Books guaranteed to make you cry

In need of a good cry? Here are the books that never fail to make us sob.

Lucy Hall
image of woman crying holding a book
Mica Murphy / Penguin

What is our never-ending fascination with sad books? Whether it’s a doomed romance or a shock main character death, we delight in picking up novels that we know will absolutely destroy us, and can’t wait to pass them on to our friends so that we can revel in our despair together.

From weepy classics that have been passed down for generations to tear-jerkers which have garnered cult followings and caused nearly all of us to sob into our hands, we all know we love to put ourselves through it. It's safe to say that the sad novel is going absolutely nowhere, so buckle up and prepare for the ultimate heart-rending and sob-inducing list of books that will have you ugly crying right up until the final page.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015)

We couldn’t possibly write this list without mentioning the mother of all sad books, which has broken the hearts of millions worldwide. The story follows four best friends as they arrive in New York, having met years earlier at university. Each is intent on making his own way in the world, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is the secretive Jude, the centre of their group, whose mysterious past threatens to overwhelm him. A Little Life is about people who deserve more, and how we may or may not be able to overcome the hand that life has dealt us. Don’t say we didn’t warn you about this one.

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