is devastating, heartbreaking and yet irrevocably hopeful at the same time. The sequel Where She Went is even better though not quite as much of a sobfest.

3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

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This book gives me all the feels. It is a beautiful and terrible story. So many little tragedies occur within the book’s pages it hard to pick one that is the most upsetting, but for me (given my own situation at the moment) I would have to say it is the fate of Taylor’s mother that gets to me the most. The story is sad without being overtly melodramatic. As hard as some of the characters have it, you never feel like you are being emotionally manipulated. A devastatingly good read and one of my all-time favourites.

4. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

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Atruly gut-wrenching novel. This book absolutely captivated me and even though I read it for the first time a year ago, I have thought about it often since. It covers a lot of bleak issues such as bullying, abuse, and neglect but still manages to feel hopeful as well. It does not have a happy ending as such, but it is by no means a sad ending – merely a little bit bittersweet.

5. Suicide Watch by Kelly York

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This books topped my list of favourite reads last year and it definitely deserved to be at that number 1 spot. This book could be described as depressing but that really isn’t doing it any kind of justice. It was sad and bleak without a doubt – it broke my heart on numerous occasions – but it also managed to make me smile. The characters are so broken but when they find each other it is truly beautiful to witness.

6. Crush by Laura Susan Johnson

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This was a hard book to read. Many times I found myself tearing up or finding it difficult to swallow. The characters are really put through the ringer in this book – that they are in any way functional is a minor miracle unto itself. Jamie and Temmy really stole my heart. I really loved both of them and wanted only good things for them.

Unfortunately the suffering these poor boys went through during the course of the novel was extremely unsettling and difficult to read. I almost wanted to purge my brain afterwards. Yet, there was a lot of beauty in their story too which cannot be overlooked. I would say this is one of the most emotionally draining books I had ever read. It really made me cry.

7. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

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Rudy and Teeth (the fishboy) broke my heart. I was gutted (terrible pun I know – just trying to inject some humour!) by the things that happened to Teeth in this book. I found this to be one of the most heart-wrenching stories I have ever read. Yes I know that one of the main characters is essentially a merman! A hard-hitting tale that really hit all my buttons, Teeth manages to be whimsical and utterly brutal at the same time. I’m not ashamed to say it made me cry like a baby!

8. The Tied Man by Tabitha McGowan

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What can I say? Stories of abuse hit me right in the feels. The difference with this book is the one being abused is the hero. It is the heroine who is desperate to save him. I loved Finn and Lilith but their story almost broke me. My heart felt battered to the core by the end of this book and at one point I actually had tears streaming down my face. A beautiful and terrible story of love and desire and how these things can be twisted beyond all recognition.

9. Left Drowning by Jessica Park

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I didn’t think Jessica Park could top her last book Flat-Out Love in the sadness factor. She really managed to outdo herself with Left Drowning. The characters in this book have been through so much. Devastating loss, terrible abuse; it is not surprising just how messed up they all are. Blythe and Chris took centre-stage but I found myself more caught up with Sabin. The inner pain that he hides behind an jovial, jolly exterior. A brilliantly sad novel that tore at my emotions – it definitely belongs on this list.

10. Warchild by Karin Lowachee

cry book cover

One of my favourite books EVER. The entire series is devastating and brutal but it is Jos who really stole my soul (he is the POV character in Warchild – the two subsequent books follow different characters but in the same setting). Jos goes through some of the worst abuse you could think of (none of it described in much detail – thank goodness). Although he is fundamentally damaged, there is still hope that he will eventually recover, if he can survive the war-torn universe  in which he resides.

This book is dark – really dark – but it is one of the best books I have had the pleasure of reading. Probably my number 1 Science Fiction read at the very least. The reader is taken along on a psychological journey in the mind of this young man who is only 8 years old when his life is changed forever. Jos must adapt to some truly horrific situations. There is just something about him that makes me want to gather him up in a hug and tell him it will all be OK (although he would probably kick my ass if I tried!)

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4 responses to “Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

  1. I’m so surprised I haven’t seen ‘Eleanor & Park’ on more lists! That book made me cry like a baby, and it was definitely one of those “THIS BOOK KILLED MY SOUL…YOU HAVE TO READ IT!” kind of things 😉

    • Thanks! I was the same with Jellicoe Road – I had read all of Melina Marchetta’s books but for some reason kept putting this one off – when I finally read the book it became an instant favourite!

      I like your list too – I was considering putting Before I Fall on my list as well – very sad book and I loved Kent so much! 🙂

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