19 Best Sad Books Update 05/2022

Best Sad Books

Books are powerful tools that can help us feel a wide range of emotions. They can be scary stories that make us shiver, or romance novels that make us want to fall in love. Though it might seem weird to want to be sad, the sorrow we feel from reading a book can help us understand people or situations we wouldn’t have otherwise.

The books on this list are bestsellers, winners of awards, or just books that people say make them cry because they are so full of emotion. Some of the best sad books are shown here. If you’re looking for heartbreaking love stories or coming-of-age novels with a heartbreaking twist, these are some of them.

The best sad books:

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

One of John Green’s best-selling young-adult romance novels is called “The Fault in Our Stars.” Hazel and Augustus meet at a cancer support group when Augustus is in remission and Hazel is fighting for her life, and they fall in love with each other. When they start to like each other right away, they agree to read each other’s favorite books in this story that needs a tissue box nearby.

“They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both get a phone call from Death-Cast at midnight in the science fiction world of “They Both Die at the End.” They are told that they will die that day. Mateo and Rufus are both looking for someone to spend the last day of their lives with. Mateo and Rufus find each other and decide to go on one last adventure together before their time is up.

“Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson

They are like sisters, so when Monday doesn’t show up for the first day of school, Claudia knows right away. When it becomes clear that Monday has gone, Claudia realizes that no one can seem to remember the last time they saw her in this heartbreaking young adult book.

“All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven

When Violet Markey and Theodore Finch meet on the ledge of their school’s bell tower, they both plan to jump, but they save each other. When they work together on a project to find the natural wonders of Indiana, Theodore and Violet find a safe place in each other. If you want to know more about why we love “All the Bright Places,” check out our in-depth review.

“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

In “A Little Life,” four friends move to New York City and try to make their own lives, both together and apart. It was a finalist for the National Book Award. It’s a book about Jude, a lawyer who has a bad past, a broken heart, and a lot of trauma. The book follows the group through middle age.

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

During tense times in Afghanistan, “The Kite Runner” tells the story of a young, rich boy and the son of his father’s servant, Hassan. They often fly kites to get away from the realities of their lives. Things go wrong in this book and it turns into a story of guilt, betrayal, and redemption when it does.

“Glorious Boy” by Aimee Liu

It’s 1942 when the Japanese army plans to invade India. As a result, Claire and Shep know that they have to leave with their son Ty and leave Naila behind. Both of their children have gone missing the morning they are supposed to leave. Shep forces Claire to board the ship while he stays behind to look for them in this heartbreaking story of strength, perseverance, and being a mother.

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

August Pullman is finally going back to school in 5th grade, after being homeschooled his whole life because of a facial difference. August is different from other kids, but he finds comfort in new friends, his sister, her boyfriend, and his family.

“The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

As a Spanish classic, “The House of the Spirits” first came out in 1982. It’s about four generations of a family who live in the same house. As the story moves through the most important and difficult times in the lives of the family, it connects with political and social unrest to make a stunning book full of magical realism.

“Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano

It was a plane crash that killed 186 people, including Edward Adler’s parents and his older brother. He is the only person who survived. During this heart-wrenching story, Edward looks for a new place in the world. It moves back and forth between what happened before and after the car accident, and it’s hard to put down.

“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Summer of 1987: Aristotle meets Dante at a pool near where he lives, and Dante says he’ll teach him how to swim. Boys become inseparable as they learn more about each other and the world around them.

“You’ve Reached Sam” by Dustin Thao

Her world and her plans for the future are turned upside down when her boyfriend, Sam, dies. She wants to hear his voice, so she calls Sam’s phone. She finds that she can connect to him again in this young adult romance about heartbreak and grief, even though they broke up.

“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Heartbreaking children’s book: “Bridge to Terabithia” is about two kids who become fast friends after meeting in a new class. They spend their time in the woods playing in an imaginary land called Terabithia, where they dream up new things and meet new people. When Leslie goes to Terabithia on a morning without Jess, something bad happens, and Jess’s life changes for the rest of her.

“A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks

A Walk to Remember is a romantic book by Nicholas Sparks that makes people cry. This is the love story of Landon Carter, who fell in love with Jamie Sullivan in the 1950s when they were both high school students. His love for her stayed strong even though they had to go through a lot of hard things together.

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes

Will Traynor, a very rich man, had a terrible accident and ended up in a wheelchair. Louisa Clark was hired to care for him. We learn that Will wants to die by assisted suicide as the two become friends. Louisa goes out of her way to show him that there is still so much to life.

“Marley and Me” by John Grogan

Marley and Me by John Grogan

For their first home together, John and Jenny brought home a little yellow Labrador puppy, named Marley. They named him after their new home. During this story, we see how Marley’s obedience training didn’t work out, how he met his new human siblings, and how he learned about unconditional love.

“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes

“Flowers for Algernon” is a short science fiction book from 1966. It is told through reports written by Charlie Gordon, the first human subject for a surgery that will make him smarter. It worked on a lab mouse named Algernon, but when the mouse starts to get sick, Charlie is afraid the same thing will happen to him.

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

Liesel, a young girl in 1939 Nazi Germany, finds a book by her brother’s grave. This inspires a love of books and book theft, especially from Nazi book-burnings. During World War II, Death tells the story of Liesel, a girl who grows up with foster parents who hide a Jewish person in their basement. Her world is turned upside down.

“Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

When Clay Jensen comes home from school, he finds a package with cassettes recorded by Hannah Baker. They explain the 13 reasons why she took her own life. Clay follows Hannah around town as he listens to the tapes, and he finds out some very bad things about her and her family.

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