Tearjerkers

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I cry incredibly easily. It’s actually slightly embarrassing to admit.

I cried a few months ago while re-watching Mulan when Mulan’s dad was called to join the military. I sobbed in the movie theater while watching Inside Out during the Bing Bong scene – you know which scene I’m talking about if you’ve watched the movie. Remember the book Holes by Louis Sachar? I read it when I was in third grade and watched the movie when it came out. I was a blubbering mess both times. So yeah, I basically embody the phrase “crying at the drop of a hat.” Therefore, I have a tendency to avoid reading books that I already know will make me cry.

 

I think that I tear up enough when reading books that aren’t intentionally sad. Scenes that are “touching” usually start my waterworks. I empathize with imaginary characters way too easily.

I’m pretty sure that’s the reason I read more young adult fiction books compared to adult fiction books – I find that adult fiction tends to be heavier and more real. So basically, books that will put me in a dreary, almost catatonic state. Am I the only one who feels this way? Or am I just picking the wrong adult fiction books to read?

 

Some popular books that I’ve avoided because I know that they’re sobfests include:

I know that these are amazing books, but I just can’t bring myself to become mentally prepared for them. Anyone have any tips maybe?

 

That being said however, I do have a few books on my TBR list that are guaranteed cry-a-thons:

The sad books that I choose to read are ones that I think I’ll be able to make through without becoming a total mess. But we’ll see what actually happens.

 

Looking at my TBR list and seeing the sad books made me wonder what other opinions were on this topic.

Let me know your thoughts! Do you purposefully pick up, or do you avoid tear-inducing books? Do you have a go-to book that makes you cry?

83 thoughts on “Tearjerkers

    1. noteablepad

      I really like North and South by Gaskell 🙂 although I didn’t cry- I felt like the journey Mr Thornton and Margaret went through was necessary, so I couldn’t help but feel happy at the end. It wasn’t depressing like most Hardy novels which make you contemplate your existence and why you’re living.

  1. Janani

    I went through a phase at the beginning of the year where I was intentionally pick up really painful books to read. I think it was the weather (Chicago winters can be brutal), but reading those books was really cathartic.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Haha, I’ve done that before – it really is cathartic! I think weather definitely plays a huge part. I don’t go through those phases very often though because usually after I’m done, I’ll avoid sad books for a long time.

  2. Cover2CoverMom

    I think it’s wonderful that you get so connected with books that they so easily move you to tears. Being emotional is not a sign of weakness, you just feel things more deeply than others. I do not think you should avoid the kinds of books that you know will provoak tears, look at all the wonderful books you have and will miss out on! My only suggestion would be to pick and choose WHERE you read these books… Ideally at home and not in a public place. I love to read sad and tragic books. I love the feelings. Don’t be scared of them, embrace them!

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      That’s really great advice! Thank you so much! I haven’t ever really perceived it as feeling things more deeply than others, but that’s a really good way to put it. Surprisingly, I haven’t thought about reading tear-inducing books only at home. That actually makes me more motivated to read those books on my to-be-avoided list. Thank you!

  3. Writeranneke

    I have avoided all those books in your first list too, not because they make me, I rarely cry in books anymore, I used to cry reading Jackie Collins when I was younger. Her books were absolute tear jerkers. I avoid those books because I just can’t do sad endings, life is sad enough.
    I would add Bright Side by Kim Holden and Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma.

    1. ReadEatQuote

      I like what you said about life’s sad enough, that’s why I can’t watch tragedies, like why watch some or read something that will purposefully make me sad. I read to escape and I want to feel happy or intrigued or something other than depressed by the end of the book.

    2. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Yeah, I mostly avoid the books that I know have sad endings. In my list of books that I’ve avoided, I know how each of them turn out. It’s hard for me to read “happy” parts of a book and the lead up to the ending, especially if I already know what’s going to happen from spoilers or simply from the premise of the book!

      I’ll definitely keep the two books you mentioned in mind!

  4. Hey Ashers!

    I cry fairly easily, too–and while I don’t mind crying at a book’s occasional touching/sad scene, I absolutely dislike intentionally sobfesty books (like The Fault in Our Stars). I have enough grief in my life; why would I put myself through the added stress and pain of a book that I know will leave me a sobbing mess? They may be cathartic for some people, but they just wear me down and depress me.

    I’m perfectly happy with saying NOPE to tearjerker books (and movies!) that are very highly rated. Other people may love them, but they’re just not a genre/type of story I find enjoyable.

    So I’m sorry I can’t give you any advice in how to mentally prepare yourself to read them! Hopefully you’ll find a way. =)

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I totally agree, Liam! It’s also hard for me to read books that are intentionally sad because they just wear me down. I very rarely find intentionally sad enjoyable – maybe when I’m already in a bad mood. Those books can help maintain my dreary mood until I’m ready to get out of it. I don’t usually do this very often though since I’ve found that sad books can just make me feel worse over a longer period of time.

      Haha, no worries at all! I love hearing your input on this topic! I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one who feels this way about sad books.

      1. Hey Ashers!

        “I very rarely find intentionally sad enjoyable – maybe when I’m already in a bad mood. Those books can help maintain my dreary mood until I’m ready to get out of it.”

        Ahaha, that’s a great point! Sometimes it’s nice to wallow a bit.

        *Sensitive Readers fistbump.*

  5. sassgasms

    I love books that make me cry or at the very least emotional and feel something. However, its the books that aren’t intentional sobfests that I like. I never cried during TFIOS, I also detested 13 Reason Why, but oddly enough I found myself sniffling every time I thought about We Were Liars and get a somber feeling. I think it’s because it wasn’t a book a lot of people in my circle talked about unlike TFIOS or any of the other books on your lists. Although I did once tell my friend that I wouldn’t cry at her funeral, but if I read a really good book I might cry.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Oh wow, that’s crazy that you didn’t cry during The Fault in Our Stars! Haha, I wish I could prepare myself for sad endings as much as you can.

      I actually also enjoy reading books that give somber feelings, in moderation though. They’re great for when I’m in a more introspective mood, but I think they can become too overwhelming if I read too much of them. You make a great point about some really good books having unexpected sad scenes, making them more impactful!

  6. noteablepad

    I cry very easily too (and I’m not particularly pretty when I cry)- but I actually don’t mind reading tearjerkers. I feel that I have to read them, to experience the pain and sorrow – after all, crying is what makes us human, and although I generally don’t feel too great about life after a sad book, I become so interested in how the author is able to make us feel that way, and like you say, it is a cathartic experience and sometimes we just crave that. You just don’t feel the same after a sad book.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I’m such an ugly crier. Haha, I think that’s a huge reason why I try not reading sad books because I don’t want people seeing me cry while immersed in a book.

      That’s such a great point – pain and sorrow are innate, important feelings to have. It’s always amazing when authors are capable of bringing that out of their readers. The times that I have finished really sad books, I’ve just stayed staring at the blank pages at the end, thinking “Wow…”

      1. noteablepad

        I have actually found that when I am around people, say, watching a movie or something- I won’t cry, but when I’m watching it alone/ reading alone, the waterworks start. And yes! “Wow…” exactly- how is it possible that just words can trigger something inside us, like an understanding … that’s just amazing! (Though some authors just go over the top *cough* Thomas Hardy)

        1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

          I’m the same way! I won’t usually cry as much (if at all) if I’m around other people – however, if I’m alone or with someone I’m really comfortable with, the tears will flow and flow and flow… Haha, oh yes, there can definitely be some authors who try too hard to evoke feelings from readers.

  7. ReadEatQuote

    I don’t cry easily, except when I’m reading a book or its the end of a TV series and I too avoid books that will purposely make me sad or depressed at the end, like The Fault in Our Stars or Thirteen Reasons Why, or even If I Stay, so I totally get where you’re going. Sometimes sad things happen in a book and it makes me cry but if it has an overall happy ending then I’m fine with. I just can’t handle things that are just depressing and main characters die.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Main characters dying can be so devastating! We build a connection with them throughout the whole book, for them to only die at the end…? That’s always just so depressing.

      I much prefer sad books that have happy endings, or even an ending that isn’t completely bleak. I can handle those better by far!

  8. Ishita

    If you are looking for more tearjerkers to put on your TBR list, I would recommend A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It is one of my fav books and one of the most.. intensely sad books I have read.. And yet, not in an overt way like A Thousand Splendid Suns..
    A lot of my teen reading years were spent in adult fiction.. I loved books involving families, rivalries spanning decades, family businesses at war .. It is only in the recent years that I started reading more of YA, dystopia and chicklit…

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Thanks for the recommendation – I just added it to my TBR list!

      For me, it’s more of the opposite! I’m trying to read more adult fiction now because well, I’m getting older so I want to be able to read books with more mature themes. It’s a slow process though, haha. That being said though, I don’t think I’ll ever stop reading young adult fiction!

  9. veeshee

    I used to be the same way but I realized that I was missing out on really great literature. What I do now is prep myself with a happy book. When I’m done crying my eyes out, I have a really happy or funny book beside me that I know will cheer me up and bring me back to happier pastures.
    See if that works for you!

  10. literaturelovereviews

    I avoid them like the plague!! I shed a few tears at the final Harry Potter book, and again during The Hunger Games, but other than that I’m not much of crier. Although this may be due to my avoidance of books likely to set me off…!!

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Haha, I definitely get where you’re coming from! Knowing that certain books will definitely make me cry makes me want to avoid them, so overall I’m not crying that much when I read, but it’s probably due to the fact that I’m not reading many tearjerkers.

      By the way, I’m sorry for replying so late! I didn’t realize until now that your comment got stuck in my spam filter – I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again! 🙂

  11. librarygurl

    I spent the entirety of reading “The Fault In Our Stars” in tears. I refuse to see the movie because of this. For me it’s not just that a moment is touching and sentimental, it’s that I can anticipate that soon something will pay off emotionally.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      That’s so interesting! I haven’t thought about being sad while anticipating something depressing at the end – I guess I get immersed in the story enough to forget that. Haha, so I suppose it’s more of a sad plateau for you and a roller coaster drop for me.

  12. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads

    Sometimes I cry super easily and sometimes I don’t. Movies make me cry super easily (I literally was sobbing during the Wizards of Waverly Place movie…) but books tend not to make me cry that much BUT I do like reading books that make me cry (or at least tear up). I’m not really sure why though. I actually haven’t read a really sad book in awhile, I should find one to read soon.

  13. Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks

    I cry SO easily as well, yet I kind of want to read all of the heartbreaking books, maybe to torture myself? I love books that are making me feel things, and TFIOS definitely did, All the bright places as well, such great books. Oh, Mockingjay as well, that book broke me. I think I know I’m going to cry for some books, yet I still want to read those, because well, if they’re good, why not. And well, if they can make me cry a lot, -like for half an hour straight…happened for TFIOS….-, it means it’s just that good I guess ahah 🙂 Great post !

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Books that bring out such sadness in readers are really powerful! It’s so interesting how just words on a page can do that. I’m really looking forward to All the Bright Places because I hear so many great things about it! Haha, I’ve put off Mockingjay for a few years because all of my friends told me it was incredibly depressing – I think I’ve put it off for long enough now. Thank you so much!

  14. Symone Books

    I cry really really easily when it comes to books and TV Shows. Sometimes if I don’t cry in a book with a “sad” scene then I know the author didn’t do a good job with executing the emotion of the scene. Because I will cry at the drop of a hat too lol. But The books i love the most are the ones that make me feel something so i love tearjerker books! my ultimate fave book is a little life by hanya yanagihara and that book is just 800 pages of pure pain so 🙂

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Yeah, I feel the same way about not crying during an intended sad scene – to me, it’s just a sign that the scene wasn’t executed optimally. I’ve been seeing A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara everywhere! I feel like all book reviewers have been talking about it. It definitely looks like a sad book – the cover is of a man crying… But you know what, I just added it to my TBR list. Why the hell not.

  15. Lois

    That Bing Bong scene in Inside Out was so sad and I admit I did well up. In general though I am not that much of a crier. However, I do have a tendency to avoid books that I know will reduce me to a sobbing mess, like Me Before You. I also think I have to be in the right mood to read those books so I don’t completely rule them out. I was so emotional reading The Book Thief. I knew the book would be sad but I did not expect it to hit me as much as it did.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Haha, I tell everyone that Bing Bong was a martyr. That scene turned me into an utter mess for a good hour.

      I definitely need to be in the right mood to read a sad book or else I can’t enjoy the book at all – that mood is fairly rare for me, as illustrated by my tendency to avoid sad books. I’ve been wanting to read The Book Thief for such a long time now, but I keep pushing it off because of how sad I hear it is. I recently bought it though, so I’m pretty committed to reading it soon!

  16. bookdragon394

    I tend to cry a lot when reading, but I like reading books that make me cry. I guess because it just shows how well it’s written and as long as the overall ending is happy, then I don’t really mind reading sobfests. I didn’t actually cry in TFIOS book, which surprised me, but I cried in City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments series). The tiniest thing can make me a blubbering mess, but things that make everyone else cry don’t make me cry a lot of the time.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I usually find it difficult reading sad books that have not-so-happy endings. It’s usually those that I avoid.

      That’s really interesting! Maybe it’s because you’re more prepared for sad scenes in books like The Fault in our Stars?

      1. bookdragon394

        I actually saw The Fault In Our Stars movie first before I read the book, so I think it’s because I knew it was going to happen, I kind of knew what would happen before seeing the movie too. It’s kind of obvious that something like that will happen. I tend to cry over the more unexpected sad events

  17. Beth (Reading Every Night)

    I don’t tend to avoid books that will make me cry, I just never really cry when I’m reading or watching movies or anything like that. It’s kind a running joke between me and my friends that I just don’t. However The Fault in the Stars did make me cry, I must be getting more emotional!
    I haven’t actually read Anne Frank’s diary but I know that would make me cry like a baby, I went to her house when I was in Amsterdam and just walking there made me cry a little.
    Oh my god The Book Thief will definitely be a cry-a-thon. It is for me but it’s one of my all-time favourites.
    Great post as well 😀

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I really want to visit Amsterdam – I would love to visit Anne Frank’s house! I know for a fact though that if I read her diary, I’d be a complete mess.

      I’m really looking forward to reading The Book Thief because so many people talk about how it’s one of their favorite books. I don’t think I’ll mind that much if it’s really sad because of how highly people talk about it!

      Thank you so much, Beth!

      1. Beth (Reading Every Night)

        Oh I would highly recommend going to Amsterdam, it is one of my favourite cities in the world that I’ve been to and going to see Anne Frank’s is an unforgettable experience. I feel I’d be the same if I ever read it, you know going in there’s not going to be a happy ending, it’d destroy me from the first page.
        It’s one of my favourite books, and it’s not my usual genre at all so that’s saying something. I really do hope you like it 🙂
        And that’s all right 😀

  18. missjekyllslife

    I cry easily too but I might say that I don’t avoid reading books that make me cry…I kind of like that books can touch me like that, being that much into the characters is why I love to read so much.
    Two books that made me cry badly lately were:
    “The last days of Rabbit Hayes” by Anna McPartlin and “Me before you” by Jojo Moyes. Terribly beautiful… 🙂

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Both of those books sound like really wonderful books! However, I don’t think I’d be able to read them because books where characters are almost guaranteed to die always make me bawl. I’m so glad that you love reading books like that though – I wish I could enjoy them just as much!

  19. A Stranger's Guide to Novels

    I never used to be so soft hearted towards books before I started up this blog, but now I at least cry while reading every odd book. But I don’t avoid books because of it, I usually love the emotionally experience (weird I Know).

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Haha, that’s not weird! I think I’m probably the odd one because I have emotional experiences reading books that aren’t intended to make the reader tear up. I love it when books give me an emotional experience – I’m just not very fond of books that have the main purpose of making the reader sad.

  20. thedaydreamingbookworm

    I’m the total opposite and I usually seek out the tear-jerkers. I like to read darker themed YA & NA books and I love a good cry, but mainly because the only time I ever get emotional is when reading. However, I too AVOID adult fiction like it’s the plague. It’s way to realistic for me and I am currently in denial about the fact that I am an adult, LOL.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Haha, I’m definitely in denial about which reading age group is more “appropriate” for me. A lot of adult fiction is definitely too realistic – I love reading as an avenue of escapism, so reading realistic books in which characters have dreary lives with sad endings just makes me too unhappy. That being said, there are (some) adult fiction books which aren’t too depressing, so I love reading those.

  21. Michelle @ Addictively Turning Pages

    I’m definitely a crier. Books, movies, TV shows, you name it. I tend to differentiate the great books from the good books, because for me, crying makes it a great book. I see it like the author and the characters pulled me into their story so intensely that I got so emotional over it. That’s obviously not the only factor but my crying is a representation of my love for a specific book.

    I don’t think I avoid or purposely look for tearjerkers but when I feel like having a good cry, my go-to novels are: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover, Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A Tucker and a recent one, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      That’s a really great way to put it! If a book is able to bring out tears in a reader, then that shows that it’s very impactful – it really can bring a book from good to great.

      Ugly Love is on my TBR list too! I’m trying to read more books by Colleen Hoover because I’ve only read two of her novels so far. I didn’t know that was a sad book, so thanks for mentioning it! I can prepare better for it before I read it now, haha.

  22. Hilary @ SongsWroteMyStory

    I’m the complete opposite – it’s almost impossible to make me cry, whether it be when reading or in life in general. It’s actually frustrating sometimes, because you don’t get the release of emotions when you can’t cry. I usually have to do something else to release any energy like that from my body, because it drives me insane otherwise. It goes the other way too – I don’t get super upset at things, but I also rarely get overly happy or excited. It definitely has it’s benefits too, though. It definitely makes my job a lot easier.

    The therapist in me is aching to comment on this one as well (I deal with a lot of crying people on a daily basis). The best comment my therapist side can make is to acknowledge and accept that certain things will trigger that response, and to determine what specifically about the story is triggering it. Your uncontrollable reactions can teach you a lot about yourself, and make it easier to deal with those reactions in the future.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      That’s really great advice! I’ll keep that in mind the next time I read something that makes me tear up! I think I may just empathize strongly with characters, but I’ll see if there’s specific things that trigger crying for me. I never really thought about introspecting and examining what specifically makes me cry, so thank you for that!

  23. amyriadofbooks

    I’m fairly emotional but I can’t seem to cry when I read books BUT if it’s a book turned movie, I’m a sob-fest too! Harry Potter, Mockingjay… I know I’ll cry when I watch “Me Before You” and my goodness, I didn’t cry at all reading TFiOS but my husband and I both BAWLED watching the movie. XD

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      That’s so interesting! Although I cry when watching some movies, I think I cry more often while reading because I feel more connected with the characters since we get to see their point of views more clearly. I also cried while watching the The Fault in Our Stars movie – I watched it on a plane, so it was pretty embarrassing. I don’t think I’ll watch the Me Before You movie because I know that’s going to be such a sobfest. Let me know how it is though after you watch it!

  24. Sharanya

    I didn’t used to cry very easily at things, but as I get older I notice myself tearing up more and more at the sorrowful stuff. Maybe it’s because I now understand them in a way I didn’t before? As a result, I’m actually trying to make myself read more tearful books! I used to pass them on before because I knew all it would elicit from me would be a loud SIGH — even if it’s really good. And sometimes, it can be worse if you CAN’T cry, even though you know you want to!

    Anyway, I’m currently reading All the Bright Places, actually, and it is GUARANTEED to be full of sob-worthy scenes. I’m a little scared. And excited. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I definitely agree! I feel like I realize the true gravity of situations more clearly as I get older. I hope I get to the point where I willingly read books that I know will make me cry! I also agree that it can be frustrating to read a book that’s supposed to make me cry, but fails to – this is more rare for me, but it still happens.

      Please do let me know how All the Bright Places is once you finish it! I’m really excited to read it actually because I’ve heard such amazing things about it!

  25. Nicola

    Yeah, I haven’t read TFIOS either because I know it’ll make me a blubbering mess. That said, I had no qualms about rereading STRANGE AND EVER AFTER and CLOCKWORK PRINCESS a couple of months ago, even though I knew they’d turn me into a sobbing heap. Those books are both historical fantasy, though, and even though fantasy regularly makes me cry, it feels more tolerable than realistic fiction.

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      Yeah, I completely agree that sad realistic fiction is harder to get through! Fantasy is more tolerable since because we know we won’t personally be experiencing that characters’ sorrows, but realistic fiction is fair game.

  26. Sabrina

    I relate to this post 100000%. I just find myself emotional with anything well written. I usually cry with the last book in a particular series.
    -Sabrina
    omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot.com

    1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles

      I actually watched The Fault In Our Stars on a long flight, and I thought it was pretty bad… Haha, I was sobbing quietly, to not attract attention to myself on the plane. I’m kind of a wimp.

      No, I haven’t seen Big Hero 6! I’ll keep it in mind to avoid it – thanks, Paul! 😛 🙂

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