6 Books That Require Boxes of Tissues to Read (aka Books That Will Make You Cry)

Someone asked me the other day for book recommendations that would ruin their week. So, I figured I’d come on here and share those recommendations with you as well. I was never one to enjoy sad books. I also never cried even when books were sad. Until recently. I cry at everything. At this point I should just use a tissue as a bookmark because even if the book is about staff wielding battle mages I’m going to find something to cry about. Books are ruining me, plain and simple.

Now, onto the list of books that will make you cry. When they ruin you week, remember, I warned you.

the five people you meet in heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 196
Tissue Boxes Required: 3
Summary: From the author of the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, a novel that explores the unexpected connections of our lives, and the idea that heaven is more than a place; it’s an answer.

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”


song of achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+
Pages: 352
Tissue Boxes Required: All of them
Summary: Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.


the nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 440
Tissue Boxes Required: 4, maybe 5
Summary: FRANCE, 1939 In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says good-bye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaëtan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.


My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 423
Tissue Boxes Required: Just buy out the store
Summary: Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate—a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues, My Sister’s Keeper is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time.


One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 352
Tissue Boxes Required: A lifetime supply
Summary: In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever. Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves. Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

normal people

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 273
Tissue Boxes Required: You’ll be okay with one or two
Summary: At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.


What books make you cry? I’m basically a crying mess at this point and could always use more recommendations. I have tissues ready!

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18 Comments

    1. I never used to cry at books and then I met the ones above lol. My Sister’s Keeper is probably the most heartbreaking of all of them and Normal People and The Five People You Meet in Heaven the least heartbreaking. So, if any would make you cry it’s possibly that one. But, again I’ve also just turned into a blubbering mess at every book now lol – Amber

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    1. Song of Achilles destroys me every single time I read it. Like I know what’s going to happen but I just still hope Achilles and Patroclus can live happily in the woods with Chiron forever. Normal People was so good. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I absolutely loved it. Not as heartbreaking as Song of Achilles, but if you enjoy books about relationships and finding your soul mate at the wrong time, it’s a really good book. – Amber

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    1. Thank you! He’s one of Samantha’s favourites and we don’t see people talk about him a lot so we definitely wanted to include this book on this list. – Amber

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    1. My Sister’s Keeper wrecked both of us. Such a beautiful book, but I was not emotionally prepared for what would happen. And yes!! I can’t wait to hear what you think of Song of Achilles. Bring all the tissue boxes because your heart will need it. – Amber

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  1. Wonderful post, Amber! Weirdly enough, I also just published a post about books that made me cry without knowing about yours, so I’m going to take that as a sign that I need to check out some of these recommendations ASAP and get tissues ready – because even though some of these have been on my radar for a while, I haven’t read any of them! 😅 And I very rarely cry when reading, so finding a sob-inducing novel is always the best feeling ever 😭🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am definitely running over to your blog after this to read your post. I love that we both did the same thing at the same time – great minds think alike! Definitely get your tissues ready for all of these. I’m surprised One True Loves and Song of Achilles weren’t soaking wet when I finished reading them. I do love a good book that makes me cry though, it is a good feeling. I really hope you like these when you read them. Now, I’m off to read your post! 😊 – Amber

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  2. I had to check out this list as I am always crying. Just finished Nicola Yoon’s new book and was a blubbering mess. The mere mention of The Nightingale brings tears to my eyes. Such an emotional book. And, well, sick kid books always make me cry. Now Normal People, that book was weird for me. I was sad for them, because of the things that happened, but the choices they made drove me up the wall.

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  3. I recommend it to everyone – Flowers for Algernon. There have been other books that have made me cry, but this is the book that kept me thinking for a long time. Also, A Little Life. That book is almost too depressing though.

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