Top Ten Books That Will Make You (Or At Least Me) Cry

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So, it’s actually really hard for books to make me cry.  And honestly, often I don’t read the kind of book that does.  I have to be in a very specific mood to intentionally put myself in the way of a thing that will make me THAT miserable.  So this is a very specific list of books that have made ME cry, instead of the more general ‘you’ mentioned in the meme.

1.  Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein: seriously, how do you NOT cry when reading this book?  Verity is so beautiful and so brave and Maddie is so stubborn and courageous and FRIENDSHIP and TRAGEDY and EVERYTHING IS HARD OKAY.

2.  Rose Under Fire, also by Elizabeth Wein: in case Code Name Verity didn’t make me cry hard enough, the exact same author turned around and came out with a book that was even harder to read.

3.  The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver: one of these days I’m going to get around to talking about why this is NOT the middle-aged mom book that everyone thinks it is, and why it was perfect for my fifteen-year-old angst-ridden self, and why I love it so dearly.  But in the meantime, know that her descriptions of grief and mourning, especially the numb few days after a death, are spot-on, and made me cry.

4.  Speakby Laurie Halse Anderson: this book broke my heart the first time I read it and I ended up crying in the backseat on the way home from the bookstore.  (The bookstore was an hour away, I had a while to read it.)  Then I read it again, a few years later, when I’d been much closer to similarly horrible events, and my heart broke all over again.

5.  Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes: did they make you read this one in school?  Apparently they do that, but I read it on my own.  Fun fact: losing my mental facilities is one of the deepest, most poignant fears I have.  Yeah.

6.  Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater: okay, this one’s not quite fair, but I don’t read a lot of books that make me cry!  I read it after a breakup and the genuine sweetness of the romance in this book was beautiful and hopeful and incredibly hard to take.

7.  Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater: this one IS fair.  There is a scene in this book in which Grace is sick–maybe dying–and her parents, because they don’t like or trust her boyfriend, won’t let him see her.  Hospitals have a deep sort of horror for me–I’ve spent too much time in them, not as a patient but as a loved one–and the fear of not being able to be close to someone I love when they’re dying, to lose out on what could be their last moments, is something I absolutely would have had to face, if my parents hadn’t been so understanding about my desire to stay close.  Other people’s parents made it abundantly clear to me that they wouldn’t have let me stay, and that terrified and saddened me.  The utter powerlessness of a hospital is incredibly hard to take.

So yeah that scene made me cry.

8.  Last Night I Sang To The Monster, by Benjamin Alire Saenz: wow, it’s been forever since I’ve read this book.  I don’t know if it’s as good, or as sad, as I remember it being.  But it’s another book that had me crying on the way home from the bookstore.

9.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman: this one made me cry IN THE FIRST FREAKING CHAPTER.  SERIOUSLY THE THING WAS NOT OKAY.  …beautiful amazing book, though, please read it?

10.  The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: I reread this recently, after my boyfriend, who gets very literary when he’s tired, read some pieces of it to me in French.   I originally read it when I was extremely little, and although I didn’t remember much of it, the feeling of it stayed with me.

I have no idea why it made me cry, but it did.  Maybe it’s the clash of childhood and adulthood, maybe it’s the simple childlike sadness.  I know the themes of regret really do me in–and I know it wouldn’t hit me so hard if it didn’t carry associations from my very, very early days of reading, when I was too little to have a barrier between my feelings and the page.  But it’s as beautiful as I remember it being, more like a poem, really, than a story.

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5 thoughts on “Top Ten Books That Will Make You (Or At Least Me) Cry

    • Her writing in Scorpio Races was definitely better than in Shiver, but Shiver has a lot of things going for it–including my favorite book romance of all time. And you can actually watch her writing improve by leaps and bounds over the course of the trilogy, which is pretty awesome.

  1. Alyn Y says:

    Flowers for Algernon was sad. I read it because of school though. I read Speak too and found myself more frustrated and angry than sad.

  2. Flowers for Algernon made it on my TTT list as well! I just finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane and I didn’t cry, but I can definitely see how it can be an emotional read! There’s so much about childhood, innocence, and memories in that book. Great list! :)

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