A stylised illustration of a blue-haired woman wearing a yellow jumper, her face covered by a book but her eyes visible on the book's black jacket, shedding big blue tears.
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Books to read if you need a good cry

From life-affirming real-life tales to beautifully moving fiction, here are some books that never fail to elicit a tear from the Penguin team. What would be on your list?

Penguin Editors

When was the last time a book made you cry? Was it in a novel, when a plucky group of underdogs finally found common ground and came together against all odds? Or in a memoir perhaps, when a narrator experienced a moment of closeness with their eccentric cat?

The things that move us are sometimes surprising, sometimes universal. It could be a great love crumbling in a novel, or a non-fictional account of a life coming to an end. Either way we are moved because we identify with the emotions presented by the author, united by sadness, grief, gratitude, or hope.

Whether you’re looking to let something out, or just love an affecting read, below is a selection of books that made us cry – and might just get your waterworks going, too.

One Day by David Nicholls (2009)

It is difficult to talk about why One Day had me sobbing uncontrollably without giving away any spoilers. My advice for those who haven’t read the book is to skip onto the next recommendation on this list and order your copy immediately. Otherwise, if you'd like a sense of what happens, or have read it already and would like to wallow with me, then read on…

The premise of David Nicholls’ bestseller, which follows Dexter and Emma on the same day each year, has you invested from the start. From their awkward one-night-stand at university to their blossoming friendship as they navigate the challenges of adulting, we as the reader know they are really meant to be together. I'd like to say this book has a happy ending, but it might not be on this list otherwise. It is, however, a life-affirming story, funny, engrossing and one of the best coming-of-age novels you'll ever read. 
- Sarah McKenna

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