A few months ago, I think, I did a video where I spoke about the books that made me cry. I’d seen Olivia from Stories for Coffee do this, and I thought it a great idea, especially since there have been SO MANY books that I bawled at. It’s a bookworm thing, I think, where we give our whole selves to pages and stories and lose ourselves in the process while finding ourselves. Does that make sense? No? Okay, anyway. Although this year hasn’t given me any such books, my past is littered with such books and my YouTube channel littered with footage of me crying and losing my mind over them.
In today’s blog post, I’ll be taking you through 10 books (more, actually) that I cried my eyes out reading and have shouted from the rooftops about how great they were. That’s a measure of how good a book is, I think, of how much it affects the reader. And these books stand out among my read pile because of how much pain, how much emotion I felt as I read them. There were originally 15 books on this list (in the video I made), but I’ve cut this list down to 10, to the books that affected me the most.
Here’s the video that I made: Books That Made Me Cry.
The Ember Quartet by Sabaa Tahir
This is a series that is so, so close to my heart! Sabaa Tahir is a genius writer, the way she writes so gripping, so compelling that it makes you want to hug the books and fight anyone who tries to pry them away from you. A fantasy series about jinns and efrits and humans and the war between people and within them, it’s an amazing study in the conflicts that plague humans. There’s video evidence of me crying like a baby at certain events in the books and every time I as much as remember it, I am taken back to the sands, the castles, the forests, and Elias and Laia and Helene and Harper and Keris! It’s that potent a power!
I wrote a whole blog post recently about why I love the Ember series so much. I also did a full video long before this blog post was published. Here are the links: Read why I love the Ember Quartet | Watch why I love the Ember Quartet.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
This book is my brand. Anyone who knows me on the Internet will tell you that Sonali’s favorite book of all time, one that she WILL make you read is The Midnight Library. And with good reason too! The Midnight Library is the story of exploring all those different lives that you might have had if you had taken even one different decision. How those lives aren’t any different from your current life when you see it through the minute details and how the big picture can be deceptive forms this story that affected me in ways I cannot explain. I identified with Nora in more ways than one and as she traversed her different lives, I felt her pain, I felt her anguish, her disappointment. It was as if I became her throughout the story.
Many people have said that this book is nothing new, that it’s derivative, that it’s a hundred cliches rolled into one. I respect their opinion, but I love this book so much, I will not read any reviews of the book. It’s mostly because of self-preservation, because it’s a book that’s really close to my heart, like my own personal brand, and reading any review dissing the book will break my heart.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
One of the first books in my BookTube era that I read and fell in love with and cried! Set during World War II, this book follows Liesel through the eyes of the narrator, who is none other than Death. She has come to live with her foster parents in Nazi Germany and here, she becomes the book thief in the midst of all the war, politics, and strife. The reason will send cracks through your heart, I assure you. As I read this book, it made me so grateful for the time I was born in and the times in which I exist. And as I finished it, I was left feeling bereft, for I had become attached to the characters and had been hoping for a happy ending. How foolish of me! For I knew the horrors of those times and I still hoped…
I cried buckets and buckets and to this day, the mere memory of this book sets my tear ducts tingling and my chest constricts. It’s about time I reread this book, I think. Maybe I can make a whole video out of it for my YouTube channel. Another video where I’m bawling my eyes out, perhaps.
The Girl and the Goddess & Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill
It’s not a surprise that Nikita Gill makes an appearance in almost all of my blog posts and videos. That’s the kind of power she holds over me.
Fierce Fairytales is a feminist retelling in poetry form of the fairytales we know. We’ve always been told – wrongly – that women are supposed to be docile, to be obedient, that we bring things upon ourselves. But we aren’t told about the strength we exhibit, the power we have brewing inside us, and the galaxies we hold inside us. And Nikita Gill lays bare all of these brilliant truths in Fierce Fairytales. It’s fierce, it’s kind, it’s empowering, it’s uplifting, and every time I read it, it just makes me so grateful for Nikita Gill’s existence and that I read her work.
The Girl and the Goddess is a novel in verse about Paro, whose family is just steadying itself from the Partition. Here’s a little excerpt from my review (read: gush) of the book:
“Nikita Gill’s books, especially The Girl and the Goddess, teaches me that it’s okay to be fierce, to be angry, to be emotional, to stand up against anything wrong being done to you. She teaches me to FEEL, and I think that’s the most beautiful thing to ever happen to me – that I found Nikita Gill when I did.”
It’s no wonder that as I read both these books, I felt volcanoes erupt within me and the tears flow down my cheeks. And throughout this, I felt Nikita Gill hold my hand and assure me that I was enough.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Another book that I absolutely love that people don’t reach a consensus on. This is the story of Ove, a grumpy old man, who’s a loner after his wife’s death. When new neighbors move in, they try to befriend him, only for him to visibly rebuff their friendly advances. But things are changing and what happens when they do forms this story. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming story and when you read about the love he holds inside that stony exterior, you’ll cry your eyes out, just like I did. I’ve seen people diss on Ove for being a grump and for not wanting to talk to people. But why judge him for being an introvert?
All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is a controversial author and I agree to a large extent because of It Ends With Us, a book I read this year that is *this* close to glorifying domestic abuse. That’s why I’m surprised, because a woman who can write so beautifully about impotence and childless marriage, shouldn’t be writing books excusing abusive behavior.
All Your Perfects is the story of Quinn and Graham, who meet outside Quinn’s door. Quinn has just returned from a trip early to surprise her boyfriend (not Graham) but finds Graham outside her door, all agitated. She finds out from him that inside is her boyfriend, cheating on her with Graham’s girlfriend, and is devastated. As time passes, however, Quinn and Graham hit it off and soon, we’re seeing their love evolve in the purest and most passionate of ways. But years down the line, things aren’t going as good as they thought they’d be. How they deal with this, or do they deal with it at all, forms this story.
I sobbed my eyes out at this, because of how touching, how moving it was. The kind of relationship that they have is something so beautiful. Yes, I know that not being able to have a child is killing one of them from the inside. But that’s the whole point. Having a child or not having one doesn’t define anyone. And I found this message in this book. It’s a shame that Hoover just flips everything on its head in her other books in the worst way possible.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
One of my earliest favorites, I’ve read The Fault in Our Stars six times since. I first watched the movie with friends in the theater in 2014 and later bought the book. It was an experience, since towards the end of the movie, I was on my feet, in tears and half-shouting at the screen and demanding to know why these things were happening. The story of two teenage cancer patients falling in love with each other, The Fault in Our Stars broke the stereotype (for lack of a better word) that teenagers are fixated on shallow things. Hazel Grace and Gus are intelligent and have some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever read. And the last however many pages always, always get me. It’s not pretty, the crying, is all I’ll say.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I know that a lot of people will agree with me on this one. This is the story of how Achilles and Patroclus meet, how their relationship evolves, and how the Trojan War snatches everything away. The angst in Madeline Miller’s writing, the beauty in it, almost makes me want to curl up in a shell and never emerge. Thinking of these is like a stab to the chest because even though you know what’s coming, you can never be prepared for it. And that, I think, is a testament to Madeline Miller’s writing, that she can weave the known into words so heartbreaking, they erupt from your chest in a burst of emotion. So knowing my track record, I very obviously cried a river at this, no pun intended.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
This is a heartwarming book that I very recently spoke about in my Books by Queer Authors I’ve Loved blog post. Here’s a small excerpt from that blog post:
“This is the story of Linus Baker, a worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, who gets sent to an orphanage on an island where he has to determine whether the six magical children there are about to wreak havoc in the world or not. But when he reaches there, he encounters not just these children, but also Arthur Parnassus, their caretaker who will do anything to keep them safe. What Linus learns and realizes as he spends more time there forms this 400-page brick of sugar.”
This book is a wholesome and sweet story of found family and as it draws to a close – even halfway, if I may say so – it evoked emotions within me that filled me up from within and overflowed uncontrollably. And that, people, is the story of how I cried while reading The House in the Cerulean Sea.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
This is a book that has the power to disgust and devastate you. A story of child abuse, rape, grooming, and so much more, My Dark Vanessa cracked my heart and intensified my hate for all those men who prey on girls and women without any shame or conscience whatsoever. All I can say is that if you’re not prepared for the punch in the gut, if you’re triggered by these topics, then please don’t read this book. Yet, it’s an important one in spreading awareness, so I’ll still say prepare yourself and go ahead and read it. But also prepare for the heartache and tears that are about to come your way.
So those were the top 10 books that made me cry. Which of these have you read? Which ones do you want to read? Which books made you cry? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! ❤
I’ll see you in the last Blogtober post tomorrow.
Until next time, keep reading, and add melodrama to your life! ❤