As much as sad books make me sad, I adore them because I’m a psychopath. And is also what I tend to write… and aim for. Haha
But if someone wanted a sad book, something to make them sob… I’d go with these recommendations:
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.
It’s a memoir, so if it doesn’t make you sad right off the bat… then something’s wrong with you. Lol.
The book recounts Jeanette’s past, from childhood to adolescence to an adult, all about how horrible her poverty-stricken life was. Her family would travel around, living in their car at times. Her parents were care-free and very loving, but had issues of their own. Her father did odd jobs and was also an alcoholic. Her mother was a painter. Her parents hated asking for money, for help, so they did whatever they could to survive.
Coming from a poverty-stricken background myself (though, not to this extreme personally), it hit close to home and made me cry quite a few times. My sister tried to get my mom to read it and she couldn’t finish it because my parents lived through worse between them dating and when we were younger or just barely existed (after they married and had a few kids).
Also, there is a movie adaptation that stars Woody Harrelson as her father and Brie Larson as Jeanette. It was a really good movie! But of course, left a lot of tears.
Sadie by Courtney Summers.
Fictional book this time! It’s a thriller with a dash of mystery.
The story is about a nineteen year old girl who embarks on a journey to find her sister’s murderer. Her sister was thirteen. This made me cry mostly because of how young the sister was and how unfortunate their lives were. Such a good story, but can also be a tearjerker!
Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
This is a dystopian novel, and with everything going on with the abortion stuff, it’s gonna be a bit of a big pill to swallow. The book is about three unfortunate characters who are on the run from being unwound.
Let me back up a bit to describe what that means. There was a war between pro-choice and pro-life… yes, on the topic of abortion. The government couldn’t decide what to do, so they found a common ground… with advanced technology and all. That decision? Teenagers between the ages of 13-18 who are unwanted are forced to go through a process called unwinding. This means they get sent to a concentration camp and they die—their body parts are donated to people who are in need of them. However, most don’t see it as death. That’s the compromise. People believe you are still living because your body parts are still active on someone else.
Gross, right? Well yeah. This book isn’t for the faint of heart. While it is YA and details are kept PG-13, the concept is pretty grotesque.
But the story is about the characters who want to live. You got one guy whose parents can’t handle his screw-ups anymore. An orphan who takes up “too much space” at the orphanage. And a religious kid who just turned thirteen and believed his entire life was devoted to giving himself to God (a tithe, they call themselves… basically a cult).
It’s not much of a tearjerker, but once you think of the concept and the struggle these characters go through, it can make you cry. It did to me, anyway.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
My most favorite book in the world, and yes, it needs to be on the list even though I didn’t really cry when reading it but the movies make me bawl my eyes out so it deserves a spot on the list.
The concept is super depressing and with certain characters dying… or suffering… it’s enough to make you cry.
Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul.
It was first a musical, turned into a book, then turned into a movie. Lots of people hated the movie mostly because of the casting, but I personally enjoyed it. Never saw the original musical (you know, on stage) because I never knew about it and can’t find it online. But I did buy and read the book before watching the movie and listened to all the songs! Love it! I do agree that they could’ve cast someone else as Evan, but besides that, it was an amazing movie.
If you’re unfamiliar with Dear Evan Hansen, it’s about a teenage guy with depression and severe anxiety. His therapist has him do a project where he’s supposed to write a letter to himself to describe how he’s feeling and how that day is supposed to be a good day. During computer class, he prints off the letter and someone else misunderstands it (as it talks about his major crush which just so happens to be the sister of this other guy). He takes the letter and storms out. The next thing Evan knows is that the guy who stole his letter committed suicide and the parents didn’t know why, didn’t understand him well enough, and find out that he had a friend: Evan. Or at least, they think so because of that stolen letter.
While Evan tries to explain the misunderstanding, his anxiety kicks in and goes along with the idea that he was friends with their son even though he never was. So he creates more letters to make it look like he was friends with him to put the parents and the sister at ease, that their son wasn’t as bad as they thought.
The story is truly inspiring, especially if you’re like me and read stories when that darkness creeps in again.
Also, even if you’re unsure of the movie, the music is absolutely mind blowing.