I wasn’t going to do Top Ten Tuesday this week, but I love books that make me cry! (I know. There’s something wrong with me.) In fact, I found it completely impossible to limit myself to ten.
1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I can still remember being about 13 and lying on our horrible old green couch in Columbus, reading the last chapter of A Tale of Two Cities and sobbing my eyes out. In fact, even today, I will probably burst into tears if I see the last page quoted anywhere.
2. Code Name Verity & Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Really, you know, ANYTHING Elizabeth Wein writes. But especially these two, for “We still make a sensational team” and Maddie, and “The Subtle Briar” and Elodie and Karolina and Rose and Roza.
3. Plain Kate & Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow
Both of these made me cry, but Sorrow’s Knot definitely wins the “how many buckets will Maureen fill?” contest. One of the most beautiful, heartbreaking stories I’ve ever read. “I saw a new kind of bird today.”
4. The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
These books don’t tend to make me cry so much, but MWT is the master of the one-line heartbreaker. Especially the ones that take on new meanings on re-reading; see: “No one was going to start a war over me” or “O my god, if you will not save me, make me less afraid.”
5. Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
As I re-discovered recently, most of the Vorkosigan saga is pretty darn heart-wrenching, but Memory takes the cake. Between Miles and Simon Illyan, and Duv and Gregor–gah.
6. The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff
The whole thing–the sense of not going gently into the night, plus the marvelous characters and setting which Sutcliff does so well. But the ending is particularly beautiful and one of my favorites.
7. The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
This is a lighter read than most of the others on this list, but it’s so beautiful and I loved Hathin SO MUCH. And her journey, the journey of the world she lives in, is so heartfelt.
8. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
I had already loved the Tiffany Aching books, but Night Watch is in a class all by itself. Just as heartbreaking on a re-read (if not more so) and wonderfully set up.
9. Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones
I don’t know if this is my favorite Diana Wynne Jones, but it’s certainly the most heartbreaking.
10. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.”
11. Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
These books had me crying tears of sorrow, relief, and sheer joy. One of the most intense and wonderful reading experiences I’ve ever had.
12. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Jellicoe Road in one word: FEELS. How many characters are there? How many ways can they break your heart? I love the way this one shows relationships, all different kinds, and how beautiful and sad and wonderful they are.