Books·Updated on Jun 28, 2020. Posted on Jun 25, 202045 Unexpectedly Sad Books That People Said Made Them Cry CatharticallyBring the tissues.by Farrah PennBuzzFeed Staff WriterFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what book was so unexpectedly moving that it made them curl up and cathartically cry. Here are some of the most heart-wrenching recommendations. 1. Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It’s his memoir from when he was suffering from anxiety and depression in his mid-20s. It’s funny, heart-wrenchingly sad, and it’s the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. I love it and can’t recommend it enough." —alexia-janemDescription from Bookshop: "Like nearly one in five people, Matt Haig suffers from depression. Reasons to Stay Alive is Matt's inspiring account of how, minute by minute and day by day, he overcame the disease with the help of reading, writing, and the love of his parents and his girlfriend (and now-wife), Andrea. And eventually, he learned to appreciate life all the more for it." 2. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I cried so much! It’s such a lovely book about such a lovely bond."—taylorp4c7128c1bDescription from Bookshop: "Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy — as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other." 3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng View this photo on Instagram instagram.com “It covered so many things and was beautifully written. You don’t expect the ending and you want to change it desperately. It’s hard to describe without spoiling it though!"—taylorp4c7128c1bDescription from Bookshop: "'Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet.' So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in '70s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos." 4. Marley & Me by John Grogan View this photo on Instagram instagram.com “I read the book about a week after my dog died of liver cancer. Marley lived a long and happy life, unlike most books about dogs. I read the book in my parents’ living room and had to keep the book open in front of my face while the tears just poured."—ephemeralcreativityDescription from Bookshop: "John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same. Marley grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, and stole women's undergarments. Obedience school did no good -- Marley was expelled. But just as Marley joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley remained a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit's end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms." 5. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "The main character coming to the realization that he will suffer the same fate as Algernon and being unable to stop it, while his diary entries become less and less coherent is just heartbreaking."—alyb4532Description from Bookshop: "A mentally challenged man receives an operation that turns him into a genius...and introduces him to heartache." 6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "This book is an absolute must-read. It entails the story of a Black woman in the early '80s, who was abused by a man she calls her father. It traces her life story from the beginning where she faced numerous hardships. The most interesting part lies in the subtleties of the book that the writer has so beautifully curated. There are parts in the book where you tear up simply because of how beautiful the moment is. Altogether, it is a book that reminds of the beauty in simple things that we seem to have forgotten today."—benitab761Description from Bookshop: "Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience." 7. Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It was required reading for me in middle school and the first book to make me cry. It's a beautiful story about a grumpy old man and an abused boy who are thrown together during WWII. Great read for any age!"—daniellem4b2355532Description from Bookshop: "London is poised on the brink of World War II. Eight-year-old Willie Beech is evacuated to the English countryside and lands on Thomas Oakley's doorstep, timid and scarred from abuse. Mr. Tom, a gruff but kindly old man, is deeply moved for the boy, treating him with a gentleness he's forgotten he's even capable of. With Mr. Tom's help, Willie leaves behind his hateful past and learns to love a world he never knew existed, a world of friendship and affection and joy. But then a telegram comes, and Willie is ordered to return to London. When weeks pass without word from him, Mr. Tom sets out for London to once again rescue the boy he's come to love as a son." 8. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "Such a powerful book. Without spoiling anything, there is a lot LGBTQ content as well as topics about mental health in this book. It's nerve-racking, sad, and destroying. It leaves you empty in the end. Couldn't stop crying when it ended."—maxig442697719Description from Bookshop: "A Little Life follows four college classmates — broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition — as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma." 9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I knew it would at least be a little sad, but I didn't expect the ending to make me cry uncontrollably and truly feel like I was there with the characters."—emilygabriellegDescription from Bookshop: "Taylor Edwards' family might not be the closest-knit — everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled — but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then, Taylor's dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven't actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend — and he's much cuter at 17 than he was at 12. As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they're more aware than ever that they're battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance with family, with friends, and with love." 10. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "All of his books are amazing honestly. But this one deals with the fact that while we want love to conquer mental illness, it doesn’t. It’s a different beast and it is hard to tame, no matter the love you find along the way."—taylorp4c7128c1bDescription from Bookshop: "Toru, a serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. As Naoko retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman." 11. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It was assigned reading my freshman year of high school, but I remember sitting in my dad's recliner while sobbing so hard I couldn't breathe as I finished the book, hoping I would get it together before he came home and told me to get out of his chair. That book changed me."—nooch89Description from Bookshop: "No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends — true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on 'greasers' like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect — until the night someone takes things too far." 12. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It's the story of two sisters in France during WWII. Not only does it give you a new perspective into the horrors and triumphs of the time, but it pulls you in and connects you to the characters."—daivuteaphiDescription from Bookshop: "The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France — a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women." 13. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I’ve never read something more beautiful and sob-worthy. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is."—zoembrown2002Description from Bookshop: "The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O'Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of 43." 14. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It's the story of how a marriage began while also showing how it's falling apart. It hit home for me a bit and I cried so much over the last half of it."—lkay09Description from Bookshop: "Quinn and Graham's perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair." 15. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I’ve read it several times and even though I know what’s coming, I still sob hysterically at the end. Last time I read it I broke down on an airplane, and the guy next to me was a total gentleman and pretended he didn’t notice."—alyssachristinem2Description from Bookshop: "An intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness." 16. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It's heart-wrenching. The two main women are so well written. It's such a great read."—arithebakerDescription from Bookshop: "Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever-escalating dangers around them — in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul — they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother–daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival." 17. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I finished reading this book on a bus in Canada and bawled like a baby for a couple of hours. It is fantastic and innovative with an interesting take on the first person narrative. The characters are engaging and relatable, and the ending will just shatter your heart into a thousand pieces."—philippabalshaw98Description from Bookshop: "It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist — books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement." 18. Just Kids by Patti Smith View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I cried like a baby on a flight when I finished reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. The book is a beautiful memoir detailing her relationship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorp. It ends with his untimely death from AIDS, and her detailing his memorial did me in. It is a fantastic book and a beautiful tribute to him."—jaymiem925Description from Bookshop: "In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous, the influential artists of the day, and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years." 19. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I read it in college in four hours. When I came out of my room in tears, my three roommates looked at each other, stood up, and hugged me. They had all read it before and understood. The story is beautifully written."—hannyjohnjohnDescription from Bookshop: "A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope — a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it." 20. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I still cry and throw it every single time I read it!"—teamlochrie13Description from Bookshop: "When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered." 21. Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "The final image of the main character ripping up a letter about the love of his life he's attempting to leave behind and tossing it to the wind only for the wind to blow the letter back into his face...broke me."—derikiDescription from Bookshop: "In the '50s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality." 22. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "Sobbed as a preteen. Read it again as an adult decades later. Sobbed again. Just a heartbreaking story of the power of young friendship and the devastation of losing it. Not many stories one revisits continue to convey so much emotional power."—relaxdcDescription from Bookshop: "Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief." 23. Frankly in Love by David Yoon View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It's about a teenage boy who struggles with his relationship with his father. I don't want to spoil anything, but I must have sobbed for 20 minutes at the end."—keribeeeeeeDescription from Bookshop: "Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong? Frank Li has two names. There's Frank Li, his American name. Then there's Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California. Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl — which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit...who is white. As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he's forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don't leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he's found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he's left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love — or himself — at all." 24. Night by Elie Wiesel View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "This book gave such raw detail of what men are capable of doing to each other during war. It's about survival. When the main character finally looked into a mirror for the first time in years is seared into my memory. I cried because of what he and millions endured at the hands of others."—m4a627434aDescription from Bookshop: "Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps." 25. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "This book was so beautiful, and it absolutely destroyed me. It’s about a 16-year-old boy coming to terms with the fact that he’s gay and struggling to accept himself and gain acceptance from his friends and family. The twist is heartbreaking, and few books have made me cry as hard as this one did. Every book of Adam’s is amazing, but this is the first one I read by him and it holds a special place in my heart."—brynncastleDescription from Bookshop: "In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again — but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is." 26. Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "This book is historical fiction mixed with magical realism. It's about a girl whose father placed her and her siblings in an orphanage in the '30s. They're watched over by a ghost. Ruby uses language in a way in which you have to pay attention. Beautiful, smart story with commentary on being a woman during the Great Depression and into World War II. I just sat and sobbed when I finished it."—ambers4464be39bDescription from Bookshop: "When Frankie's mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, it was supposed to be only temporary, just long enough for him to get back on his feet and be able to provide for them once again. That's why Frankie's not prepared for the day that he arrives for his weekend visit with a new woman on his arm and out-of-state train tickets in his pocket. Now Frankie and her sister, Toni, are abandoned alongside so many other orphans — two young, unwanted women doing everything they can to survive. And as the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, and the shadows of injustice, poverty, and death walk the streets in broad daylight, it will be up to Frankie to find something worth holding on to in the ruins of this shattered America." 27. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "Stemming from the real-life American Airlines 587 plane crash from 2001, this book tells the story of mourning a loss from the perspective of two girls in different countries. Elizabeth Acevedo uses free verse and two voices to really showcase a range of emotions. Definitely a great read!"—danielleb4f7c093c1Description from Bookshop: "Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance — and Papi's secrets — the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other." 28. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It's her memoir about her and her family being victims of the '70s Khmer Rouge genocidal regime in Cambodia. It's the only book I've had to physically put down and walk away from because I was crying so hard. You wanna talk about getting your heart ripped out, oof. 10/10 would highly recommend."—arathersadhorseradishDescription from Bookshop: "From a childhood survivor of the Camdodian genocide under the regime of Pol Pot, this is a riveting narrative of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her family, and their triumph of spirit." 29. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "The writing is so melancholy and mysterious, yet beautiful. You can feel the weight of the mystery and the young boy who sets out to figure it out after visiting the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The layers of subplot settle into you like a warm hug, and the magic of the writing truly has me sitting in silence for 10 minutes after I get done, waiting to be transported back. A magical work of art."—sporadicaraine126Description from Bookshop: "Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer's son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author's other works, he makes a shocking discovery: Someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax's books in existence. Soon Daniel's seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets — an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love." 30. The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It’s a memoir based on her grieving and dealing with the loss of her husband. It’s extremely heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. A must-read."—phishqueenDescription from Bookshop: "Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid price, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband's death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss." 31. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "Makes me cry every time I read it."—kimberlyw12Description from Bookshop: 'Once there was a little tree...and she loved a little boy.' So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein." 32. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "We had to read it in sixth grade and had normally taken turns reading out loud from the book. However, the teacher was smart and planned for the day the dogs die to have us listen to the audiobook because everybody was sobbing and couldn't read out loud. Emotionally traumatizing enough as it is, but then we had to go and watch the movie and relive it all again."—monikap6Description from Bookshop: "This classic about a 10-year-old boy growing up in the Ozark mountains with his inseparable pair of coonhounds." 33. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I read it in high school as part of a required reading program. I chose that book because I previously read Ishiguro’s previous work and liked his writing style. I bawled."—rocherDescription from Bookshop: "As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special — and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together." 34. Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I never cry at books. I finished it in the middle of the night and just cried while sitting in the dark. I listened to the audiobook (Armie Hammer’s recording of it is one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to) a few months after reading and cried again! It captures requited longing that lasts a lifetime and the importance of memories as time passes with the backdrop of the profound warmth and brightness of youth."—laurenb485849edcDescription from Bookshop: "Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy." 35. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It was amazing. One of the best books I’ve ever read. I ugly cried at the end."—ginnyw4e103c7c8Description from Bookshop: "In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It's a decision that will alter her destiny...and it's a lie that will remain buried until the next century. Since she was 9 years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now 15 and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina's tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents' farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief." 36. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "Come for the story of a young intersex child, stay for three generations of familial love and tragedy. I heard it took him a decade to write it, and it was worth every bit of it. Just thinking of it gets me every time."—l4050fbe9dDescription from Bookshop: "So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction." 37. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It was definitely a strange read that I wasn't expecting, but I persisted. By the middle and end I was rewarded with understanding, only that understanding was so unbelievably sad that I was crying with a sense of loss."—amytrigouraDescription from Bookshop: "In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once raged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven't seen in years. And, because a strange mist has caused mass amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him. As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share." 38. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I cried for an hour after finishing it. It was incredible. It’s still one of the most touching books I know of."—alyalyoDescription from Bookshop: "Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon — the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him 'the bitter neighbor from hell.' But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations." 39. Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It's such a beautiful book and story. Abu Bakr moved from Iraq to Syria right before the war broke out, before coming to Canada. Winnie Yeung, one of his teachers, helped him to put his story to print, and it is absolutely stunning."—morningearwormDescription from Bookshop: "In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria just before the Syrian civil war broke out. Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was 10 years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy - soccer, cousins, video games, friends. Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone — and found safety in Canada — with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria." 40. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "It's about a girl with cerebral palsy who is incredibly smart but nobody knows it. Everyone thinks that she can't do anything and that she'll never be anyone, but inside her head, she's a genius with a photogenic memory, incredibly perceptive, and one of the smartest people you will ever read about in fiction. She's bullied and ignored and everyone treats her horribly, often including her teachers. One day, she finds this computer on the internet that will help her communicate with the rest of the world, and for the first time, she can speak to people and show the world how amazing she is. She joins a quiz group and starts to feel like she belongs, even though she's still bullied a lot. I don't want to give anything away, but this book will make you cry so hard you won't believe it."—tigresssss13Description from Bookshop: "Eleven-year-old Melody is not like most people. She can't walk. She can't talk. She can't write. All because she has cerebral palsy. But she also has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She's the smartest kid in her whole school, but NO ONE knows it. Most people — her teachers, her doctors, her classmates — dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can't tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by her disability. And she's determined to let everyone know it...somehow." 41. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I sob every time I read this book, and every time I read it I learn something new from it. It’s not just a book for children. If anything, you understand the story better and it resonates more as an adult. The Prince is such a charming little character who sees the world with a child’s eye but has the wisdom of an old man. The books covers everything from friendship and love to consumption and the decay of modern society. I think it’s one of the best books ever written."—elizawithazDescription from Bookshop: "This is the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behavior through a series of extraordinary encounters." 42. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "This is such a beautifully written, heartbreaking story of loneliness and love. I sobbed so much when I closed this one. My husband asked why I would enjoy reading a book that makes me cry, and honestly the answer to that is too complex to articulate well!"—neavienooDescription from Bookshop: "For years, rumors of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life — until the unthinkable happens." 43. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "Literally made tears roll down my cheeks at an alarming rate. You’ll never read a book so emotional and beautiful. Pain demands to be felt my friends."—stardustandrosesDescription from Bookshop: "Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten." 44. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "Three heart-wrenching stories of grief and loss within a family interwoven, with a mixed-media backdrop of images, and changing text formats. The emotion of a young boy, grieving his father’s death is at the heart of the story. The journey he goes on, and the stories of his family, show the small, beautiful things that can be found in the emotional aftermath of loss." —trixietrashDescription from Bookshop: "Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11." 45. The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman View this photo on Instagram instagram.com "I could not put it down. It is such an emotional but beautifully written novel." —minchy25Description from Bookshop: "The story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other." For more content like this, follow BuzzFeed Community. Note: Submissions have been edited for length, clarity, and major spoilers.