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45 Unexpectedly Sad Books That People Said Made Them Cry Cathartically



Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
“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!"



About: Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s 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.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.



A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
"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."



About: When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.



Night by Elie Wiesel
"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."



About: Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel's memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. This new translation by his wife and most frequent translator, Marion Wiesel, corrects important details and presents the most accurate rendering in English of Elie Wiesel's testimony to what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must simply never be allowed to happen again.



Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson


"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."</p>

About: Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone.

That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.



Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung
"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."



About: 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 ten 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. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria.

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have a book ever made you cry (or at least made you feel sad?) // book post 📚
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