Sometimes a heart wrenching love story is just what the doctor ordered. Luckily, there's no shortage of romantic tearjerkers to fulfill your needs—and we've included ten of the best below! Whether they're tales of doomed lovers or books by the King of #Feels himself, Nicholas Sparks, each one is guaranteed to make you cry, Claire Danes-style. Proceed with tissues.
Me Before You
When the dashingly handsome Will Traynor is paralyzed after being hit by a car, his distraught mother hires a young woman, Louisa, to care for him. Of course Louisa and Will fall for each other, but can she convince him that life is worth living, even in a wheelchair? This book will make you ask yourself why you like to suffer alongside your characters. (P.S. The movie is equally as heartbreaking!)
The End of the Affair
In Graham Greene’s classic 1951 novel, the love affair between Bendrix and Sarah is compounded by the fact that London is under attack by German forces during WWII. The cover of night allows them to meet secretly, but when Bendrix is almost killed when a bomb hits his house, Sarah abruptly stops seeing him. This gorgeously written, gut-wrenching saga is a moving rumination on love and sacrifice in imperiled times.
A Walk to Remember
When we read a synopsis that includes terminal illness, we should know by now to run as far, far away from the bookstore as possible. Jamie and Landon are very different, but that doesn’t stop popular Landon from realizing that he loves Bible-carrying Jamie—even when it’s revealed that she's suffering from leukemia. Let’s just say that our hearts were bleeding by the end of the book.
A Little Life
A finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize, the intense relationship between Jude and Willem has readers leaving the pages of this novel stained with tears. As the evil past that explains Jude’s behavior is revealed, Yanagihara puts her readers through hell and back as they wait to see if Jude and Willem’s relationship can survive. To be honest, we barely survived this book.
The Time Traveler's Wife
Clare is married to Henry, who suffers from a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time uncontrollably. She spends most of her life waiting for Henry to return from his dangerous passages, which weaken his health. The two are desperate to have a child, but worry that he or she will share the same condition as his or her father. A compelling combination of romance and light sci-fi, The Time Traveler's Wife is a heartbreaking tale of navigating the emotional and physical distances of romantic relationships.
The Fault in Our Stars
It’s bad enough that 16-year-old Hazel Grace is suffering from thyroid cancer. But then heart-crushing author John Green has to introduce Augustus, who lost a leg to bone cancer at 17 and convinces Hazel that life is precious. We don’t want to give away the ending, but there must indeed be some kind of fault in our stars if we can get through this book without having a nervous breakdown.
Never Let Me Go
In this devastating Science Fiction saga from Kazuo Ishiguro, Kathy recounts her experiences growing up alongside her friends Ruth and Tommy at an unusual private school called Halisham. Kathy always played third wheel to Ruth and Tommy’s relationship, but will she have the courage to tell Tommy her true feelings before the horrifying secret that connects the three of them is revealed? Will we ever recover from this book? Nope.
If I Stay
Mia is the only survivor of a horrific car accident that leaves the rest of her family dead. Through an out-of-body experience, she realizes she is in a coma and must decide whether to stay on Earth or to die and be with her family. The love of her life, her boyfriend Adam, comes to visit her nearly every day in the hospital, and through a series of flashbacks, Mia must make the ultimate decision. Talk about a tear-jerker.
Eleanor & Park
Eleanor and Park go together like peas and carrots, to quote Forrest Gump. As high school students in 1986, they bond over a shared love of comics and mix-tapes. But their relationship isn’t welcomed by either of their families, and Eleanor’s home life is anything but healthy. For anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t fit in, this love story is a reminder of what it is like to first find a kindred spirit.
Noah and Allie’s love story alone would be enough to induce ugly crying, but Nicholas Sparks takes it one step further. They end up together (finally!), but now as elderly patients in a nursing home, Allie is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Noah from cancer. He tells Allie the story of their meeting and love affair so that she can remember—and so that we can end up totally emotionally wrecked.
Featured still from "Me Before You" (2016), via Warner Bro. Pictures