1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Oh my goodness, this book floored me. I was a wreck not just at the end, but all the way through it. Telling the story of three friends whose fate was already decided even before they were born, it's a devastating tale of love and loss. It's beautifully written, but an extremely intense - and at times excruciating - read. The worst (and best) part is that you kind of know what's going to happen, and getting there is wonderful and awful all at once. It's one of the best books I've read (and one of the best movies I've seen) this year.
2. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Henry has a disorder that causes him to time travel uncontrollably, complicating all aspects of his life - especially his relationship with his wife, Clare, who first met him as a little girl on one of his trips through time. What I found most interesting was the idea that Henry and Clare had no choice but to love each other - when they each met the other for the first time (Clare as a child meeting adult Henry in the "past", young adult Henry meeting young adult Clare in the "present") the other is already in love with them (adult Henry with his wife Clare, young adult Clare with the Henry who has visited her all her life). It's this lack of control that is the most frightening aspect of the story, especially as - like with Never Let Me Go - you get closer and closer to what you suspect is going to happen. I devoured this book in two days, and when I finished it I literally sobbed for about half an hour.
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. You go into a story set in Nazi Germany (narrated by Death himself, no less) knowing it's not exactly going to be all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. But The Book Thief surprised me by how whimsical, beautiful and even delightful it was. Which, of course, just made the inevitable sad parts all the more heart-wrenching. I read it over a year ago now and I still get that punched-in-the-gut feeling when I think about certain parts. But it's the wonderful characters that stay with you more than anything; from the book-loving thief of the title, Liesl, to her cheeky, caring friend Rudy, to her abrasive-but-loving foster mother Rosa and her quietly heroic "papa", Hans. This is one of those books that I nag everyone to read - so if you haven't, go do it. Now.
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It's a cold, cold person who can make it through Little Women - the classic tale of
5. Checkers by John Marsden. I read this when I was about 11 or 12, and it's the first book that I remember really crying over - like, really crying. Told in flashbacks by a teen girl in a psychiatric hospital, the events that led her there - involving her beloved dog Checkers, her dad and the state government - are slowly revealed, with heartbreaking results. I revisited it again years later, racing through it in a matter of hours - and was still utterly gutted by the end of it. While I haven't read it in awhile, I'm still haunted by its contents whenever I catch a glimpse of the cover on my bookshelf.
What books have really made you cry?
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