Books That Made Me Cry

It’s easy for me to feel for a character. Once in awhile I’m really moved by them or their story. My heart has laughed and felt heavy, sighed and swooned. It’s honestly one of the best things I love about books.

But as much as they can make me simply feel, it’s a lot harder to make me cry. I’m more likely to leave a book with just a heavy heart, and then go find my next read. It’s almost like I’m a dispassionate reader when I’m done, but I know my whole being was tied up in the story while I read.

But there does exist a handful of books that I distinctly remember shedding tears during. I’ve only read each of them once, but the memories are still vivid.


1. I Want to Live by Lurline N. McDaniel. I read this at some point in high school, but I’m not sure why. It’s the second book in a series about a girl with leukemia. Her internal pleas to simply live to turn 15 really made me cry. Even though there are now very good treatments for leukemia patients, it wasn’t that way not too long ago.


2. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Is there anyone who doesn’t at least know the book or movie? I had to read and watch it in 6th grade (I distinctly remember mine had a yellow hard cover, and I got rid of it as fast as I could)). I’m not a dog person, but I don’t handle death well, especially that of an animal. I cried so much that I swore off books about animals. A few years later, I did read another, where the animal also died, but I can’t recall which book.

Old Yeller (Perennial Classics)


3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. About 6 years ago, even though I’d sworn off books about animals, especially ones where I knew the animal died, I did it again. This time, I braced myself, but still cried myself silly. Still, it’s a beautiful story and I don’t regret it. I just really can’t read books about animals ever again. Ever. I barely held it together when a beloved horse in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series died!

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4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. This took me completely by surprise. I was really loving the book, and then the part at the end where Jean Valjean is telling Cosette and Marius about all his wrongdoings and nothing about the good he’d done, well, I just started sobbing. I don’t think it’s meant to be tear-inducing, but something about it just made my heart ache.

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5. After the End by Clare Mackintosh. The first half of this book store me up and made me sob. As a toddler mom myself, reading a book about a couple with a terminally ill toddler broke my heart. I had to stop reading too many times because it’s impossible to read through tears. Not only did this book make me cry, but it made me squeeze my kids a little harder.

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There have been other books that have made my heart hurt, made me teary, but, as far as I can recall, only these have made me outright cry.

What about you? What books have made you cry, or are you a stoic reader?



17 thoughts on “Books That Made Me Cry”

    • Why must writers put in dog deaths in children’s books? They’re heartbreaking. I’ve heard Where the Red Fern Grows is amazing, but have actually never read it. I like to think I’ll pick it up one day, but knowing another dog does means that’ll probably never happen.

  • Oh my goodness! Have you seen the musical of Les Mis? I cried and cried and cried. Lol. 😂 I LOVE books that make me cry. In fact, if I ever do get a novel written and it doesn’t make me cry I’ll not even hand it to a publisher. ☺️ I love books to move me to a place I don’t feel in my everyday life, and tears are a pretty good indicator that I’ve been moved. The two books I can think of that made me cry most recently are: ‘The eye of the sheep’ by Sophie Laguna (I have a feeling I’ve told you about that one.) And Buriel Rites by Hannah Kent. I SOBBED at the end of that one. ☺️xx

    • I’ve seen the movie, but haven’t manage to see the play yet. I’ve been dying to for years, but it never seems to be performed anywhere near where I’ve lived. Moving books make for some of the best reads. I love it when someone’s words touch me. Of course, I love being amused and entertained, but I live for those books that make me feel something. If you ever do publish a book, I’ll be sure to stock up on the tissues! Oh, I think you must have told me about The Eye of the Sheep. It’s sounds really familiar.

    • I think musicals are just as moving as books. Perhaps more so because it’s telling a whole story right in front of you and it can be quite immersive.

      • The songs do make easier for me to feel the emotions- to end up as an emotional wreck, which is the most intense for me in Les Misérables- a six-year-love, and still not immune to the musical, and most likely will never be immune to it

      • That’s a good story to get hooked on, though I’ve yet to see the musical. The music is so powerful. A great and well done song can hold a lot of power.

      • I am obsessed with Les Mis- saw the stage show five times.

        Originally- I did not cry at all during the musical. It was a response that built up over time for me.

  • I read a ton of Lurlene McDaniel books when I was younger, they never failed to make me cry. The book that made me cry that I love the most was definitely Love Letters to the Dead. I highly recommend it!

    • That was the only one I ever read, but I can certainly see how all of her books are tearjerkers. It was such a beautiful story. It’s a shame I never hear about or see her books anymore. They were everywhere when I was a kid.

      • When I was younger I feel like she was huge as well! I still have a pretty large collection of her titles, so I would love to go back and reread some old ones, but I think I have a few that I never got to as well.

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