Discussion: Books That Have Made Me Cry and Why I Love Them

Happy Friday, everyone – and welcome back to A Book Owl’s Corner!

Honestly, guys, you have no idea how relieved I am to be able to say this, because in case you didn’t notice, I spent the past week with a ludicrous blog name I couldn’t wait to get rid of πŸ™ˆ But what can I say? Nehal @Books and Words dared me to change it, and if you know me at all, you’ll know I’ll do the stupidest things on a dare. I mean, this is coming from the person whose best friend pretended not to know her on their class trip to Rome, because their other friend dared her to run the entire distance between the Pantheon and the Colosseum while flapping her arms and boking like a chicken… I just can’t resist a good dare 🀣

Flashback to Rome, 2013. I hadn’t mastered smiling for the camera then, either, but maybe the awful grin is also foreshadowing the embarrassing agony I’m about to put my friends through 😈

Still, it was actually kind of interesting seeing everyone’s reactions! Much to Nehal’s disappointment, many of you didn’t even seem to notice – and I mean, I totally feel you there, because I wouldn’t notice that kind of stuff either 😁 – but some of you did, and your comments/messages were priceless! So yeah, sorry to everyone who was really confused! And Nehal, I hope you appreciate my commitment, because my views really plummeted this week – probably because people wondered who this weirdo in their subscription feed was πŸ˜‚ Though, in all fairness, it could also be due to you guys not being as interested in book cover comparison posts, so maybe I’ll have to repeat this experiment sometime in the future, just to see whether it was a fluke or not 😎 And besides, I got no spam comments at all these past few days, so that’s definitely a bonus!

But let’s get back on topic, because today, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite things in the world: books that have made me cry!

To be honest, I don’t actually cry all that often when reading. There’s really only a handful of books that have ever brought me to tears; if I’m lucky, I read maybe one or two a year.

And if I do cry, it’s not necessarily the moments where you’d think I would. Big battles, blood – bring them on! Characters can be mortally wounded, terrified, even dying, and I won’t bat an eye. I will gladly watch my fictional friends suffer for the sake of a bit of action and drama.

Instead, what really gets to me are those moments when characters finally open up to one another. When they, after what might even be years of misunderstandings, finally share secrets that have been weighing them down. When they bond over shared losses and realize they might not be as at odds with each other as they’ve always thought. When they finally realize someone else understands.

Oddly specific, I know. But basically every book that has ever made me cry had some variation of this! And before I try to analyze why exactly this hits me so hard, let’s get into some examples! Here are six seven prominent books that have managed to make me cry, and why.

[Don’t worry – I tried to either be purposefully vague or so weirdly specific that I don’t think you’re going to understand much of what I’m talking about if you haven’t read the book in question. So I don’t think there are any major spoilers in here πŸ˜‰ Still: Proceed at your own risk!]

😭 #1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling 😭

I know what you’re thinking. “Naemi, you said you don’t cry when characters die, even when you really love them!” And don’t worry – I stand by that. Despite Deathly Hallows gruesomely killing off some of my most beloved characters ever, those scenes have never made me cry. Instead, what gets to me, every single time, is Kreacher’s Tale.

Oh my god, guys 😭😭 Just making me think about poor Kreacher, describing Regulus being dragged beneath the water by those Inferi and living in that house with people who hated him, unable to tell anyone what happened, has me sniffling again. It’s soooo sad! How can people not cry when they read it? AND HOW WAS THIS SCENE, WHICH IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS IN THE BOOKS, NOT IN THE MOVIES, HUH?!? 😑

Anyway, I’m actually kind of relieved my mom picked me up from my sleepover before I got to that part – my best friend, her twin brother, and I had all spent the night at their house so we could attend the Deathly Hallows release party together – because then I could spend several minutes bawling in peace without disturbing anyone or horrifying my friends into thinking half of the characters had died or something…

😭 #2 Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson 😭

This book is probably also on lots of people’s “sad books” lists. It is, after all, the story of a family trying to come to terms with the fact that one of them is dying. It’s about their last vacation with their dad. About a lot of memories resurfacing.

But again, the death part itself wasn’t what destroyed me. Instead, there’s this scene where the protagonist and her mom get into a stupid argument about something quite trivial and Taylor storms off to be on her own. And somehow, it’s just so heartbreakingly tragic! From that scene alone, you can tell how everyone in the family is trying to avoid the inevitable and not discussing their feelings, so ultimately, they end up lashing out at the people they love most. And that just punches me in the gut. Every single time. πŸ˜ͺ

😭 #3 The How and the Why by Cynthia Hand 😭

Now that I’ve already mentioned Second Chance Summer, I have to make use of the opportunity and also bring back one of my favorite books of last year – because The How and the Why actually made me cry for very similar reasons! This book is a YA contemporary novel about a girl trying to find her birth mother, and it actually had me teary eyed on more than occasion πŸ˜ͺ

First up, there’s just no way you can’t fall for the relationship between Cass and her (adoptive) mom, who, like Taylor’s dad in Second Chance Summer, is severely ill and in danger of dying. There’s this scene at the hospital, where Cass and her mom get into an argument, and I just couldn’t keep those tears from flowing…

Then, there’s also Cass’s relationship with her best friend Nyla. Nyla, who is faced with the brunt of Cass’s helplessness and anger, and whom Cass says some extremely hurtful and racist things to. Gosh, you guys. Those conversations between the two of them! They were some of the most well-written dialogue I’ve ever come across. And extremely tear-inducing πŸ˜…

😭 #4 The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall 😭

You probably know by now that I’m absolutely obsessed with the Penderwicks series. This is one of the best family stories out there, and it has it all. The funny moments. The serious moments. The cringe-worthy moments. And the utterly heart-breaking ones.

And The Penderwicks in Spring absolutely destroyed me. There’s this scene where Batty overhears a conversation between her older sister Skye (a.k.a. the best Penderwick 😌) and their friend Jeffrey, the repercussions of which had me full-out sobbing for at least the entire following chapter. Jeanne Birdsall, how could you! I was definitely not okay! Talk about an emotional misunderstanding! 😭😭😭

😭 #5 Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards 😭

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A lot of people know Julie Andrews from movies such as The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins, but few people know that in addition to being a world-famous actress, she also has a great talent for writing. Because boy, did this tale about a young orphan girl finding an abandoned cottage in the woods and trying to restore it worm its way into my heart! 😍

And then there’s this scene, were Mandy gets really sick, has to stay with a family over Christmas, falls in love with them, and then has to return to the orphanage. Watching that carefree child cut herself off from everyone, just because she’s scared that no one will love her in return, is absolutely heart-wrenching πŸ˜ͺ Just trust me and read this if you ever need a good cry, okay?

😭 #6 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 😭

I’m saving the best for last, because Mockingjay, without a doubt, has one of the most cry-worthy scenes out of any book I’ve ever read. And again, I’m not talking about the character deaths, though those were also incredibly heart-wrenching. I mean that scene at the very end, with Buttercup and Katniss! πŸ₯Ί

No matter what I do, he won’t go. He circles me, just out of reach, as wave after wave of sobs racks my body, until eventually I fall unconscious. But he must understand. He must know the unthinkable has happened and that to survive will require previously unthinkable acts. Because hours later, when I come to in my bed, he’s there in the moonlight. Crouched beside me, yellow eyes alert, guarding me from the night.

Mockingjay, p. 451

Sure, I guess this scene is technically also character-death related, but it’s so much more than that. It is about Katniss finally being able to grieve. It is about a cat who walked miles and miles to return to the person he loved most, only to realize she was gone. And it is about Katniss finally bonding with an animal she once tried to drown. How can you not tear up at that?

Also, in contrast to the Harry Potter people, the people in charge of the Mockingjay actually put this scene in the movie! And I think it’s horribly sad there, as well 😭 Which just goes to show once again that the Hunger Games has the much better adaptation πŸ˜‡

😭 Bonus: Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins 😭

Okay, I lied. Mockingjay wasn’t the final entry in this post. Because while writing about Mockingjay, I realized that there is actually a series finale by Suzanne Collins that is possibly even more heart-wrenching. A series finale that actually had me bawling, with a huge lump in my throat and red eyes, over a character death. So yeah, I guess I also lied about those not affecting me πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚

But maybe I didn’t, not really… Because it’s not so much the character death that hits me so hard, but another character’s reaction to it. If you’ve read this book, I’m sure you know what I mean. Just think of someone gripping a claw really, really tightly 😭😭😭😭😭 **Starts tearing up in mere memory of this**

phantom der nacht bat GIF

Seriously, if you haven’t read The Underland Chronicles yet, go do it! They’re every bit as good as The Hunger Games. πŸ₯°


So yeah – I hope that gives you some idea of what makes me cry in a book! Like I said, there aren’t many books that manage to get me to this point. But when you combine the right amount of sadness with the right amount of character insight and emotion, you can even open up this hard-hearted reader’s tear-ducts.

And I think maybe that’s because I’m such a character-driven reader in general? You can give me a book with next to no plot at all – if it has loads of character development, I will be absolutely riveted. But give me an action-packed novel that doesn’t tell me what characters are currently thinking and struggling with, and I will hate it. **cough Golden Son cough**

Which means that the ultimate way to get me to feel sadness is to have me relate to the characters themselves going through that emotion, and to have me feel for them on a deep level. And if a book manages to do that, it’s pretty much guaranteed a spot on my favorites list.

But enough about me! I want to know about you! Do you often cry while reading, or are you an unperturbed villain like me? What is it about a book that will make you cry? Do you have any recommendations for books that you think will make me cry? If so, please spill the beans!

30 thoughts on “Discussion: Books That Have Made Me Cry and Why I Love Them

  1. Definitely Moi says:

    Wow, I appreciate how you agreed to run between the Pantheum and Colloseum like a chicken. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜‚ (Ahh I’ve always wanted to go to Rome) I noticed the name change, or rather, Nameless change, but didn’t comment on it very much. I found it rather funny 😁

    As for the actual post, books never make me cry, (I’m saying that with a bit of concern) and unfortunately, I haven’t read a lot of these books, but I’m very much a character-driven reader too! And I fully agree with you on the character deaths. Everyone’s reaction to the character’s passing makes their death more human and…real. Excellent post, Naemi!

    Liked by 2 people

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad you appreciate my boldness and daring 🀣 Though, to be fair, we were off exploring the city on our own at the time, so the only people around who actually knew me were my friends. And why should I care if loads of random strangers thought I was a bit off my rocker? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚ But I would definitely highly recommend Rome once travel is possible again! It’s such a beautiful city, and I was freaking out about actually being at the places I had read so much about in Latin and history class 😊

      Also, I’m glad you thought my nameless name was funny πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚

      And maybe you just haven’t found the right cry-worthy book yet, Moi! (Or you’re just a heartless reader in general and have every right to be concerned 😜) But seriously, as someone who ALMOST never cries when reading, I can relate! Which makes it even cooler when something does thaw through my icy exterior πŸ₯° I’m always on the lookout for books that will make me cry, so maybe I should finally check out Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life because that seems to have reduced even the most stoic readers to tears, from what I’ve heard πŸ€”πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jan @ thedoodlecrafter says:

    I love this post!!! Books break my heart and then leaves me shocked and make me burst out laughing but I never, ever cry while reading one. But that makes this post all the more interesting, I totally agree that Kreacher’s story is the saddest thing ever.
    As an aside: haha I noticed you changed your blog name but I’d no idea you did it for a dare!!!! After Nehal’s crazy post recently I should’ve expected thatπŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, even if Kreacher’s Tale didn’t make you cry, I’m glad we agree on how horribly sad it is 😭😭 And the books that make me burst out laughing are actually even rarer than the ones that make me cry, so I’m not so sure what that says about me…
      Also, I obviously have way better taste in blog names than Nehal does, so you can rest assured that I wouldn’t never voluntarily change mine to something as lacklustre as she picked out πŸ˜‡πŸ˜œ Though I agree, you can’t be too careful when it comes to Nehal… Next time something weird happens in this community, I’m definitely going to keep a close watch on her and see if she’s involved somehow! I’ve missed out on way too many interesting things! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Nehal Jain says:

    So I’m not gonna pretend, the struggle you’ve had with nameless naemi makes the evil within me grin so badly πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Ever need more dares, I’m always there 😈🀣. And yeah, I definitely appreciate your commitment, most people wouldn’t have done it πŸ˜‚.

    So I’m not gonna rant about why mockingjay disappointed me so much, I think we’ve had that convo πŸ˜‚. But I cried at like 3-4 Harry Potter books 😞. I have been meaning to reread them but then I don’t feel in the mood aah, I should reread em soon. Thanks for sharing this list dude, I would love to give these a shot someday, I love some tears when reading a book πŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yes, there’s definitely a lot of evil within you πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ But you know, it takes one evil person to know another, so I might have to plan revenge someday… 😈 (Or, if you’re up for the challenge now, I dare you to answer your comments on your next post only using book quotes πŸ˜‰)

      And yeah, we’ve definitely had the Mockingjay conversation! 🀣 While I’m still severely disappointed that you don’t appreciate its greatness, I guess I’m mollified by the fact that you also think Harry Potter is cry-worthy πŸ₯° AND YES, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY REREAD THEM!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Line says:

    About the Nameless Naemi thing… I noticed. I didn’t understand but my reaction was more “Sure, you do you, Naemi”, but the real reason is hilarious! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    And I LOVE this theme for a post! Sad books are the best and we do have some things in common. I also rarely cry when reading which is funny because I cry about almost everything else πŸ˜… And then when I do cry over books it’s more like I get a little teary-eyed than full-on sobbing. Only A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness really got that reaction out of me, but that one also triggered some feelings about my grandmother who had died the year before.
    However, I don’t cry over the same scenes as you do. I actually only cry over deaths, although I do appreciate scenes such as the ones you mention. So yes, I also shed some tears during Deathly Hallows. For Fred and when Harry “died”, but as I grew older I also found myself getting emotional over Harry digging Dobby’s grave.

    I don’t remember crying over Mockingjay but I vividly remember that scene you describe in the movie. That was amazing and I might have teared up a little over that.

    And recommendations for books that will make you cry? Well, since you haven’t included the saddest book of all time on this list, I kinda assume you haven’t read it: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It is pure misery and has zero plot, and might be my favorite non-fantasy book because it’s so depressing but also heartwarming at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, it’s good to know I’d still have your support even with a really weird blog name 🀣🀣 Though now I’m starting to wonder what other stupid things I’ve written here without anyone calling me out on them, since everyone apparently noticed the name change but just didn’t say anything πŸ˜‚

      And aahhh, I can’t believe I forgot to put A Monster Calls in this post!! You’re right, that book is absolutely heart-wrenching, and I can’t even imagine how much worse it would hit shortly after losing someone you really cared about. But again, I didn’t really cry over the death in that one, but over how alone and misunderstood Conor felt 😭 And Harry’s “death” in Deathly Hallows actually got to me a little the first time too – though if I remember correctly, it was mostly Professor McGonagall, Ron, Hermione and Ginny’s reactions to seeing his body that really tugged at my heartstrings… Though yeah – I hardly ever fully sob at sad scenes, either. My “crying” is usually restricted to teary eyes, too πŸ˜‚ I actually cry a lot more when watching sad movies, though I don’t know exactly why…

      And no, I haven’t read A Little Life yet! But it’s a weird coincidence you should mention it, because that’s actually the book I had in mind of picking up while writing this post. Literally everyone who’s read it mentioned it making them cry, so my expectations are astronomical πŸ˜… I’m honestly a bit scared of reading it, but you loving it too is a very good sign! I guess I should just go ahead and do it πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line says:

        Oh yeah, the reactions to Harry’s body were definitely hard to read for me as well. However, my tears came already when Harry was hit with the curse and the chapter ends. Not that I believed that he dead, but that whole chapter (which I believe I’ve talked about before) was so powerful that it made me feel as if he actually died. And I was also severely sleep deprived at that point πŸ˜…

        And now I cannot think about anything else but you reading A Little Life! 😍 I really think it has a lot of things you’re going to like, also some of the things you mentioned in this post. It’s so sad!

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I honestly don’t even remember whether I thought Harry was really dead or not! I think I actually might’ve? πŸ˜…πŸ€” Though while I did love the chapter, it still didn’t make me cry πŸ˜‚ And gosh, yes, the sleep deprivation was real! My friend’s mom did make sure we slept a little bit, but with a new Harry Potter book waiting, she just wasn’t that convincing… And when I got up, I did nothing except read, so by the time I got to the end, I was sooo tired! 🀣

          And I actually think our library opened up again this week, so it might be the perfect time to see if it has a copy of A Little Life! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  5. jawahirthebookworm says:

    The best books are the ones where you just look at the cover and instantly form some sort of emotion; you know the book definitely hit you right in the feels. I’m most likely to shed tears in a series because I’m more invested in it and I feel like I walked alongside these characters, so any deaths or heartbreaks hit hard (I’m procrastinating from reading Rule of Wolves for this reason!)

    I didn’t know the queen Julie Andrews wrote books!? What!? I’ll have to check that out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, I think I’ve never really formed a deep emotional connection to a book just based on the cover alone, but there have definitely been covers that had me intrigued from the get go and that led to me picking something up that I might never have found otherwise!

      And I completely agree with you on the series thing! The longer I spend getting to know characters, the more I fall in love with them, so it hits even harder when something terrible happens to them. But I also absolutely love getting my heart broken! 😁 There’s nothing more disappointing than when authors themselves get so attached to their characters that they’re unwilling to let anyone other than random side characters get hurt in a finale – it’s so unrealistic!

      Also, I haven’t read Rule of Wolves yet, either, but I’m actually not procrastinating as much due to my fear of heartbreak, but for fear of disappointment. A certain twist at the end of King of Scars just felt like a really cheap plot device to me that kept the series from being its own independent story, so I’m terrified I might feel let down by Rule of Wolves, too πŸ˜… But I hope we both end up picking it up eventually and end up loving it!

      And yes, I didn’t know Julie Andrews was a writer for the longest time, either! But Mandy is definitely worth checking out! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • jawahirthebookworm says:

        I understand your King of Scars disappointment! I felt the same way too, it lacked the needed punch and tbh it felt more like a prequel than strong book. The ending though made me more intrigued to read Rule of Wolves πŸ˜‚ πŸ™ˆ I really hope this lives up to it’s expectations and delivers a satisfying closure.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Potterheadaanya says:

    Mockingjay was hella depressing, so was deathly hallows (tonks😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 and others too but tonks was da best)
    Cool post!!!!!!!!
    So you actually did that in Rome, wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yes, they were both sooo sad 😭😭😭 Tonks death hit me really hard, too, but I think Fred’s was even worse 😭 Just thinking about poor George all on his own has my heart tearing in two…
      And yes, I did quite a few weird things in Rome πŸ˜‚ Our dares just kept escalating over the week we were there 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Rachel says:

    Hello Naemi, I found this post through another blogger, and I really liked reading it! Ahh Penderwicks is on my TBR, I am hoping to read it soon.
    Oh I think I can recommend you a few books which might make you teary-eyed. The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas, The Six Bad Boys (and literally any book by Enid Blyton in her ‚Family Adventures series), The Outsiders, The Miracle On Ebenezer Street, Bridge to Terabithia, The Book Thief…the list goes on and on.
    Looking forward to reading more posts of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Oooh, thanks so much for the long list of recommendations! 😍 I’ve actually read a couple of them – Bridge to Terabithia also had me sobbing, and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Book Thief brought me very close to tears, so I will definitely be checking out some of the other books on your list. You seem to have hit my reading tastes straight on the head! And how have I never heard of that Enid Blyton series?? 🧐 I devoured her books as a child and still love rereading them, so I will have to get my hands on the Family Adventure series!
      Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by, Rachel, book enthusiasts with great recommendations are always welcome here! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Ahhh, I’m so glad you understand the pure sadness that is Kreacher’s Tale 😭😭😭 It makes Deathly Hallows so much better πŸ˜ͺπŸ₯°
      And thank you! Happy reading in June to you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. bibliomavens says:

    I’m here! I loved your post. I actually haven’t heard of any of these other than Mockingjay and Deathly Hallows. I sobbed my way through Deathly Hallows like an actual baby, so that book was an emotional wreck for me lol. But I definitely have to check these other ones out.

    I like what you said about not crying at deaths but at character moments. That’s what gets me too. Deaths can get me, but it’s usually the living character’s reactions to that death that make me cry more than the character actually dying. I just love a good character-driven story and if done right I’ll sob through scenes that probably weren’t supposed to be that sad but the characters just got me. Anyway, great post! – Amber

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I love how at least half of the people in this comment section were destroyed by Deathly Hallows πŸ˜‚ There are just so many wonderfully sad scenes in there! πŸ˜ͺπŸ₯°

      And you put the whole crying over character moments thing so much better than I did! A character could probably sob over the death of a butterfly or something, as long as they are very emotionally invested, I’ll start tearing up, too 🀣

      Anyway, I’m glad to hear you might be checking some of these out – I definitely intend to pick up some of the books on your list, as well!

      Like

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