As someone who gets emotional very easily, I really struggled to narrow this list down to just nine books. Not all these books necessarily made me cry, but they all made my heart heavy and feel all the feels. Also, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really like getting into my emotions while reading?? It’s weird, but I know I’m not the only one who feels like that. Hopefully if you’re ever in the mood to read something deep, you’ll find a book from here to check out ❤
- THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER by Emily X.R. Pan
Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: ‘I want you to remember’. Leigh doesn’t know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.
Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died – leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn’t home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.
Overwhelmed by grief, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.
With lyrical prose and magical elements, Emily X.R. Pan’s stunning debut novel alternates between past and present, romance and despair, as one girl attempts to find herself through family history, art, friendship, and love.
I will never stop gushing over this book. When I first picked this up to read over a year ago, I was expecting a light-hearted coming of age story about a teenage girl. Wow, was I wrong. I ended up finishing this in just a few days and now it’s my go to recommendation for anyone looking for a deeply emotional book. If you haven’t already, pleaseee pick this up!!
- THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.
Okay, I’ll be honest, the only reason I decided to read this is because of the movie starring Milo Ventimiglia👀
I wanted to read the book first, duh, but what I didn’t expect was for this to break my heart as much as it did. I didn’t shed a tear while reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, however, my heart felt so heavy. It was like a weight was pressing down on me.
Whether or not you’re a pet owner, this book will tug on your heartstrings. In fact, I still haven’t watched the movie because I just don’t think I’m ready for that yet.
- HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE DARK by Kathleen Glasgow
Tiger’s mother has always been her whole world, but now she’s sixteen her mother’s control over everything in her life is suffocating. Just when Tiger feels she can no longer bear the way her life is managed, the unimaginable happens and her mother dies. As she slowly begins to make a way for herself, Tiger creates a new kind of family, some related and some not, who will love her and travel forward with her.
Wow wow wow. My only regret is reading this AT SCHOOL and having to blink back tears 🙃
As someone who’s really close with her mom, this book absolutely crushed my heart. It follows our main character, Tiger, as she struggles to cope with the sudden death of her mother. Tiger is in a situation that is so unimaginable to me, and I really felt for her.
If this book doesn’t make you cry, I’m not sure what will.
- THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini
The first of the defeated kites whirled out of control. They fell from the sky like shooting stars with brilliant, rippling tails, showering the neighbourhood.
Amir and Hassan grow up together in Kabul. Amir in the beautiful house his father built, filled with marble, gold, tapestries and mosaics; Hassan in the modest mud hut in the servants’ quarters.
The two are inseparable, and when twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament, his loyal friend promises to help him. But neither boy can predict what will happen to Hassan that afternoon – as the kites soar over the city – and how it will change their lives forever.
This is quite a popular book and I know a lot of people have read this because it’s required reading at many schools. However, in the case that you have yet to read The Kite Runner, I would highly recommend giving it a try.
Not only is this a very emotional story about family, friendship, and brotherhood, but it’s also educational about what life is like growing up in a war-torn area. This book opened my eyes to several topics and I wish more people would read this book.
- A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.
A Monster Calls is a very quick read that can be finished in one sitting, but it really packs a punch.
While it didn’t make me cry, this book was so impactful and had me staring at the ceiling for, like, 30 minutes after I turned the last page.
Since I read it, this book has also been adapted into a movie. I can’t speak for that since I have yet to watch it, but from what I’ve heard, there are stellar reviews.
- IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up–she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place. As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan–her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
It’s best to go into this book with the expectation described in the summary: a romance. However, it’s so much more than that. If I say anything more, I could be getting close to spoiler territory. All I’ll say is if you read this book, keep some tissues close by.
- A MANGO-SHAPED SPACE by Wendy Mass
Mia Winchell has synesthesia, the mingling of perceptions whereby a person can see sounds, smell colors, or taste shapes. Forced to reveal her condition, she must look to herself to develop an understanding and appreciation of her gift in this coming-of-age novel.
Don’t let the fact that this is a middle-grade novel deter you from giving it a read! I read this book years ago, but it has still stuck with me to this day as book I distinctly remember crying my eyes out to.
I truly think this is one of the most underrated emotional books, and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for an easy book to read that will also make you ~potentially~ cry.
- WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson
The New York Times bestselling story of a friendship frozen between life and death Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss–her life–and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory and racked with guilt for not being able to help save her. In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all: hope.
I read this book as a freshman in high school, and not to get too personal, but it really affected me at the time and was very eye-opening. If I’m being completly honest, this book deals with very hard subject matters and I do wish I had read this at a later point in my life just because of how much it impacted me. That being said, it’s a good book and if you’re in the right head space for it, a very emotional one.
- BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Katherine Paterson
Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.
Ah, the first book that made my cry, a classic.
By now, I’m sure most of you have read this book or at the very least watched the movie. BUT I still felt like I had to put this on here because it’s probably the first book that ever made me cry! I can’t remember when I read this or how old I was, but it was probably sometime in elementary school. Bridge to Terabithia is truly a classic and I’m glad I read it, even though it absolutely tore me apart…
Wow…writing this post lowkey got me in my feels again.
Anyways, I would love to know: Have you read any of these books? What books made you emotional? Let me know in the comments!