12 Books and Series That Made Me Cry

I don’t know about y’all, but every once in awhile…I like a good sob-worthy book. I don’t really know why. It’s kind of an odd thing to enjoy crying about fake people. If you know what I mean.🤷🏼‍♀️ hahaha readers are really weird. (more book-themed posts: Being a Reader + Favorite Authors)

Anyway, I have compiled a list of my favorite I-cried-real-tears books so y’all can have a list to go to whenever you feel the urge to, ya know, just drink coffee and sob. Because the feeling is real! Maybe it’s a struggle only readers understand.😉

But, guys. I’m going to cry just thinking about these. All of these books are so good and I highly recommend them! I really hope you enjoy them as much as I did–let me know your thoughts!

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

genre: historical teen fiction

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

I cried more in this book than any other book I’ve read. True story. haha It’s gut-wrenching and heart-touching. One of my favorite things about The Book Thief is how history-rich it is; there were so many historic details in The Book Thief–I loved it! Markus Zusak did an excellent job writing this.

  • The Cadence of Grace series by Joanne Bischof

genre: Christian historical fiction

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.  

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob. 

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

These are just an emotional mess. haha The drama is very well-written though! I am not one to enjoy dramatic books, but I loved these!

  • The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

genre: teen sci-fi

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

This series, I am sure you all have heard of. It’s a teen sci-fi series, which isn’t a genre I typically read from. But, I loved these. The story and characters are definitely still with me.

  • Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

genre: Christian historical fiction

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse. Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free? 

Wow. This one was just so good. The emotions of the story are very easily felt by the reader–and there are a lot. It’s about a little girl and her heart-breaking years of growing up. I seriously cried in the opening scene. For real. haha

  • When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell

genre: Christian historical fiction

This is the almost-equally-good sequel to Into the Free. I loved them both so much!

  • The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell

genre: Christian fiction

In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter’s sixth grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry—gone, without a trace.

Yes, I know this is the third book by Julie Cantrell that I have listed. haha I actually debated adding her forth one, too; her writing is beautiful!

  • Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

genre: Christian historical fiction

When a black field hand disappears, a wealthy white boy he has befriended sets out to find him. But Pete McLean discovers more than he bargained forincluding unexpected love and difficult truths about race and class in 1960s Alabama.

This one reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was such a good read!

  • We Hope For Better Things by Erin Bartels

genre: Christian historical fiction

James Rich has a strange request for Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam: that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos. Having lost her job after a botched investigation, she has nothing but time. At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors– and hidden graves. The stories of two women who lived in this house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And Elizabeth discovers that the past is never as past as we might like to think.

AH This book was SO touching. Such a good depiction of the reality of segregation.

  • My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

genre: Christian teen fiction

Cori gratefully escapes her complicated love life to take a mission trip to Indonesia. Soon after their arrival, a deadly conflict explodes and the team of six teenagers is stranded in the jungle.

This is one I read when I was younger and absolutely loved. If you’re into teen fiction, this is a must-read!

  • Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

genre: Christian fiction

In the aftermath of her husband’s act of adultery and abandonment, Savannah must finally face the ghosts that haunt her and discover for herself whether authentic faith, grace, and ultimate healing really do exist.

This book has an out-of-norm plot, which I love! I hate reading the same book over and over. Though there are a few odd spiritual aspects to the book, it’s still a good read.

  • The Giver series by Lois Lowry

genre: Christian teen sci-fi

Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

I had to read this series in high school and ended up loving it! It’s an easy series to get lost in.

  • Redemption by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley

genre: Christian fiction

When Kari Baxter Jacobs finds out that her husband is involved in an adulterous relationship and wants a divorce, she decides she will love him and remain faithful to her marriage at all costs.

I love every single one of the Karen Kingsbury books I’ve read. She is such a talented writer! But, this is one of the more emotional ones that I have read. Although, it isn’t a stand alone! There are a ton of books connected to it that you’ll want to read, too.

Happy reading, y’all!✨ (Er, sad haha)

14 thoughts on “12 Books and Series That Made Me Cry

  1. 😱 Shame on Gideon for stealing a kiss! 😂

    Karen Kingsbury has written more than a couple of books that are tear-jerkers. Heavens. One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning. They get me every time.

    I LOVE a good book! Give me a rainy afternoon and a book. I’ll be as happy as a cricket for a while. (Bonus points if you know that reference!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was reading When Hope Begins in bed one night and was literally sobbing…I was an emotional mess for the next few days…😭 😭😢😂

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  3. Ahhh I have yet to read the Book Thief! It is extremely high on my TBR (like, the first) I only read the first book of the Giver series but I absolutely loved it! The Maze Runner Series didn’t really appeal to me, but everyone has different opinions 🙂

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  4. You totally should! It is an amazing book! The Giver series is really good, too! Aw, that’s too bad. But I understand! Everyone has differences on which books they prefer.😉 Thanks for commenting, Starling!✨

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for all the suggestions! I’ve been looking for Christian fiction that’s different than the cookie-cutter not-really-Christian romance that’s everywhere XD

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