Books That Made You Bawl

I don’t cry very often in books. (Side note: Unless the book involves animals dying. I almost consider that cheating–I mean, if an animal dies in a book, it guarantees tears from me. That’s not fair! I’ve bawled in everything involving hurt/dying animals. I can’t do it.) But that’s not to say that I don’t shed some legitimate tears when it comes to certain books, and in fact, I’ve noticed that for the past few years, there has always been at least one book which has made me sob. Am I just getting sentimental? Anyway. To kick off this Friday, I thought it’d be interesting to post the following question to our PubCrawl gals:

What books have made you bawl, both recently and/or overall?

Kat Zhang

Kat Square I don’t usually cry while reading (heart of stone! sorry!), but my tearing up while reading sad books isn’t too, too rare. However, the only book that’s really made me cry, cry is Ender’s Game, and only after I’d read it through the second time. I think I might have just been having a really bad day that day, though, since my immediate thought after finishing was also “The human race really doesn’t deserve to survive!!!” 😉 I was a dramatic kid.

The Amber Spyglass didn’t make me cry, but I literally couldn’t stop thinking about Lyra and Will for months and months afterward. My heart ACHED for them. I was SO pained. It was one of the first novels I read that ended with separated friends/lovers/whathaveyou, and it just killed me.

Mandy Hubbard

Mandy HubbardI just cried last week over If I Lie by Corrine Jackson. Like, “oh god I am on a train and about to bawl… deeeeeep breaaaath….”.

Erin Bowman

Erin Bowman Of recent reads, The Scorpio Races had me bawling happy, happy tears, and then The Book Thief had me sobbing sad, bittersweet ones. Harry Potter can always get me going, especially Azkaban. And The Book of Lost Things! Oh, TBoLT. I’ve read it three times and it’s become obvious that I am incapable of reading the last chapter without crying hysterically.

Sarah J. Maas

Sarah_thumbnailFinnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles made me a TOTAL mess.

The first time I read The Amber Spyglass, I wound up the floor beside my bed, hysterically weeping. And every single time I reread Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, I completely fall apart at the end of the series.

(In terms of Harry Potter, when I read Order of the Phoenix, I wound up crying on and off for DAYS afterwards.)

Julie Eshbaugh

Julie Eshbaugh pic I have to second Erin—The Book of Lost Things broke me to pieces. It’s an incredible book and I would recommend it to anyone. It will break your heart, but in the end you will be glad that it did. <3

For my personal list of books that have made me cry, I would have to add Atonement by Ian McEwan. It’s one of my all-time favorite books, and it broke my heart. At the time of first reading, I was throw-the-book-at-the-wall-angry at McEwan for his heart wrenching “plot twist,” but now I understand that the story couldn’t be told any other way. Agh. I love that book.

Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo The Lovely Bones. I read it on a plane on the way back from Australia and I wasn’t just sniffling, I was weeping. I’m actually tearing up thinking about it. Thanks A LOT, Marie.

Susan Dennard

Susan DennardThe first book I ever sobbed my heart out for was Little Women when Beth died. I just…couldn’t get over it. Twelve-year-old me had to put the book down for days before I could finally pick it back up again.

Another book that reduced me to gut-wrenching tears was Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. I won’t say who, but a certain animal character dies and I was literally inconsolable. I still am if I think about it too long… Oh lord, so sad. But so so good. You know an author has done their job well when losing a character hurts as much as losing a friend…

Biljana Likic

I can’t speak for the movie, but the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close actually had me numb from crying. We were assigned to read it in English class. It came out of nowhere for me. I was not expecting to be so affected by it.

Oooh and Atonement. Oh god that book is just so tragic. When I’m feeling particularly low and need a good cry I’ll either pick it up or watch the equally tear-jerking movie.

Also, any story about doomed love will squeeze some tears out of me. Even ones that aren’t very well done will depress me. But the ones that are well done just…oh my god. Ask anybody who’s watched Moulin Rouge with me and they’ll tell you.

(Chiming in on the HP, the Snape sections in Deathly Hallows broke me. Doomed love, people!)

S. Jae-Jones (JJ)

JJThere are books I read as a child that didn’t make me cry then, but make me cry now. His Dark Materials, for one. I was 14 when I read The Amber Spyglass for the first time and while I thought it was sad, it didn’t hurt me the way it does now.

[Lyra] thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish it forever.

Um, excuse me while I sob. Like the central “thesis” of the novel, experience (in my case, actually having fallen in love) trumps innocence when it comes to the richness of living.

The books that made me ugly cry as an adult (and I mean proper ugly crying, with snot and everything) are The Book Thief and Code Name Verity. The characters in The Book Thief are so painfully and resonantly HUMAN (one of the characters committing suicide in his survivor’s guilt for the sin of wanting to live!) and I find myself crying at earlier and earlier points in the book. And I’m not sure I can read the lines “Kiss me, Hardy!” without wanting to curl up and bawl.

Jordan Hamessley London

Jordan SquareA Prayer for Owen Meany kills me every time I read it. I remember the last time I read it, my husband had no idea what was going on. I was just sitting on the bed sobbing. Hehe. It’s a such a fantastic book.

Most recently, See You at Harry’s left me crying on an airplane. Death in well-written middle grade is so painful.

I also cried reading Wonder, but they were tears of hope.

Rachel Seigel

Rachel Books that made me bawl? I’d have to agree with Jordan that they’ve largely been Middle-Grade books. Most recently, Wonder by R.J. Palacio had me bawling on the subway, but most dog books get me crying my eyes out! I can’t read Where the Red Fern Grows anymore without bursting into tears just thinking about what’s coming next, and Art of Racing in the Rain had me crying and smiling at the same time!

Amie Kaufman

amiebiopicThe Book Thief. I sat on the platform at my train station and sobbed. A nice lady stopped to check I was okay, saw the cover, patted my shoulder and went on her way. She got it.

I also cried all the tears over Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer recently, cuz oy, that guy pulls no punches.

And finally, If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Not all tears have to be tragic—some can be about life-affirming beauty, or just because you get a glimpse of how big things really are, sometimes.

Marie Lu

Marie SquareThis year, I bawled my eyes out over Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden (Agh! You have been hurt! You have been hurt!) and Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity (combine my weakness for fighter jets with a heartwrenching friendship? I’m gone. Just gone.). In fact, for Forbidden I ended up curled up in the corner of my bathroom, ugly-bawling my eyes out. Yup. Lovely image. Needless to say, both Forbidden and Code Name Verity have skyrocketed to the top of my recent favorite books list.

Okay, now I’m all snuffly from everyone’s amazing book choices. *sobs* So with that, I’m going to bawl some more and leave you guys with the same question:

What books have made you bawl?


30 Responses to Books That Made You Bawl

  1. Kirsty in London Sep 7 2012 at 5:54 am #

    I’m welling up just remembering some of the titles mentioned here. One man who really knows how to pull my heartstrings is Patrick Ness. Do NOT listen to A MONSTER CALLS as an audio book on public transport unless you want to sit there sobbing (without even having a book as a prop so people get that that’s what it’s about). Mortifying! And the end of the CHAOS WALKING trilogy left me an utter wreck. That was a audio book for me too, and the performances were electric. Luckily I was home for that one, so I could just indulge in a private sob-fest.

    Am I alone in my masochism of actually really enjoying a good book-induced cry?

    Oh, and Nicholas Sparks! I’ve never read any of his books, but if the movies based on them are anything to go by I’m convinced the man is a major shareholder in Kleenex.

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      You’re not alone–I love it when a book can make me cry!

  2. Jessica Sep 7 2012 at 8:26 am #

    I cried like a baby while reading IF I STAY by Gayle Forman. I cried at the end of STOLEN by Lucy Christopher, and while reading FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater, although I suspect part of that was me realizing that there wasn’t going to be any more Sam, Grace Cole, or Isabel. I love it when a book can make me teary. 🙂

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      omg, If I Stay and Where She Went both killed me. <3

  3. Megan Duff Sep 7 2012 at 9:10 am #

    1. THE CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY by Patrick Ness. Oh boy, that was an Ugly Cry. Usually I just get the sniffles and a couple tears but no no no not for these books! By the end of the third book Ness had torn apart all my emotions and I literally had a hard time breathing I was crying so hard. Todd…and Viola…and Manchee…

    2. FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK and FROI OF THE EXILES by Melina Marchetta. Uh…wow. Not only major tear jerkers but some of the best books I have ever read. QUINTANA OF CHARIN is coming out the end of this month in Australia so I plan on handing the big (big big) bucks over for the honor of weeping and cherishing the end of the trilogy extra early.

    3. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. I’m surprised that nobody mentioned this one! Let’s just admit I was building up to a cathartic cry months before this even came out. Even so, my sobbing was genuine because this book is so biting and beautiful and funny and sweet.

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      Actually, I’m surprised we didn’t mention TFiOS too! My eyes were totally blurry reading that one! Oh John Green, you always manage to do it.

    • Caitlin Vanasse Sep 7 2012 at 10:34 pm #

      Ditto on TFiOS! You start out laughing but, you know, it’s a book about kids with cancer, so then you hit the point where you know you can no longer read this book in public. Then after you’ve sobbed all your big ugly cry tears out you think you’re finally done and then, and then [name redacted] wrote [name also redacted] a eulogy. I totally lost it all over again.

  4. Marina Sep 7 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Where do I start? I’m a very emotional reader, so even the little things can set me off, like a death of animal, character deaths (even minor ones) or just something emotional happening. Also people already mentioned a few of mine:
    Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles, I was a mess after reading them, especially after finishing Froi, I was just… a mess. It just killed me dead, brought me back and killed me again.
    Then, A Monster Calls, I just sat there for five minutes bawling my eyes out, I could barely finish the book.
    Before I Fall, also bawling at the end, it was just… painful.
    Mastiff, by Tamora Pierce, made me cry, some of you will know why. Still not over it.
    Oh, also The Daughter of Smoke and Bone also made me cry like a baby. Never had my heart torn out by a book before. This was it.

    Also, Ms. Dennard, I admit I had confused, happy, but confused tears in my eyes, after finishing SSaD… going “what…?” and “come back this instant and tell me more.” Didn’t make me cry like a baby, but I did tear up. Sarah’s prequels made me cry a little, especially the last one. Lol.

    • Lexie B. Sep 7 2012 at 3:43 pm #


    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:18 pm #

      😀 It’s no secret that I am also a fan of SSaD!

  5. Adriana Sep 7 2012 at 10:11 am #

    How did nobody mention THE FAULT IN OUR STARS? I cried so much reading that book, and Ben now when I think Olof quotes or scenes, I just get sentimental. Like, right now… Have you guys read it? Best book Ive read this year, hands down, and I’ve read a TON of amazing books

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      I think I got teary-eyed on PAGE ONE of TFiOS!

  6. Katherine Sep 7 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I second THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I sobbed reading this book at multiple places. It was heartbreaking and beautiful. Going into work after spending a night crying your eyes out over a book is less than ideal. No one at my office gets my relationship with books.

  7. Carrie-Anne Sep 7 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    The second time I read Leon Uris’s EXODUS, I totally broke down during some parts of the book, even days afterward when I remembered those things. I didn’t have that kind of reaction when I first read the book at 18, which made it kind of odd I’d only feel the story that much more intensely in my twenties.

    I read IT HAPPENED TO NANCY twice in a row at 14 and cried at the end both times. Years later, I found out the late “Dr.” Beatrice Sparks made up most of these so-called “real life teen journals,” and felt really upset and lied to. I’d grown to care for this dear girl and believed she’d died of AIDS, and then came to find out she might’ve never existed. I reread it a few years ago and was struck by how it didn’t read at all like a real teen girl’s journal, replete with “Dr.” Sparks’s usual trademarks like excessive caps and exclamation points, and lots of other things about her writing style.

    The late Isabella Leitner’s Shoah memoirs are just gut-wrenching. I always cry at the part where they lose a very important person, whom I’d believed was safe in America with them after the war when I began reading. The fact that they lost this person so close to their liberation was such a personal blow.

    Thomas Bell’s OUT OF THIS FURNACE, which tells the story of my people, the Slovakian immigrants who were exploited in the mill towns of Pennsylvania in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I felt like such a bitch for not being interested in it when I was forced to do a research paper on my Slovakian ancestors at 13, because I didn’t think Slovakians were as cool or interesting as Germans or Italians.

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      Oh wow. It’s always so disappointing when something pitched as true in a book actually turns out to be fiction. I hadn’t heard of this one before, but that really sucks!

  8. Rachael Sep 7 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I’m with you guys on THE BOOK THIEF and CODE NAME VERITY. I’ve read TBT twice and sobbed both times. The first time I read it, I actually went into the bathroom and sat on the floor because I didn’t want to have to stop reading to explain to my mom why I was crying. CNV made me curl up on my side and just say, “Why? Why? Why?” over and over.

    I cried over the last three Harry Potter books, DEATHLY HALLOWS in particular. I’m not sure if the worst was Dobby or the scene in the Dark Forest.

    Then there was WAR HORSE. I don’t think there was a single moment during that book that I wasn’t at least tearing up. Both joy and sorrow. I desperately want to see the movie.

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Re: CNV, omg I know!! PubCrawler JJ rec’d it to me. Soooo heartwrenching. Also, I can’t read WAR HORSE–I can’t even bring myself to go see the movie. It falls into the animals-getting-hurt category and I just. Cannot. Stomach. It. No matter how good I know it must be!

  9. Lexie B. Sep 7 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    I’ve teared up at a decent amount of books, but there are only a very few books who can really bring on the ugly cry, the painful sobbing damp pages what-is-this-doing-to-my-heart kind of crying. Forbidden was one of them; that ending left me a wreck. The last three Harry Potters all induced full-on sobbing with various deaths of beloved characters. And, like several people in the comments have mentioned, The Fault in Our Stars. I don’t think a book has ever made me cry more than this one. And it was almost more painful because it was punctuated by moments of laughter, so frequently that I sometimes couldn’t tell if I was laughing or crying or both. Amazing, amazing book.

    Funny thing–I’ve probably seen The Book Thief mentioned here more often than any other novel, but that one didn’t make me cry. Not because I didn’t love it. I did. I fell for that book completely. But by the ending, I was so stunned that I couldn’t even shed a tear. When I finally closed the book, I just sat and stared for a solid ten minutes without moving a muscle.

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Oh man, FORBIDDEN absolutely gutted me. I was such a wreck by the end!

  10. Jen McAndrews Sep 7 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    I’m just one big echo here: The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, Code Name Verity… yup yup. They all had me snuffling like a toddler and reaching for tissues. I’m getting misty just thinking about them. *sigh*

    • Marie Lu Sep 7 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      *hands you tissues*

  11. AJ Bradley Sep 7 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    KUSHIEL’S AVATAR by Jacqueline Carey had me bawling more than once. The tremendous compassion of her lead character Phedre has always been awe inspiring. The plot of the novel moves around rescuing a little boy from slavery; and little Imriel was so sweet and tried so hard to be strong, it’s making me choke up just remembering it, especially now that I am a mother. Then to add another dimension to the story, J.C. challenges the love (again!) between Phedre and her consort, and the way their relationship deepens and matures is staggering. To me, Phedre represents all the best in human nature.

  12. Caitlin Vanasse Sep 7 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    I am a HUGE crier, books, movies, plays. You name a form of entertainment and there’s a fairly good chance I’ve cried at it. (I have theories about why this happens, but that’s neither here nor there. I definitely agree with several of the above comments (The Fault in Our Stars, I mean you know you’re going to cry based on subject matter but oh man, I did not expect to be so thoroughly gutted) but can I totally sort-of change the subject and talk about books that habe made us cry in some-what awkward public situations?

    In fourth grade (?) we read this book Stone Fox and I lost it right there in class (in fact looking the book up to verify the title has me tearing up.) Which of course meant that the next year when we read a different animal-centric book in class that had a moderately sad ending the day we read the end a bunch of my classmates who had read ahead brought Kleenex to me preemptively. Yup.

  13. Nhi Sep 8 2012 at 12:27 am #

    I feel like I have a heart of stone when I say that most supposed ‘tearjerkering’ books don’t make me shed a tear. But there are always exceptions, and mine are Between Shades of Grey and towards the end of Anne of Green Gables (I also blame the 1985 adaptation as well because all Matthew Cuthbert wanted was a little girl by the name of Anne Shirley and – *sobs*).

  14. M. Dee Sep 10 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Books that made me bawl. I remember reading The Mill on the Floss when I was 12 or so. That one made me cry my eyes out.
    The Amber Spyglass was another one

  15. linda Sep 11 2012 at 4:33 am #

    I cry so much when I read that it’s not a particularly meaningful thing to remember about the books I read. Books that made me cry have gotten ratings ranging from 1 to 5 stars, so yeah, even books I end up hating/disliking/feeling ambivalent about can make me cry. What I remember more are those books that made everyone cry but me — that’s when I feel totally heartless, haha.

  16. Sandy Sep 11 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    I’ve gotten softer with age, like a banana, so it’s really not that hard to make me cry. Animal deaths…sigh…I am always weary when an MC has an animal companion because it seems to be the rule that the animal will eventually die in the story, often times in the act of protecting the MC! This makes me cry and unhappy with Lord Author. Order of the Phoenix had me bawling very much in the middle of the night. I believe I woke my mom up. If I Stay definitely had the tears flowing as well as a few other reads.

  17. Daphne Sep 12 2012 at 6:36 am #

    I weep a LOT, and even the least bit of emotion is usually enough to get me going.

    I agree with a lot though that THE AMBER SPYGLASS just had me in a constant flood of tears.

    A little known teen series that I read back when I was a teen (!) called TEEN ANGELS by CHERIE BENNETT always made me tear up. The first book in the series HEAVEN CAN’T WAIT though, was probably one of the first I read where it ended in loss, not a happy ending. Still cry when I read it now.

  18. Alexa (Loves Books) Sep 12 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    I actually, honestly, cannot remember the last book that made me BAWL. I’ve teared up a couple of times while reading books lately, but it’s been a while since I full-on cried. I do cry a lot at romance novels though.

    I need to read so many of the books mentioned in this post! Code Name Verity and The Book Thief are two titles that are coming up on my TBR soon…

  19. Londyn Jan 30 2018 at 7:30 pm #

    I don’t cry often while reading..It almost never happens. There was only ever three times. Once was when I first read Jacob have I loved, the second time is when Dumbledoor died, and the third when I was reading My sweet orange tree

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