Hello and welcome to the end of week 2 of Blogmas – I can’t quite believe how fast it is going! Today, I am sharing the best books to have a good cry to, because sometimes that’s all we need. Half of these I have read and balled my eyes out over and the other half comes from the recommendations of some of my friends. Either way, these book are sure to break your heart, so make sure you have a box of tissues and read away!
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – read
I read this book very recently and the exploration of such heartbreaking and harrowing themes brought me to tears. This is the first Khaled Hosseini book I have read but I have heard his other books are just as tear jerking.
Synopsis: “A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years – from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding – that outs the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives – the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness – are inextricable from the history playing out around them.”
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – tbr
This is the first of the books I haven’t read yet but are definitely on my to be read piles and wishlists for their heartbreaking qualities. I have heard that the exploration of childhood trauma and grief are truly emotional in this book.
Synopsis: “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.”
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – read
This has been one of my favourite books for years, ever since it was published, for it’s raw and emotional characteristics. Although John Green’s ya novel can be rather cringey and unbelievably and the ‘sick kid’ trope has been incredibly overdone, this book was a masterpiece when it came out and in my eyes, still is, as it is able to bring me to tears no matter how many times I read it.
Synopsis: “Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – tbr
I am planning on reading this book in December due to much pressure from my bookstagram friends. This has been recommended to me so many times for the emotional, touching and wholesome relationships.
Synopsis: “Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleu and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles take the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bind blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.”
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – read
I read this book very early this year and since then it has become one of my auto-recommend books for the fabulous yet heartbreaking storytelling.
Synopsis: “It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learn to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.”
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – tbr
Although I have never read the book, the film adaptation is one I always go to when i need a good cry.
Synopsis: “They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose… Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life – steady boyfriend, close family – who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She take a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a accident. Will has always lived a huge life – big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel – and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy – but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.”
Half a World Away by Mike Gayle – read
This book has such a special place in my heart because of the very importing and touching issues discusses. After reading this in summer, it has since become another one of my auto-recommend books simply due to how well is deals with such difficult topics.
Synopsis: “Kerry Hayes is single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past. Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a child, Noah always looks forward, never back. When Kerry reaches out to the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain if events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.”
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – tbr
This books has been recommended soooooo many times and, quite frankly, I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up yet since from the synopsis this sounds like an amazing book. I know this has become so many people favourite book of the year simply because of how well it deals with a difficult, complex and heartbreaking story.
Synopsis: “Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousand of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonisation. The other thread follows Edi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – read
Another book that means so much to me! I read this when I was in my first year of high school and I just connected to it on such a deep level. The story of Charlie, his friends and their journey, is a heartbreaking one, but one I will never forget.
Synopsis: “This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.”
Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott- tbr
Another film to absolutely torn me to pieces! So much so that I had to immediately rewatch it to make sure I wasn’t imagining the ending. Although I have never read the book, I’m sure it lives up to the heartbreaking hype. It is definitely one I need to read in the future.
Synopsis: “Stella Grant likes to be in control – even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardise the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions. The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals. Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant lost. Either one of them could die. The only want to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesnt feel like safety. It feels like punishment. What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stole from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?”
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas – read
I read this book in the summer which was a very apt time to read it considering the resurge of the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd. Due to the discussion of racism in the mainstream media, it definitely added power to an already incredibly powerful book.
Synopsis: “Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterwards, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – tbr
If the four winner stickers of various book prizes doesn’t tell you anything, then I’m not sure what will. Another book that I have been wanting to read for ages due to so many recommendations of it being such an emotional read.
Synopsis: “Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship – the kind that change lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – read
This was a surprisingly emotional read for me! I think the realistic and fully developed characters in this book help bring it to life and make it such a real, raw, emotional and at times, heartbreaking rollercoaster of a read.
Synopsis: “Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. REgardless of why Evelyn has chose her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump start her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los ANgeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds – revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love – Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.”
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – tbr
This synopsis sounds like it is full of nostalgia, emotional growth and mindfulness which is the recipe for a tear jerking book.
Synopsis: “Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and have you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons on how to live.”
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson – read
Another book which I read when I was in my my first year of high school and was a real eye-opener. This was probably my first exposure of gender identity and LGTBQ+ themes and issues, particularly surrounding the discussion of being and want to be transgender. I think what made this book so emotional for me, it that at a young age is showed me that there are plenty of people who go through struggles with their gender identity who don’t always have the support they need, which is truly heartbreaking.
Synopsis: “Two boys. Two secrets. David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully think he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long.”
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – tbr
This has become a fan favourite amongst the book community for being a heartbreaking and emotional, historical fiction set during the second world war, which deals with familiar themes.
Synopsis: “France, 1939. In the quiet village if Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France… but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can… completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.”
Thank you for reading this blog post and I hope you have found a book for the next time you need a cry. If you like the sound of any of these books, you can purchase them at Bookshop.org through my affiliate link!