25 Novels With The Saddest Endings To Make You Cry

25 Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Reading books makes you happy. Well, not always, though, as there are books that make you cry like anything. We all love happy endings, but the truth is, not all endings can be happy. I know it’s sad, but that’s just how it is. And sometimes, the fact that the story’s ending was unfulfilling and sad makes the journey seem even more beautiful. So, Here we will talk about such novels with the saddest endings to make you cry.

I am usually a happy-go-lucky type of person, spreading positive vibes. But even I have problems with my life, and when things get extremely hard, I too feel like letting it all out by crying. That’s where these novels with emotional and sad endings come to the rescue. One can always count on them to have a good cry. It feels relieving after that. And, of course, the stories are always ever so beautiful.

You may also have noticed that no matter how much we humans love happy and joyous endings, we are drawn toward stories that end with sadness as it’s only in humans’ nature to feel empathetic towards the sufferers. It seems relatable in one way or the other, as in reality, no superhero will come to save the day. 

Do you feel like crying? I won’t say it’s a good thing, but crying isn’t bad either. Here, let me help you vent it all out by sharing their heart-warming and heart-wrenching novels with sad and heartbreaking endings.

25 Sad-Ending Books Bound to Make You Cry

Here’s a list of amazingly beautiful books that are bound to make you cry. Take your time and enjoy!

1. All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

Full Title: All the Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven

Genre: Fiction

Publishing Date: 6th January 2015


Violet Markey looks forward to her destiny, ticking down the dates till graduating when she will be able to flee her little Indiana town and the pain of her sister’s tragic death. It’s unclear who saves whom when Violet and Finch meet on the school’s bell tower ledge, six stories above the ground. Finch will soon be able to be himself just with Violet. Violet can only forget about counting the days and start living them when she’s with Finch. However, as Violet’s world expands, Finch’s shrinks.

2. Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

Full Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Genre: Young adult fiction

Publishing Date:  3 March 2005


Miles’ life is turned around by the last words of poet Francois Rabelais, saying, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps,” and he chooses to leave his state school in Florida and attend Culver Creek, a private seasoning school in Alabama. Miles is brought to Alaska Young, a beautiful but emotionally scarred lady, by the road he has chosen for the greater good and chances. Alaska has everything Miles is interested in, and he ultimately falls in love with her.

Miles’ life was beginning to take a turn for the better. He shared a room with a joker, a woman who matched her fantasies, and two fantastic male buddies. The people who helped Miles become more like himself were individuals with their eccentricities. Miles quickly learns that the cycle of life is not just about bliss. After a deep dive into the deep sea of pleasure, he finds himself back during all the world’s problems.

3. God of Small Things

God of Small Things

Full Title: God of Small Things

Author: Arundhati Roy

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Publishing Date: 1997


The author’s modern classic is a strong family narrative, a tormented love story, and a brilliant political thriller all rolled into one. Estha and Rahel, seven years old, had their world turned upside down by the entrance of their lovely baby cousin, Sophie.

It is an occasion that will result in an illicit connection and unintentional and planned disasters, revealing big things that lie unsaid in a nation on the verge of instability.

4. Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle

Full Title: Message in a Bottle

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Genre: Romance Novel

Publishing Date: 1st April 1998


Theresa Osborne is mourning her eight-year marriage’s dissolution. One day, she comes upon a bottle with a note on the beach and is taken aback by the letter’s intensity and affection. She publishes the letter and quickly discovers more, drawing the writer, Garrett Blake, a fisherman’s attention.

Despite their reservations about starting another relationship, they quickly build a strong romance. Garrett is still grieving the loss of his spouse, and there are numerous stumbling blocks in his path

5. A Little Life

A Little Life

Full Title: A Little Life

Author: Hanya Yanagihara

Genre: Domestic Fiction

Publishing Date:  2015


When four friends from a modest Massachusetts university go to New York to create a name for themselves, they’re broke, aimless, and relying solely on their friendship and drive to get by. There’s Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, an often vicious Brooklyn-born artist looking to break into the world of art; Malcolm, a dissatisfied architect at a prestigious company; and Jude, the reclusive, bright, enigmatic center of gravity.

Their connections develop and darken over the decades, tainted by addiction, achievement, and pride. Jude is a terrifyingly gifted attorney by midlife. Still, an increasingly shattered man, his mind and body scarred by a horrific upbringing and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he won’t simply become unable to resolve, but that will characterize his life forever, is their largest issue, as each understands.

6. Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Full Title: Anna Karenina

Author: Leo Tolstoy & Constance Garnett

Genre: Realist novel

Publishing Date: 1878


In nineteenth-century Russian high society, the gorgeous, aristocratic Anna Karenina is wedded to Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin, a senior politician twenty years her senior. However, her adventurous and wild personality makes her fall deeply in love with Count Vronsky, a young and affluent military officer. Anna is now seeking a way out of her stale marriage. Anna is doomed because Karenin refuses to split.

She is overwhelmed by shame and loneliness, caught between strict social norms, regulations, and the Orthodox Church. What happens to Anna now that she is traumatized? Anna Karenina investigates medieval Russia at the time, with beautifully drawn characters torn among their affections and Russian social norms.

7. Snow Country

Snow Country

Full Title: Snow Country

Author: Yasunari Kawabata & Edward G. Seidensticker

Genre: Fiction

Publishing Date: 1948


This is a compelling story about a love that was lost in the barren grandeur of western Japan. Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante, meets Komako, a lowly geisha, at a remote mountaintop hot spring with snow covering every surface.

Despite understanding that their desire will not continue and that the relationship will have only one conclusion, she submits herself to him completely and without guilt. The author has crafted a tale for the ages by tracing the path of this tragic affair, a remarkable novel thick in innuendo and elevating in its anguish.

8. Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You

Full Title: Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng

Genre:  Mystery Novel

Publishing Date:  26 June 2014


Lydia is Marilyn and James Lee’s favorite child, a girl with her mother’s sparkling blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Lydia’s parents are ascertained that Lydia will realize the dreams that they were unable to realize for themselves- in Marilyn’s case, that her daughter gets to be a doctor rather than a housewife, and in James’ case, that Lydia is popular in high school, a girl with a crowded social life, and the life of every party.

On the other hand, Lydia is under stress and has little to do with growing up in a tiny town in Ohio in the 1970s. Her father is an American born to first-generation Chinese immigrants, and both his and her ethnicities make them stand out in any situation.

When Lydia’s dead body is discovered in a small lake, James is overcome with guilt and embarks on a dangerous path that could lead to the end of his marriage. Marilyn is devastated and spiteful, and she is desperate to hold somebody responsible at all costs. Nathan, Lydia’s older brother, is sure that neighborhood bad boy Jack is connected somehow.

Hannah, the family’s youngest member, observes considerably more than everyone thinks and may be the only one who knows what happened.

9. The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

Full Title: The Light Between Oceans

Author: M.L. Stedman

Genre:  Historical fiction

Publishing Date: 20th March 2012


After four horrific years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returned to Australia, taking the job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, about half a day’s walk from the shore.

Tom brings Isabel, a young, courageous, and lovely wife, to this lonely island, on which the resupply boat only arrives once a season. Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind years ago, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth. A boat with a dead guy and a living infant has washed ashore on the beach.

Tom, who keeps an accurate record but whose moral values have endured the test of time, needs to report the man and child. However, Isabel argues that the baby is a “gift from God,” and they accept her to be their own and call her Lucy, despite Tom’s objections.

Tom and Isabel return to the mainland when Isabel is two and are reminded that there are many people. One of them has been crushed by their decision.

10. All The Children Are Home

All the Children are Home

Full Title: All the Children Are Home: A Novel

Author: Patry Francis

Genre: Coming-of-age

Publishing Date: 13th April 2021


A family where Dahlia and Louie Moscatelli, adoptive carers, live with their long-term foster kids Jimmy, Zaidie, and Jon. Their lives permanent changes when Agnes, a six-year-old indigenous girl, comes to live with them.

Dahlia had a few requirements when she wanted to become a foster mother: no crying babies, no delinquents, and, most importantly, no girls. Years previously, a traumatic tragedy had rendered her a veritable prisoner in her own house, perpetually fearful of the heartache and limitations of being a girl.

Dahlia and Louie believe their family completed eleven years after they began adopting. Still, they can’t say no when a social worker urges them to take in a young girl who’s been neglected and abused. Agnes Juniper, six years old, enters with little awareness of her Native American origin or herself, other than a box of artifacts handed to her by her mother and hazy memories of her sister.

As time passes and external factors threaten to rip them apart, the youngsters must summon the strength and grit to save themselves and one another.

11. The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Full Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Genre: Young adult fiction

Publishing Date: 10th January 2012


This is a wonderful novel about a young adolescent girl diagnosed with terminal cancer and attending a therapy group. Hazel, 16, is hesitant to attend the help group, but she quickly realizes she has made the right decision. Augustus Waters, a little child, is introduced to Hazel. He has a lovely and witty personality.

Augustus was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare kind of bone cancer, but was given the all-clear lately. While looking for the writer of their favorite novel, Hazel and Augustus experience a roller coaster of feelings, including love, despair, and passion. They fly to Amsterdam in quest of author Peter Van Houten. Augustus shares some sad news with Hazel while on their journey, and each of their lives crumbles before them.

12. If I Stay

If I Stay | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Genre: Young adult fiction

Publishing Date: 2nd April 2009


Mia Hall, a young girl, is involved in a catastrophic vehicle accident, and her world is turned upside down in an instant. She has no recall of what occurred to her or the tragedy when she wakes up. All she remembers is riding with her family along a snow-covered Oregon road. She sees her getting pulled from the collision and then her battered body the next instant. Her consciousness has managed to elude her body while in a coma.

She could see her friends and family waiting for her at the hospital, where physicians treated her following the crash. She immediately realizes that she must choose between returning to her previous life, which would be more difficult than anticipated, or dying and leaving the world permanently.

13. Glorious Boy

Glorious Boy | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: Glorious Boy

Author: Aimee Liu

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: 15th September 2020


Is there anything that can be done to save Ty? It is a question Claire and Shep Durant are haunted by in the aftermath of their four-year-old child’s. Until now, Port Blair’s British doctor and his young wife, a talented anthropologist, have lived a privileged lifestyle in India’s Andaman Islands, due in part to Naila, a native girl who speaks their curiously mute son’s silent language.

However, with the war looming and obligatory evacuation beginning, the Durants are unaware that Naila and Ty have disappeared until it is too late. Shep stays behind to look for the children while Claire sails to Calcutta. The Japanese attacked the Andaman Islands a few days later, shutting off all contact.

Claire exploits her unique understanding of the islands’ tribes to make herself invaluable to an all-male surveillance team heading back beyond enemy lines, driven by guilt and grief. Her covert objective is to save Shep and Ty.

14. The House of the Spirits

The House of the Spirits | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: The House of the Spirits

Author: Isabel Allende

Genre: Magical Realism

Publishing Date: 1982


The achievements and sorrows of three generations of the Trueba family are brought to life in this wonderful story. Esteban, the father, is a fiery, prideful man whose zeal for political dominance is only tempered by his love for his sensitive wife Clara, a woman with a mystic link to the spirit realm.

When Blanca defies her unyielding father by embarking on a prohibited love affair, the consequence is an unexpected gift for Esteban, his beloved granddaughter Alba, a gorgeous and strong-willed kid who will lead her family and country into a transformative future.

15. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Genre: Young adult fiction

Publishing Date: 21st February 2012


Aristotle is a grumpy adolescent who has a sibling and is imprisoned. Dante is a know-it-all with a unique perspective on the world. They appear to have nothing in common until they meet at the pool.

However, as the loners begin to spend time together, they learn that they share a unique connection, the type that transforms lives and lasts forever. Ari and Dante will learn the most crucial truths about themselves and the type of people they aspire through their friendship

16. You’ve Reached Sam

You've Reached Sam | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: You’ve Reached Sam

Author: Dustin Thao

Genre: Fiction

Publishing Date: 9th November 2021


Julie Clarke, 17, has her entire future figured out. She plans to move out of her tiny village with her boyfriend Sam, enroll in college in the city, and spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam passes away and everything is shifted. Julie is devastated, skips his burial, puts his possessions out, and does everything she can to forget about him.

However, a statement Sam placed in her yearbook prompts emotions to resurface. Julie contacts Sam’s cell phone merely to listen to his voicemail message, eager to hear him again. Sam, on the other hand, gets on the phone. The link is only transient. Hearing Sam’s voice, on the other hand, makes Julie fall in love with him all over again, and each call makes it more difficult to let him go.

17. Me Before You

Me Before You | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Genre: Romance novel

Publishing Date: 5th January 2012


Will needed Lou just as much as she did, but will her love save his life? Lou Clark is well-versed in a wide range of topics. She knows how many steps it takes to go from the bus stop to her house. She is aware that she enjoys working at The Buttered Bun teashop and may or may not adore her boyfriend, Patrick.

Lou is unaware that she might be about to lose her work or that anticipating what is to come is what keeps her calm. Will Traynor understands that his motorbike tragedy robbed him of his will to live. He recognizes that everything now feels very little and unhappy, and he knows just how he’ll put an end to it.

Lou is about to burst into Will’s world in a blaze of color, which he is completely unaware of. However, neither of them understands they’re about to alter another permanently.

18. A Thousand Boy Kisses 

A Thousand Boy Kisses | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: A Thousand Boy Kisses 

Author: Tillie Cole

Genre: Romance novel

Publishing Date:15th March 2016


Rune Kristiansen, seventeen, returns from Norway to the tranquil village of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he met and became friends with Poppy Litchfield as a child, with only one goal in mind.

Why did the girl who has been one-half of his soul and had vowed to wait patiently for his homecoming, abruptly cut him off without explanation? When Poppy went silent two years ago, Rune’s heart was devastated. When he learns the truth, he realizes that the worst is yet to come.

19. Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: Flowers for Algernon

Author: Daniel Keyes

Genre: Science fiction

Publishing Date: April 1959


This is the narrative of a mentally impaired guy whose systematic quest for intellect is similar to Algernon’s, a gifted lab mouse. Charlie describes how a brain procedure improves his IQ and transforms his life in his journal entries.

Charlie’s IQ grows as the experimental operation takes effect, eventually surpassing that of the scientists who orchestrated his transformation. The experiment appears to be a significant major discovery until Algernon’s abrupt, unanticipated decline. Will Charlie suffer the same fate?

20. Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: Bridge to Terabithia

Author: Katherine Paterson

Genre: Young adult fiction

Publishing Date: 21st October 1977


Jess Aarons has been training all summer to become the fifth grade’s fastest runner. But he almost is until Leslie Burke, the new girl at school, outruns him. They become fast friends and spend most of their days in the forest outside Leslie’s house, where they create Terabithia, an enchanting paradise. Leslie walks to Terabithia without Jess one day, and disaster strikes.

For Jess to come to terms with his sadness, he will need the love of his parents and the courage that Leslie has provided him.

21. Mockingjay

Mockingjay | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

Genre: Science fiction

Publishing Date: 24th August 2010


Katniss Everdeen and her comrades have relocated to the underground District 13 and are settling in. District 13 is attempting to unite Panem’s rebels to fight the Capitol. Katniss was asked by District 13 to serve as the rebel’s Mockingjay. She accepts the proposition on the condition that some requirements be met.

She began her career as a performer in rebel propaganda videos known as proposals, although she was kept out of the actual war. However, she breaks her principles and takes part in a battle in which a hospital in District 8 is bombed.

Meanwhile, the Capitol’s plot to bomb District 13 is revealed, and the rebels must devise a war policy to withstand the assaults. Katniss is dispatched to the Capitol as part of this plan. Katniss’ life and struggle against the Capitol are further explored in the book.

22. The Color Purple

The Color Purple | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

Genre: Domestic Fiction

Publishing Date: 1982


Since they were young girls, sisters Celie and Nettie have separated, yet they have maintained their love and hope for one another despite the passing of time, miles, and stillness.

The work draws readers into its vivid and evocative descriptions of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery, and Sofia and their journey through letters covering twenty years, first from Celie to God, then from the sisters to one other despite the uncertainty.

The Color Purple shattered the taboo surrounding domestic and sexual violence by telling the stories of women’s grief and hardship, friendship, growth, perseverance, and grit. Alice Walker’s epic, deeply sympathetic and brilliantly envisioned, takes readers on an essence voyage towards atonement and compassion.

23. The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: The Things They Carried

Author: Tim O’Brien

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: 28th March 1990


This is a revolutionary reflection on conflict, recollection, inspiration, and the healing power of storytelling. 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 forty-three, are all featured in this story.

It has become mandatory reading for any American and challenges readers’ perceptions of facts and opinions, war and tranquility, fortitude and anxiety, and yearning. Taught everywhere from high school classrooms to finish school training in the writing process, it has become required reading for any American and challenges reader’s preconceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear, and longing.

24. The Book Thief

The Book Thief | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Genre: Young adult fiction

Publishing Date: 2005


A young girl’s story is told in this book. She develops a love for reading while living with her adopted parents and gradually discovers both language’s positive and harmful power. Markus Zusak’s unique new novel, set in World War II in Germany, tells the story of Liesel Meminger, who scrapes a wretched existence for herself via thievery until she finds someone she can’t fight back against, and books are that something.

She learns to read with the assistance of her father and distributes her looted books to her neighbors during the aerial bombing and the Jewish guy hiding in her cellar before being taken to Dachau.

It’s a deeply touching novel with images of Nazi Germany, compassion, and grief that will leave one speechless.

25. Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go | Novels With Saddest Endings That Will Make You Cry

Full Title: Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Genre: Science fiction

Publishing Date: 5th April 2005


This book is my all-time favorite and personally close to my heart. This novel portrays Kathy’s effort to bring to peace with her upbringing at the blissful Hailsham School and the destiny that has always been awaiting her and her best mates in the larger world, narrated by Kathy (31).

Never Let Me Go is a story about love, friendship, and memory that is filled with a feeling of the vulnerability of existence.

Final Words

Recalling all these books, I literally have tears in my eyes writing right now. They’re so awesome! You bet I’m going to read the ones I haven’t done yet. Or, perhaps, for the entire month! I would highly suggest you immediately go and read these exceptionally good novels.

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