TTT: Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

The first Top Ten for the fine month of February from The Broke and the Bookish. I am not sure if this means “you” as in the readers of this blog post or “you” as in the writers of this blog post. The first implies that I am recommending books that will make people cry, and the second implies that I have a list of books that I would like to read that would make me cry. I’m going to do a combination of the two and let the others decide what they want to do with their lists. Yup. Get your handkerchief ready and let’s go.

Top Ten Tuesday


  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: Not kidding. It was lovely, but heartbreakingly so.
  2. The Fault in our Stars by John Green: Obviously.
  3. Perks of Being a Wallfower by Stephen Chbosky: Still haven’t read this one and the movie did get me teary-eyed. I can only imagine how the book would affect me.
  4. Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark: It’s about a trans youth in high school. This story could make me sad for one of two reasons: a. the writing is incredible or b. the writing is decidedly not incredible.
  5. Darkest Light by Hiromi Goto: As I have mentioned, I am writing my thesis on Half World. This is the sequel. If Half World is any indication, there is a good chance my heart will hurt at the end of this journey.


  1. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Or any story where an animal dies. Such as The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, and Firewing by Kenneth Oppel, the emotional depth and complexity of which is a very satisfying (and heartbreaking) end to Oppel’s Silverwing trilogy. (Quartet? There is a prequel of sorts in Darkwing, which is also lovely and sad.) Even Abhorsen by Garth Nix, even though Kibeth isn’t really dead – or at least, if she is, she cheats. (Love that Dog!)
  2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickins. I read the entire book and be amused, angry, and not particularly interested by turns, but the scene with Sydney and the little seamstress in the very end always gets me.
  3. Little Sister by Kara Dalkey. Not so much as the other ones, but haunting because you don’t know which she chooses.
  4. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. Appallingly bad theology, enthralling worlds, and a hard ending.
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Because of all the dead, and especially because of Sev, commonly known as Severus Snape.


  1. Lord of the Rings, there are many a heartfelt moment in Tolkien’s trilogy, the moment when Sam thinks Frodo is dead is quiet touching, but really, it’s the end that really gets me. Saying goodbye is never easy, especially not after you have survived the end of all things together.
  2. I’m with Janet on the dying animals one and I have to add: Martin the Warrior and often others of Brian Jacques Redwall series. Also Plain Kate had me bawling over Taggle.
  3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and other books of this kind, where the supernatural is a coping mechanism used to confront real life trauma and sadness. Other titles elude me, I tend not to read too much that will make me cry :)
  4. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larson by Susin Nielson had me in tears at times because it’s just so darn real and it’s just so darn sad. I veer away from real/realistic texts like these because they hit too close to home. These texts have created characters that are so real and in environments and situations so grounded in desperately funny and grim reality. Real children’s lives are not always easy, they have to endure these kinds of hardships and that’s just sad.
  5. Just knowing that Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have made their author’s millions… no BILLIONS of dollars makes me cry.


  1. The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
    This is perhaps my most favourite book in the entire world. Why it makes me cry? Here are two quotes.

    “I want to say somewhere: I’ve tried to be forgiving. And yet. There were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me. Ugliness turned me inside out. There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in.” — Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)

    “At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that’s why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.”
    — Nicole Krauss (The History of Love )

  2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
    Even though the events in the book are not surprise, even though the narrator has warned of the deaths to come quite explicitly, I was still somehow traumatized when it happened.
  3. Plain Kate – Erin Bow
    Taggles, you guys. Taggles just killed me.
  4. Fall for Anything – Courtney Summers
    A girl trying to make sense of her dad’s suicide. The novel deals with such a heavy topic with sensitivity and delicacy. The main character does not just perform grief but lives it and it is expressed exquisitely.
  5. The Sea of Tranquility – Katja Millay
    This book is intense. It is relentless. And it broke my heart a bit.

9 responses to “TTT: Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

  1. I love to read books about extraordinary pets, even though I know they only live so long, but any deaths that happen get me every time.

    And The Book Thief–I agree, it’s amazing that we’re warned and it’s still a punch to the gut. But it is, somehow.

    • I definitely teared up at the end. My Dad actually had to stop reading the book several times before he could bring himself to finish it!

  2. The Book Theif! Yes!

    Oh I know, we just love everyone so much and then… and then…. but death is charming, isn’t he?

  3. @Janet: Man, your number 5 pick made me cry every single re-read. I cried for a different death each time that by the time I got to the 3rd re-read, I started bawling as soon as Hedgewigs got hit. T_T

    @Steph: The “Gray Haven” part didn’t get to me until years later when I suddenly realize while sitting next to my friend of 10 years plus that one day this too shal end.

    Also I appreciate the snark for your last pick ;)

    “Night” by Elie Wiesel is the first book that I cried over and will be the book that if I ever go on “Fear Factor” and they make me re-read it as part of the competition, I will fail immediately. I can eat the gross stuffs, be submerged in creepy stuffs but I can’t ever re-read that book.

  4. I remember being so surprised by how hard the ending of “Book Thief” hit me. I was just crying so hard for so long. I think that is the one reason I can’t quite bring myself to read it again. I want to, it’s been years, but oh the FEELS!

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