15 BookTok Recommendations That You'll Read in a Single Sitting . . . Then Sob For Days
If you're looking for well-reviewed novels that are guaranteed to make you cry, there's no shortage of recommendations on TikTok. The BookTok community has become a reliable corner of the internet to find must-read books. Certain stories have become notoriously known as tear-jerkers among book TikTok creators and their followers, the videos sharing these stories are often flooded with comments that confirm just how much the book made them cry and encourage you to see for yourself.
From modern love stories to historical fiction to true story memoirs, here are 15 book recommendations that are guaranteed to make you cry.
We Were Liars
Perhaps the most popular reaction to reading the end of We Were Liars by E. Lockhard is absolute shock. This young-adult novel follows four privileged kids who spend their summers together on a private island. It tells the story of Cadence, a protagonist who is unable to remember the events that took place one summer. Don't be surprised if you finish this book in one sitting.
They Both Die At The End
The title of Adam Silvera's novel pretty much sums up the heartbreaking premise of this novel. They Both Die At The End is about two strangers who find out they are going to die today. In an effort to live a lifetime in a single day, the pair connect through an app and decide to spend an adventurous last day together.
In a moving and powerful memoir titled Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah tells the true story of her painful childhood. After her mother died giving birth and her father eventually remarries, Adeline is left yearning for love and understanding from her family. The author writes about growing up in China during the 1940s as an unloved stepdaughter.
The Song of Achilles
All The Light We Cannot See
Any story that takes place during the Second World War is presumably a tear-jerker, and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is no exception. This historical fiction novel tells the story of a blind French girl and German boy who meet in occupied Paris. It's a hauntingly-beautiful story with vivid writing that is more than likely to make you cry.
A World Without You
A World Without You written by Beth Revis is about a 17-year-old boy named Bo with time traveling delusions. Bo falls in love with Sofia after being sent to a school for kids with "superpowers." Tragically, Sofia dies of suicide to escape her depression. Because of his time traveling mind, Bo believes she is not actually dead and that it's up to him to save her from the past.
The Way I Used To Be
In The Way I Used To Be, Eden's simple life is turns upside down after she is sexually assaulted by her brother's best friend. Amber Smith writes about Eden's story in four parts — freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year. The revealing novel explores Eden's reality of trauma while she learns to embrace the power of survival.
Orbiting Jupiter written by Gary D. Schmidt is heart-wrenching story that has left many of its readers in tears. It's about a young father named Joseph who has never seen his daughter named Jupiter. He is sent to a foster home in rural Maine after spending time in a juvenile facility. The story of Joseph's efforts to find his baby are narrated by 12-year-old Jack, a boy he meets in foster care.
Life In A Fishbowl
After her father is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, 15-year-old Jackie is faced with an odd situation. Her father has put his life up for auction on eBay in an effort to take care of his family financially after he's gone. Life In A Fishbowl by Len Vlahos is a unique story that leaves readers questioning how a tragic and unconventional bidding war will end.
A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara's novel A Little Lie is a deeply moving story about four college friends who move to New York in search of fame and fortune. The group is held together by Jude who has dealt with a lot of trauma from his childhood. This novel follows the tragedies these four men face in a gripping and deeply moving way of writing.
The Astonishing Color of After
The Astonishing Color Of After follows Leigh, a woman who believes her mother turned into a bird after she died by suicide. Emily X.R. Pan writes about the character's grieving process as she journeys to Taiwan with the goal of finding her mother as a bird. The emotional story alternates from the past and present as Leigh uncovers family secrets and forges new relationships with her grandparents.
The Last Time We Say Goodbye
In The Last Time We Say Goodbye, Lex is holding onto a secret that's haunting her after the loss of her brother. Before he dies by suicide, Tyler sends Lex a text that could have changed everything. Cynthia Hand's novel is both heart-wrenching and insightful that will stay with you long after you've read its 400 pages.
Like A Love Story
Like A Love Story by Abdi Nazemian takes place in New York City in 1989. The story follows three teenagers, one of them being Reza. He's an Iranian boy who knows he is gay but is struggling to embrace his true self because of the media's negative portrayal of gay men. The story also follows an aspiring fashion designer named Judy and her best friend Art, who is their school's onlyout and proud teen.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns is written by Khaled Hosseini, the author who also gave us The Kite Runner. This story is about two Afghan women from different generations named Mariam and Laila. The women face escalating dangers in their home and in the streets of Kabul. Reviews of the book say it's hard to read, but ultimately worth it because of the love, self-sacrifice and heroism demonstrated throughout.
Angel of Greenwood
Angel of Greenwood by Randi Pink is a historical fiction that's set in Greenwood, Oklahoma known as "Black Wall Street". The novel follows two teenagers named Isaiah and Angel who start spending time together after being offered jobs on a mobile library. Their lives are soon changed forever when mobs of white supremacists attack the city's Black residents and businesses during the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921.