Books to Read When You Need a Good Cry

Let’s be real—sometimes, even if everything seems like it’s going fairly well in your life, you just need a good cry. We all do! It’s natural to want to let your emotions out, to feel your feelings and that sweet release a good cry can bring. And sometimes reading an evocative, beautiful YA story can help those tears along. What book should you read next if you’re in the mood for a story that will make you cry? No need to stress about it! We’ve rounded up a list of seven YA books guaranteed to make at least one, solitary tear run down your cheek. Read on for our sob-inducing recommendations! If you’re a mood reader, you know there are times when you crave the kind of book that propels you into a full-on, deeply cathartic ugly cry. Check out this list of books to read when you need a good cry that left us in a puddle of tears. We’re not crying! You’re crying!

Coming Up for Air by Nicole B. Tyndall

This YA novel touches on addiction and loss, and is perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and those who love coming-of-age stories. How can you persevere when things fall apart? That’s the question at the core of Coming Up for Air, and it’s bound to provoke a tear or two as you read.

Coming Up for Air

Coming Up for Air

For fans of Nina LaCour and The Spectacular Now, a powerful coming-of-age story about a girl with creative aspirations and the boy who charms his way into her life, centering on themes of addiction, loss, and the tumultuousness of first love--and how to find strength when everything falls apart.

Ever since her mom's cancer scar...

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love by Jared Reck

This YA novel is all about first love, dreams for the future, and grief, and it’s sure to both make you smile and cry. It’s also a good reminder that the future isn’t promised, so we need to make the most of the time we have with our loved ones.

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love

A sweet romantic story about donuts, food trucks, family, and first loves.

It's easy to look at high school senior Oscar Olsson and think: lost. He hates school, struggles to read, and wants nothing to do with college. But Oscar is anything but lost---he knows exactly what he wants and exactly how to get it. Oscar and Farfar, ...

Fierce as the Wind by Tara Wilson Redd

This YA novel is both heartbreaking and hopeful. It tells the story of Miho, who, after a crushing breakup, decides to train for a triathlon. With the support of her family and friends, Miho will dig deep to overcome obstacles and heartbreak to work toward her goal.

Fierce as the Wind

Fierce as the Wind

Heartbreak pushes one Hawaiian girl to find her strongest self in this authentic and emotional story of personal transformation that's perfect for fans of The Running Dream.

When Miho's boyfriend breaks up with her without warning, all she can see is red--the color of blinding fury and pain, and the color of the fire she sets i...

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

Jeff Zentner returns to Appalachia in his latest YA novel, a story about love, grief, and family—both the kind you’re born into and the kind you find on your own. As with all of Zentner’s novels, this one will tug at your heartstrings for sure.

In the Wild Light

In the Wild Light

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • Buzzfeed • Kirkus Reviews Publishers Weekly Chicago Public Library

“Redefines friendship as something that must be protected, sacrificed for, and tended to with wisdom, patience, and love.” &md...

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

If you can make it through this book without crying, we’ll be impressed. It’s practically guaranteed to make your heart swell and your tear ducts well up! Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore or library or ebook retailer to pick up bestselling author Nicola Yoon’s latest YA novel.

Instructions for Dancing

Instructions for Dancing


"A charming, wholehearted love story that's sure to make readers swoon."—Entertainment Weekly

"Nicola Yoon writes from the heart in this beautiful love story."—Good Morning America

“It’s like an emotional gut punch—so ...

Last Witnesses by Svetlana Alexievich

This one, adapted for young adults from its adult edition, is a nonfiction book about Russian children who were taken from their families during World War II. Many of them were never reunited. It’s harrowing, riveting, and often sad, but it’s also a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.

Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)

Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)

A powerful portrait of the personal consequences of war as seen through the innocent eyes of children, from a Nobel Prize-winning writer.

Nobel Prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich delves into the traumatic memories of children who were separated from their parents during World War II--most of them never to be reunited--in this th...

You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

Bestselling author Kathleen Glasgow’s latest is as heart-wrenching as her previous YA novels. You’d Be Home Now is a story of addiction, a small town, and figuring out who you really are and how to cope with all of life’s pain and beauty. If you’re looking for books to read when you need a good cry, put this one on your TBR immediately!

You'd Be Home Now

You'd Be Home Now

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the critically acclaimed author of Girl in Pieces comes a stunning novel that Vanity Fair calls “impossibly moving” and “suffused with light”. In this raw, deeply personal story, a teenaged girl struggles to find herself amidst the fallout of her brother's ad...

What are your recs for books to read when you need a good cry? Let us know in the comments or on social media at @getunderlined!

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