Sometimes, a good cry can be just as therapeutic as a hearty laugh. Books have the incredible power to evoke a wide range of emotions, and when it comes to shedding a tear or two, certain stories are particularly adept at tugging at our heartstrings. Whether you’re seeking an emotional release or simply want to connect with deeply moving narratives, these ten books are guaranteed to elicit a powerful, cathartic cry.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:
Summary: Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenage girl with thyroid cancer, meets Augustus Waters, a charismatic boy in remission, at a support group. Despite their health challenges, they fall deeply in love and embark on a journey of adventure and self-discovery. As their bond strengthens, they face the reality of their illnesses and the uncertainties that come with them.
Why it’ll make you cry: This book touches on the fragility of life and the urgency to live fully, even in the face of inevitable loss. The characters’ vulnerability and their determination to make the most of their time together will leave you emotionally invested and shedding tears.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Summary: This epic novel revolves around four friends – Jude, Willem, JB, and Malcolm – as they navigate life’s challenges from their college years into adulthood. The focal point is Jude, a man with a traumatic past marked by abuse and suffering. The story explores the intricacies of friendship, the lasting impact of trauma, and the lengths to which people will go to support and protect those they love.
Why it’ll make you cry: The depth of pain and suffering that Jude endures, coupled with the unbreakable bonds of friendship among the characters, is a powerful emotional journey. The book delves into the profound human capacity for resilience and the bittersweet emotions of love and empathy.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Summary: Set in Nazi Germany, Liesel Meminger finds solace in stealing books and sharing stories with her foster family and a hidden Jewish refugee. Narrated by Death, the novel paints a vivid picture of the horrors of war and the small acts of kindness that shine through the darkness.
Why it’ll make you cry: The juxtaposition of innocence against the backdrop of a brutal regime is heartrending. The book captures the devastating impact of war on individuals and families, evoking empathy and compassion that will undoubtedly bring tears to your eyes.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Summary: Louisa Clark becomes a caregiver for Will Traynor, a quadriplegic man who has lost his will to live. As they spend time together, their relationship deepens into a unique and transformative love story. Louisa’s efforts to show Will the joy in life and his struggle with his desire for assisted suicide create a poignant narrative.
Why it’ll make you cry: The ethical dilemmas, emotional turmoil, and the profound connection between Louisa and Will make this book a tearjerker. The exploration of life’s value and the choices we make, along with the emotional investment in the characters, will leave you emotionally moved.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Summary: Amir, a young Afghan boy, betrays his loyal friend Hassan during a traumatic incident. Set against the backdrop of a changing Afghanistan, the novel follows Amir’s journey to redemption and forgiveness.
Why it’ll make you cry: The story confronts themes of guilt, forgiveness, and the profound impact of our actions on others. The characters’ struggles and the emotional weight of their pasts create a compelling narrative that is sure to evoke tears.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Summary: Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth grow up in an English boarding school, only to discover they are clones destined to donate their organs. The story explores their relationships, love, and acceptance of their inevitable fate.
Why it’ll make you cry: The novel raises profound questions about the value of life, identity, and what it means to be human. The characters’ resignation to their fate and their yearning for meaning in a predetermined world create a melancholic atmosphere that is deeply moving.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Summary: Neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi’s memoir chronicles his journey from doctor to patient after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The book reflects on his medical career, the pursuit of knowledge, and the transition from healer to the one in need of healing.
Why it’ll make you cry: The raw honesty and vulnerability in facing mortality, coupled with the profound insights into the meaning of life, create an emotionally charged narrative. The reader is taken on an introspective journey that is both heartbreaking and inspiring.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Summary: Jack has spent his entire life in captivity with his mother, Ma. When they escape, they must adjust to life outside the confines of the small room that was their world.
Why it’ll make you cry: The emotional complexity of Ma and Jack’s relationship, coupled with their struggle to adapt to a new reality, is deeply touching. The innocence of Jack’s perspective and the challenges they face evoke a mix of emotions, making this story a tear-inducing read.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Summary: Vianne and Isabelle, two sisters in Nazi-occupied France, take different paths during World War II – one becomes a resistance fighter, and the other struggles to protect her family.
Why it’ll make you cry: The courage, sacrifice, and resilience of these two sisters in the face of unimaginable challenges is both inspiring and heartrending. The backdrop of war and the emotional depth of their experiences create a narrative that is sure to evoke tears.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Summary: Oskar Schell, a precocious young boy, searches New York City for clues related to a key left behind by his father, who died in the 9/11 attacks.
Why it’ll make you cry: The novel deals with grief, loss, and the process of healing in the aftermath of a national tragedy. Oskar’s journey to connect with his father’s memory and the emotional exploration of his grief will resonate deeply, provoking both tears and contemplation.
These ten books are emotional roller coasters that will guarantee a good cry and leave you reflecting on the complexities of life, love, loss, and the human experience. Whether you’re looking for stories of friendship, family, love, or personal growth, these selections will touch your heart and stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. So, grab a box of tissues and immerse yourself in the emotional journey that each of these captivating reads offers.