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11 Books That Will Have You Weeping

Aug 16 2016 - 9:00am

If you need a good cry, these books have you covered. There's something to be said for an emotional story that stays with you, and with a mix of moving memoirs, heart-wrenching romances, and classic children's books, our editors have pooled together some of the most tear-jerking titles to add to your reading list. Now that the weather is about to cool off, now the perfect time to curl up (and cry) over these touching tales. Take a look at 12 titles that will definitely have you reaching for tissues.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief [1] by Markus Zusak follows a young girl living in Germany during the Holocaust. While it took some adjusting to Death as the narrator, I think it allowed for the themes of friendship, loss, and humanity to come across more powerfully. By the end of the book, I was a ball of emotions. It is the only book that has ever moved me to tears and a must read. — Stacy Hersher, director of social and partnerships

The Year of Magical Thinking

If you want a book that will really pull at your heart strings, The Year of Magical Thinking [2] by Joan Didion is it. Joan Didion slaps you in the face immediately with the death of her husband, and the ensuing narrative follows her as she processes what happened for a year following his passing. Didion explores the whirl of shifting and changing emotions in such a raw and unbelievable way, it was like I was grieving right along with her. — Ryan Roschke, assistant editor, celebrity

The Fault in Our Stars

If the movie made you cry, wait until you tear through the book version of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars [3]. And I mean "tear," as in the many salty droplets you'll cry reading about Hazel and Gus's young love. If you've already read it a thousand times and you need more, brace yourself for these suggestions [4]. — Maggie Pehanick, editor, entertainment

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close [5] tells the story of a sharp 9-year-old boy who searches for the lock that matches a key that belonged to his dad, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The book is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once, and the 2011 film adaptation with Tom Hanks [6] and Sandra Bullock [7] is just as moving, but there's something lost without Foer's poignant language. — Laura Marie Meyers, editor

Love You Forever

Love You Forever [8] by Robert Munsch is a children's book about a relationship between a little boy and his mom. Every night as he grows up, she sings him a song about loving him, and when she grows old, he sings it to her and then his own child. My mom used to read me this book when I was little and even came up with her own tune for the song. Once I got old enough to understand the book — and life — better, it made me tear up every time I'd read it. It always makes me think of my mom, and being young, and how quickly time passes, and it makes me really cherish my time with her. It's a book I'll surely read to my kids someday. — Hedy Phillips, copy editor

The Little Prince

The Little Prince [9] gets me every time. The Little Prince himself is the essence of inherent goodness and innocence, especially in juxtaposition to the "grown ups" (aka all of us now) of the story. The themes of the book hit close to home as an adult, and the ending is so happy/sad it's hard to decide if you're crying out of joy or pain. Probably both. Definitely both. — Hilary White, editor

The Lovely Bones

"I still remember the exact time and place where I first read The Lovely Bones [10] by Alice Sebold (which I would go on to read again, and again, and again). I was sitting on the bus on my way to school one morning, 13-years-old, sobbing so loud that the boy next to me (who I may or may not have had a crush on) started to slowly inch away in fear. The movie version didn’t even come a little bit close to doing this beautiful, raw, and tragic book any justice." — Quinn Keaney, assistant editor, celebrity

My Sister's Keeper

Holy god. My Sister's Keeper [11], is the definition of a sad, but beautiful, book. The main reason it makes me cry is that the author is so good at writing from each character's perspective in each different chapter. You see what it's like for the sister with cancer, the "savior sister," the parents, the lawyer, and more, with such detail. I won't reveal any spoilers, but just you you're in for a good cry (or 10). Also, don't go off what you know from the movie — the book is SO much better. — Erin Cullum, asssistant editor

The Notebook

In 2004, I read The Notebook [12] by Nicholas Sparks the night before I saw the movie, and let's just say I had two really, really big cries in two days. Looking back, I do like the film more than the book — because, well, Ryan Gosling [13] — but there's something to be said for reading the love story rather than watching it. — Laura Marie Meyers, editor

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I read A Thousand Splendid Suns [14] by Khaled Hosseini on a long airplane ride. Despite the awkwardness of sobbing next to strangers on a plane, I could not contain myself. The story, written by the author of The Kite Runner, follows multiple generations of women in Afghanistan and is filed with overwhelming sorrow and examples of determination. The novel makes you empathize with women who were simply born into a completely different society but show a universally recognizable will to survive and love. — Annie Gabillet, managing director

Eleanor & Park

I don't read a lot of romances, and I don't read a lot of YA novels, but good god, Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park [15] is a fantastic book. I read it from start to finish on the plane, crying pretty much the entire time. The story of this unlikely young couple will tug at your heartstrings, as they face some heavy family troubles while simultaneously basking in the magic of falling in love for the first time. My favorite quote: "Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something." — Tara Block, content director

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