Reading Books that I Think Will Make Me Cry

I’ve always been a masochist when it comes to books.

Sure, light and fun books are always soothing to read, and I enjoy a feel-good contemporary every now and then! But I’m also someone who calls certain books that made me sob “comfort books,” and I get more excited to read some books when when I hear people say they cried over them.

However, I’m also not very prone to crying extensively over books. So I thought I’d do a fun little reading project where I read books that I expect will make me cry and see if they actually do! For each book, I’ll give a “cry” rating and a regular rating, then talk about what I expected, what actually happened, and my overall thoughts!  

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💧: 3/5  ||  ★: 4/5

Ophelia After AllExpectations before reading: I feel like this will be a very relatable book for me to read, which is why I’ll cry, because a lot of my current experiences are the same as what the protagonist goes through!

After reading: I didn’t cry as much as I expected to, but that probably was because I was on the couch in my living room with my mom. I mean, I was facing away from her (otherwise no tears would’ve been shedded at all) but still! And I actually ended up crying over a really sweet conversation, rather than out of relatability.

Overall thoughts: This is very much one of those books that I read at the right time—I was feeling lost and dealing with a lot of the same struggles that Ophelia was facing. I loved all of the characters in this, and the growth Ophelia went through. It was just so reassuring and forgiving and loving.

Content warnings: homophobia, discussion of anti-Blackness

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💧: 1/5  ||  ★: 4/5 Imagine Us Happy: 9781335015365: Yu, Jennifer: BooksExpectations before reading: I’ve heard that this deals with depression, and I think because of that I’ll be able to connect to whatever the main character goes through and will cry because of that!

After reading: This is on my terrible memory when it comes to reading blurbs and then immediately forgetting what they said, but—even though I knew it was part of the book—I didn’t expect to see so much of this deal with a toxic relationship. But I actually ended up relating to that a bit, and I really felt for Stella’s guilty feelings over her relationship with her mom. So I didn’t cry, but I teared up several times throughout the book!

Overall thoughts: I honestly have so many thoughts on this; it’s such a well-written book. I loved how this book tackled a toxic relationship by using the chaos of a non-linear timeline to portray changing emotions, and I’m so impressed by how well it also incorporated humor amidst all the heavier things!

Content warnings: abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression

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💧: 0/5  ||  ★: 4/5

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, 1): Chambers, Becky:  9781250236210: BooksExpectations before reading: I heard that some of my friends (Rain and Cath) cried over a particular monologue in this, and I have very similar reading experiences/tastes as them so I’m kind of expecting the same!

After reading: I didn’t cry, nor did I tear up… This book really touched me and I was able to find a lot of comfort from it, but not enough to make me cry. I think also, since I’d been expecting the monologue, I was mentally prepared to get emotional, so I wonder if it would’ve hit harder had it been unexpected.

Overall thoughts: This is a lovely story about our “purpose” as humans, and it has such heartwarming messages about how we base our personal value on arbitrary things. I also enjoyed the former dystopian world (if that’s how you could describe it) and how it supported the themes of the book! Overall, this makes me want to read a lot more “quiet” sci-fi, because it felt so cozy.

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💧: 1/5  ||  ★: NONE

The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel: Emezi, Akwaeke: 9780525541608:  BooksExpectations before reading: I’ve seen a lot of reviews about how beautiful but heartbreaking this book is, which is my favorite kind of book! Obviously, going off of the title, this is going to deal with a death, so I feel like I’ll get emotional over that.

After reading: This truly is a beautiful book, and certain moments definitely moved me. There’s so much emotion packed into these pages and the characters’ feelings felt vividly real to me, so it brought a few tears to my eyes!

Overall thoughts: I didn’t rate this because, even though it’s a beautiful book, the incest left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt so uncomfortable reading it, and I kept waiting for it to be criticized, but it never was…? Gorgeous writing and slowly unraveling storytelling—I just can’t in good conscience recommend it.

Content warnings: death, violence, rape, incest, domestic abuse, transphobia, homophobia (incl. use of slurs), cheating, depictions of grief, depictions of blood

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💧: 1/5  ||  ★: 4/5 The Mountains Sing: 9781616208189: Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai: BooksExpectations before reading: Since this deals with war and generational trauma, I think it’ll move me a lot. I’ve also seen a lot of reviews (including from friends) talking about how heartbreaking and emotional this book is.

After reading: As expected, it was absolutely heartwrenching to read traumatic event after traumatic event hit the Tran family. There were moments of hope, but the weight of each tragedy only made me more emotional. While I didn’t cry, I did tear up several times throughout the book.

Overall thoughts: I loved that this was intergenerational—seeing how the trauma of war lasted decades only made it more devastating. This book truly emphasizes the values of family and forgiveness, especially amidst the relentless effects of war. And even though there is a lot of tragedy, the hopefulness of this book shined through. (The audiobook of this was also amazing!)

Content warnings: war themes (murder, death, violence), rape, gore, starvation, internalized ableism, depictions of trauma & grief, mention of suicide

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Well. I’m heartless!

Okay, not really. I still teared up over most of the books, even if it was just a little! But this was a fun little experiment to see if I’ll cry as much as I expect to over books, and I had an enjoyable time reading the books/doing this post. (I think it’s safe to say that my expectations weren’t very accurate.)

I also liked getting to read books that I expected would make me emotional and see how different content would affect me—basically examining all the ways that books can move me. And I think it’s cool that I ended up reading from a lot of different genres, especially since I feel like some of these I wouldn’t expect to make me tear up (like sci-fi or a humorous contemporary)!

shall we chat

do you like to read books that make you cry? have you read any of these? what are some of your recommendations of emotional books?

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