The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Why I love books that make me cry…

on August 11, 2015

Most of my favourite books are ones that have made me cry. I love them for the same reason I love stories that scare the crap out of me;  I value books based on their ability to make me feel something.

For me this is far more important than a novel being ‘literary’, and more important than how eloquently an author strings a sentence together (although good writing is important). If I don’t give a damn about a character and have some kind of emotional reaction when bad (or good!) stuff happens to them, I probably don’t give a damn about the book as a whole either.

The following books left me blotchy faced and emotionally unstable, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. They all moved me in different ways – some taught me something profound and heartbreaking, some did horrible things to characters I’d fallen in love with, and others made me cry because they were ultimately uplifting, despite all the heartache the characters went through. These are some of the books I really give a damn about:

Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman

noughts and crossesThis was the first book to ever make me cry (or at least the first I can remember having a huge emotional impact on me). Set in a world where the Crosses are considered the superior race, and the Noughts second class citizens, Sephy (a Cross) and Callum (a Nought) fall in love with all the innocence of children who don’t yet realise that their racist society will never accept the supposed differences between them. This book made me furious at the world I live in, sad at the way things still are for some people, and heartbroken at the brutal ending. Malorie Blackman has said in interviews that she couldn’t have ended this book in any other way, and I’m glad that she didn’t – the message is so much more potent because of it. If you are looking for a happy ending you won’t find one, but if you want an honest one, you will. This is one of the most worthwhile and important books you’ll ever read.

Wonder – R J Palacio

81zdSFzJh+LThis is another eye-opening book I highly recommend. Wonder is the story of Auggie, a ten year old boy with a facial deformity who, after being home-schooled all his life due to having regular surgeries, starts attending a real school for the first time. I cried several times whilst reading this book. Auggie is a lovely character, and I had so much empathy for him, not just because of what he goes through, but because he is so sweet, funny and good-hearted. When I care so much about a character, I hurt when they hurt, and the way Auggie is treated by some of the kids at his school is devastating. But despite the sadness, this book is wonderfully uplifting. This is not just a book about intolerance, but about all of the things that outweigh it – acceptance, kindness, and the love of friends and family. Powerful and incredibly moving.

Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver

before i fallBefore I Fall represents everything I love about YA literature – it’s real, it’s raw, it’s emotionally honest, and it’s so beautifully written I just want to underline everything in it. I’d say that this book is one of my favourites of all time, and I read the whole last section with tears rolling down my face. The story is narrated by Sam, who dies in a car crash driving home from a party, but then wakes up the next morning and finds she’s re-living the day of her death, over and over again. Sam is a ‘mean girl’, a deeply flawed character, and to start with I didn’t like her, but I grew to care about her so much by the end of the novel because the character development is flawless. Sam is an utterly believable character, and she’s not a stereotype, despite the label I just gave her – all her worries and thoughts, the details about her life, the way she speaks and moves, make her a relatable person, even when she’s acting in ways I wouldn’t. And Lauren Oliver changes Sam so subtly each time she re-lives her last day, that her realisations about who she’s been and how her behaviour has affected others throughout her life do not come as a cheesy or clichéd epiphany, but as a painfully real dose of reality that comes crashing down around her. As soon as I finished reading this novel, I started reading it again from the beginning. I don’t think I’ve ever done that with another book.

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

we were liarsReviews warned me about this book – they said the ending would devastate me. I don’t think I anticipated quite how much. I read this book purely because I’d heard there was a huge twist (I love me a twist), but I was so glad I picked it up, regardless. The writing style is so unique – the sentences are short and staccato, almost rhythmic – I’ve never read anything like it, and knew I was going to love it from the start. The story follows Cadence, who is staying on her family’s private island for the summer. She has been suffering from crippling migraines since an accident the previous summer, but she is determined to keep up with her friends – a group who call themselves The Liars – and enjoy a carefree summer there with them. I won’t say any more than this: I’ve never felt so winded by a book, and the shock (not to mention the empty hole in my chest where my heart used to be) made me to cry so much I ended up resembling the Joker. Don’t wear mascara. But please read this book, it’s gut-wrenchingly beautiful.

And finally… The end of every YA trilogy/series of books, ever.

deathly hallowsI’m looking at you Deathly Hallows, Mockingjay, City of Heavenly Fire, Undivided… even you Breaking Dawn (I was a soppy 17 year old, okay?) I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that I can’t read a final instalment without weeping uncontrollably. Somebody I adore will usually die horribly, but it’s not just the sad stuff that gets me – it’s the winning of the epic last battles, and the happily-ever-afters that really ruin me. I won’t cry at any old happy ending, but when I’ve spent hundreds of pages with characters, they have become friends (and my life) – how can I not well up? People always cry when they watch people they care about getting married – I figure it’s kind of like that. Yes, I am aware I am a massive loser…

Sooo, that’s my list, although there are hundreds more, because I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a lot of books I connected with/fell in love with over the years. If anyone has any recommendations for books that will leave me in sad or happy tears, please share in the comments below – would love to hear your suggestions! 🙂


3 responses to “Why I love books that make me cry…

  1. Savi says:

    Love this ❤ can totally relate about we were liars as it’s one of my favourite books.

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