Hi, my name is Ally. I’m a Teen Librarian at Boone County Public Library and sometimes I like to read really sad books. I used to only want to read books that were guaranteed to make me cry, but as I’ve gotten older, and have real world things to cry about (student loans, the extra cost of guacamole at Chipotle, etc.), I try to read happier books that don’t require a whole lot of thought. But sometimes, when I’m in a certain mood, I want a book that’s going to really make me think and make me feel things. Sometimes I WANT to cry. So, here is a list of books that I’ve read that gave me the most satisfying cry-sessions, but also had me thinking about them for weeks after finishing them.
1.The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
If you’ve never read The Book Thief, please stop reading this blog post and go pick it up right now. Set in Germany during World War II, Liesel lives with a kind gentleman, Hans Hubermann, and his cruel wife. Each night as Liesel wakes up from terrible nightmares, Hans is there to calm her and eventually starts to teach her to read and write. A young Jewish man, named Max, soon takes residence in the Hubermann’s basement and Leisel makes an unexpected friend. Narrated by Death, The Book Thief shows an interesting side of the war and the effect that it had on families.
2. Hopeless, by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is my most favorite author of all time. Usually when I read one of her books I’m emotional just because I love her so much that I can’t contain myself. However, this book was the first of hers that I read. AND OMG. IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. If you love a good romance, this is definitely one you want to pick up! Sky is starting her senior year at the public school after having been homeschooled her entire life. Her best friend is studying abroad, so she has to do start at this school on her own with the not-so-innocent reputation of her best friend hanging over her head. Sky meets the adorable Dean Holder at the grocery store when he awkwardly stares at her and then demands to see her license because he swears that he knows her. Holder has a terrible reputation around school and an even darker past. But, like most romances go, Sky can’t seem to stay away from him. There is even a sequel written from Holder’s point of view, which is just as amazing and heartbreaking, but you have to read Hopeless first!
3. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
The only reason I even picked this book up was because after reading Hopeless I needed to find more authors like Colleen Hoover. I found a read-alikes list for Hopeless and decided to read Me Before You. I could not put it down. I literally finished it at 4:00 in the morning. It was, in my opinion, nothing like Hopeless and I’m not sure how it ended up on a read-alikes list, but I’m so glad it did because I LOVED it. So for my birthday this year, I asked all of my friends to read this book so that we could go see the movie. Surprisingly, they all did it! And they all loved it! Then we went to the movies and all fourteen of us cried our eyes out. Heck, my best friend cried before it even got sad because she knew what was coming! IT WAS PERFECT!
Louisa loses her job at a local coffee shop and goes through many horrible jobs before interviewing for a position working with a man who was in an accident leaving him quadriplegic. Not having any kind of medical training, Louisa doesn’t understand how she even managed to get the job. When she first meets Will, he is a terribly rude man, who obviously wants nothing to do with her. But as they spend more and more time together, they start to realize that maybe they need each other after all.
4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne
I know what you’re thinking: Another World War II/Holocaust book? However, the two are so different and so amazing that I had to include them both. Written from the point of view of 9-year-old Bruno, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas will definitely leave you in tears. Bruno’s father is high enough in the rankings of the Nazi army to have Hitler come to his home as a dinner guest. Bruno, a young boy who craves adventure, finds himself exploring his new home, Out-With. From his bedroom window he can see a summer camp of boys wearing striped pajamas, and on one of his adventures, he finds himself face to face with a little boy from the camp. The boys discover they share the same birthday and quickly become friends, but never get to play because Shmuel is on the other side of the fence. The innocence of Bruno’s and Shmuel’s relationship is amazing and heart-breaking all at the same time.
5. Mud Vein, by Tarryn Fisher
This is the one book on my list that I didn’t actually sob my eyes out after finishing. I just walked around, barely living my life because I couldn’t stop thinking about this story. Tarryn Fisher is Colleen Hoover’s real-life best friend, but she’s almost like Colleen’s evil twin. Where most of Colleen’s books are sweet and adorable, while still covering serious issues, Tarryn’s books are so dark from the beginning, and when you think you see a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s usually just a figment of your imagination. AND I LOVE IT. I love the depressing funks that her books put me in and easily devour any and everything she writes.
Senna Richards, an author and a recluse, wakes up in an unfamiliar house and discovers that she has been kidnapped. Making her way through the house, she discovers that she is not the only one who has been taken. Senna knows the man who was also put in the house, and as Mud Vein pulls you in deeper and deeper, you find out how the two are connected and the secrets of their dark pasts.
Do you have a sad book that you just loved? Share it with us in the comments section, please!
Ally Doerman has worked for the library for 10 years, currently in Teen Services. She spends most of her time thinking about Harry Potter and waiting for Colleen Hoover to write a new book.