We Can’t Even: 12 Sad Books for When You Need a Good Cry

    We still haven't recovered from these reads.

    It seems like only yesterday we were balling our eyes out in the middle school bathroom over The Bridge of Terabithia. And don’t even get us started on The Lovely Bones. When we see someone carrying a copy of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, we want to yell, “Get ready to weep!” extremely loudly and incredibly close to his or her face.

    If life has you needing an outlet (like a pillow to sob in) you’re in luck with these sad books that’ll have you crying wee, wee, wee, all the way home—or at least to your next read.



    Buy Bridge to Terabithia at Amazon

    Bridge to Terabithia

    By Katherine Paterson

    In this childhood classic, Jesse—an angry, depressed, and fearful boy—meets Leslie, a smart, outgoing, and talented tomboy. The two children create Terabithia, their own private sanctuary in the woods where they escape from everyday hardships and school bullies. Together they are the king and queen of their own little kingdom. Leslie transforms Jesse’s life into one full of happiness, bravery, and friendship. But unfortunately, the hardships Jesse faced before he met Leslie are nothing compared to what’s soon to come.

    Bridge to Terabithia

    By Katherine Paterson

    Buy Alex at Amazon

    Alex

    By Frank Deford

    Alex Deford, much like other little girls, plays with her friends, goes on vacation with her family, and goes to school. Unlike other little girls, Alex Deford will die of cystic fibrosis at 8 years old. This heartbreaking, non-fiction tale is a result of her father’s journal, chronicling Alex’s bravery in the face of a certain, painful end and the family’s celebration of each cherished day with their daughter. Alex’s realization of her mortality and her bravery in the face of her fate is painful and beautiful.

    Buy The Lovely Bones at Amazon

    The Lovely Bones

    By Alice Sebold

    In 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon takes her shortcut home from school through the cornfield behind her neighborhood. When she encounters her neighbor, 36-year-old George Harvey, he lures her into an underground den he has built where he rapes and murders her. What follows is the tragic life her family and friends struggle with after she’s gone, obsessing over justice for her death. She watches from heaven as they grow older and farther apart without her. Susie’s death is only the first of many sad moments in this book.

    The Lovely Bones

    By Alice Sebold

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    Buy The Time Traveler's Wife at Amazon

    The Time Traveler's Wife

    By Audrey Niffenegger

    When the one you love is a time traveler and he doesn’t choose when it will happen or where he goes, it can put quite a strain on a marriage. This book does an excellent job of transporting the reader into one couple’s tumultuous life.

    The Time Traveler's Wife

    By Audrey Niffenegger

    Buy My Sister's Keeper at Amazon

    My Sister's Keeper

    By Jodi Picoult

    You might call Anna a “planned” child. Planned in the sense that she was born for the specific purpose of being a blood and bone marrow donor to her sister, Kate, who is dying from leukemia. Anna spends her entire life being poked and prodded with needles for the sake of her sister, but will she risk her own life to save Kate’s?

    My Sister's Keeper

    By Jodi Picoult

    Buy Atonement at Amazon

    Atonement

    By Ian McEwan

    Atonement tells the brilliantly tragic story of misunderstanding. In 1934, 13-year-old Briony witnesses a flirtation between her older sister Cecilia and family friend Robbie. Without a firm grasp on adult intentions, she mistakes it for something it is not. The story continues to follow the lives that Briony destroyed with her seemingly innocent mistake as a young girl.

    Atonement

    By Ian McEwan

    Buy Orphan Train at Amazon

    Orphan Train

    By Christina Baker Kline

    Between 1853 and 1929, thousands of orphaned children were sent from the crowded East Coast to the Midwest for supposedly better lives. Some who were young and cute enough were adopted by loving families. But more often than not, children were taken in as indentured servants. These children were made to work on farms and perform chores for the families that “adopted” them. This is the story of crushed hope and redemption.

    Orphan Train

    By Christina Baker Kline

    Buy The Art of Racing in the Rain at Amazon

    The Art of Racing in the Rain

    By Garth Stein

    Lab-terrier mix Enzo and his human go through life’s ups and downs together. But Enzo has an uncanny ability to describe the human condition as he relates his owner’s story. Of course, sometimes life comes crumbling down around both of them. As told through the dog’s point of view, this sad and heartwarming story will make you want to hug your pup at every page turn.

    The Art of Racing in the Rain

    By Garth Stein

    Buy The Boy in the Striped Pajamas at Amazon

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

    By John Boyne

    Nine-year-old Bruno is restless after his father, a Nazi commandant, is promoted and moves his family far away from Berlin to a new home. Bruno spends time by the fence behind his house, where he can see out into the distance. And it’s there that he becomes friends with Shmuel, a boy who shares the same birthday living on the other side. The boys visit at the fence often and the two form a close friendship, never fully understanding the other’s situation. But this seemingly innocent acquaintance between two children has tragic consequences for them both.

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

    By John Boyne

    Buy Revolutionary Road at Amazon

    Revolutionary Road

    By Richard Yates

    Frank and April Wheeler are a shining example of the perfect ’50s American couple: young, married, with two kids and a starter home. But blissful suburbia is not all it seems. In an era that’s usually remembered as a better time, Frank and April’s story proves you can’t always trust appearances.

    Revolutionary Road

    By Richard Yates

    Buy One Day at Amazon

    One Day

    By David Nicholls

    Emma and Dexter meet on the night of their graduation and must soon part ways. But they decide to meet each other once a year on the night they met ... for the next 20 years. With each passing year, the tension builds as two friends, who obviously love each other, are prevented from being together. This tragic love story will make you sob.

    One Day

    By David Nicholls

    Buy Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close at Amazon

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    By Jonathan Safran Foer

    While grieving for his father in the aftermath of 9/11, a boy finds a key in his father’s closet. He embarks on a journey that covers all of New York City to find the box he thinks it opens. This tale of mourning will help you take comfort in the slow road to recovery.

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    By Jonathan Safran Foer

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