12 Sad Romance Books That Will Make You Cry

There are not many people out there willing to read sad romance books that will make them get in their feelings or perhaps those that would make them cry. However, these ingredients differentiate an ordinary romance novel from one that makes a Best Seller List or is even adapted to a movie.

For the reader, reading a romance novel that would make you feel sad will help you gain more empathy for people exposed to such situations. It would also help you to build character. Below is a list of romance novels written by some of the best authors in the world that would get you feeling all kinds of unwanted emotions.

Best Books That Make You Cry

1. P.S. I Love You

  • Writer: Cecelia Ahern
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 655 pages (hardcover); 512 pages (paperback)
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4/5; Google Users – 92%

P.S. I Love You tells the story of Gerry and Holly, childhood sweethearts who are deeply in love, even after many years of being together. The couple are so close that they can finish each other’s sentences, even when they fight. Life is unimaginable without the other person until the unthinkable happens – Gerry suddenly dies of a brain tumor.

Gerry’s death utterly devastates Holly, who can’t seem to carry on living without her partner. She withdraws from her family and friends out of grief until she receives a mysterious package from her dead husband.

The package is a bundle of notes, one for each month after his death. Gerry sent his wife uplifting messages in the notes that all end with ‘PS, I Love You.’ With it, she can rediscover herself and have another go at life, encouraged by her late husband’s words.

2. Ugly Love

  • Author: Colleen Hoover
  • Publication Date: August 5, 2014
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4.2/5; Barnes & Noble – 4.7/5; Google Users – 94%

Ugly Love is one of the best sad romance books that can make you cry. The story centers around the characters of Tate Collins and Miles Archer, who start a no strings attached sexual relationship. The pair are clear on what they want from each other as they do not even consider themselves friends.

Miles clearly doesn’t want love, and since Tate doesn’t have time for love, the arrangement appears to be made in heaven. Miles further gives Tate two rules to follow for their arrangement to work seamlessly. The first rule is that she never asks about his past, while the second is that she doesn’t expect a future. Things get off to a great start; however, they soon realize they can’t handle it.

3. A Walk to Remember

  • Author: Nicholas Sparks
  • Publication Date: October 1999
  • Publisher: Warner Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4.2/5; Barnes & Noble – 4.5/5; Google Users – 94%

There are not many more books that touch on our emotions, like Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember. Vaguely inspired by the author’s sister, who died of cancer in 2000, the story is about two teenagers who fall in love with each other despite being polar opposites.

Set in the small, religious town of Beaufort, North Carolina, in the 1950s, Landon Carter, the son of a popular politician, was pressured by his father to run for class president. Landon reluctantly does so and wins. Being student body president, he is expected to attend the school dance with a date.

Landon found it hard to find someone to go to the dance with him at the last minute. He asks Jamie Sullivan, the quiet daughter of the town’s Baptist minister who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks. Jamie lived in a world away from other teens, spending most of her time helping at the local orphanage or caring for her widowed father.

It was new territory for her as no boy had ever asked her. Her involvement with Landon would send him down a new part in life as he fell in love with her while she showed him the depths of the human heart.

4. The Fault in Our Stars

  • Author John Green
  • Publication Date: January 10, 2012
  • Publisher: Dutton Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4.2/5; Google Users – 96%

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is narrated by its main character Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old girl with thyroid cancer that has affected her lungs. Her parents prompt Hazel to attend a cancer patient support group where she meets and befriends 17-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player, amputee, and osteosarcoma survivor.

The duo exchange novels, and in the quest to find out what happens in one of the novels that end abruptly, they reach out to the writer. Hazel and Augustus would end up having to travel to Amsterdam to meet the writer, and while on the trip, they profess their love and then lose their virginity to one another.

The next day, Augustus would reveal to his love that his cancer had returned. His condition began to deteriorate soon after, and he was admitted to the ICU. He would organize a pre-funeral where Hazel and other friends would give their eulogies before he passed on.

Sad Books That Make You Cry

5. It Ends with Us

  • Author: Colleen Hoover
  • Publication Date: August 2, 2016
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 376 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4.4/5; Google Users – 96%

It Ends With Us is the second piece of work by Colleen Hoover to make it to the list of sad romance books that will make you cry. This one is, however, based on the relationship between her father and mother.

The story centers around a young college graduate named Lily Bloom, who left her hometown in Maine to move to Boston, Massachusetts, where she started her own business. Lily is trying to leave everything in her past behind her and is excited when a charming neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid enters her life.

While Ryle is not keen on getting into a relationship with anybody, he makes an exception for Lily, and their relationship blossoms. Things, however, turn upside down when someone from her past suddenly reappears. Her first love, Atlas Corrigan, whom she still has fond memories of, walks into her life, and everything she built with Ryle is on the brink of collapse.

6. Pride and Prejudice

  • Author: Jane Austen
  • Publication Date: January 28, 1813
  • Publisher: T. Egerton, Whitehall
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4.3/5; Barnes & Noble – 4.3/5; Google Users – 92%

Indeed, the oldest book to feature on this list from one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists, Jane Austen. The book was an immediate success in 1813 when it was published and has since remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. It is a favorite of many scholars and the reading public that is destined to get you to shed some tears.

Set in rural England in the early 19th century, the novel centers around the dalliance between the opinionated Elizabeth Bennet and her wealthy, proud beau, Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is the daughter of the owner of the Longbourn estate in Hertfordshire.

Because her parents have only daughters, they cant inherit his entailed property as it can only be passed on to a male heir. Thus, at least one of the girls must find a wealthy husband to support the others after the death of their father.

In a bid to find a suitable husband, the book’s protagonist Elizabeth clashes with many people, including her siblings and mother, who are desperate. She quickly learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between superficial and actual goodness.

7. Oh My Stars

  • Author: Lorna Landvik
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2005
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 3.9/5; Audible – 4.2/5

In what has been described as American writer Lorna Landvik’s most ambitious novel yet, she tells the coming of age story of Violet Mathers, a tall and slender girl who is having a hard time with life during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Violet believes she is flawed, both physically and otherwise. Her mother abandoned her, and the only remaining parent she had, her father, mistreated her. Things were even worse in school as her schoolmates teased her. The young lady would later find joy when she was hired to work the night shift in a local thread factory.

She was accepted wholely by her co-workers and the owner of the factory. Everything seemed to be going on fine in her life until a terrible accident occurred, forcing her to retreat again into her shell. With nothing left to bring her joy at home, Violet boards a bus to California. However, her bus doesn’t reach its destination as it crashes on its way.

Everything that could go wrong in Violet’s life seemed to be going wrong until two men, Austin Sykes and Kjel Hedstrom, rescue her and her fellow passengers. The duo are musicians of a new brand of music that catches Violet’s interest. When she begins to have feelings for one of the duo, she ends up joining the band, helping to spread their new sound.

8. If He Had Been with Me

  • Author: Laura Nowlin
  • Publication Date: April 2, 2013
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 330 Pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4.1/5; Barnes & Noble – 4.6/5; Google Users – 96%

A New York Times Bestseller, Laura Nowlin’s If He Had Been with Me takes aim and lands on the bullseye at painting a portrait of love and regret. It is a story of what if that deals with the issues of friendship, first loves, and family, everything that it takes to make the reader cry.

Autumn and Finn are the main characters in the book. The two have been friends right from childhood. They are also neighbors whose mothers are best friends. Autumn and Finn did everything together until middle school, when they fell apart for unspecified reasons. Despite the family relationship, the two stopped talking to each other and made friends that were polar opposites so that their paths would never cross.

Autumn regretted the loss of Finn’s friendship even though she notably had a good set of friends and a boyfriend. She was always bothered with the thought of what could have been if they remained friends. Autumn tried to neglect the thoughts for a long time, but they soon began eating her up.

Romance Books That Make You Cry

9. Me Before You

  • Author: Jojo Moyes
  • Publication Date: January 5, 2012
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin Books)
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4.3/5; Rakuten Kobo – 4.5/5; Google Users – 95%

Me Before You is the first book in a three-book series (Me Before You, After You & Still Me) by New York Times Bestselling author Jojo Moyes. The romance novel is a heartbreaking story that examines the relationship and love between two people who have no business being together.

The main characters in the book are 26-year-old Louisa Clark and the very wealthy Will Traynor. Louisa comes from a working-class family. She lives a simple life but soon finds herself out of a job when the cafe she works in closes. Following a long search, she settles for a role that entails caring for Traynor, who is quadriplegia after suffering a pedestrian-motorcycle accident.

At the start of the relationship, Louisa and Will clash a lot as he is very bitter about his condition. Things get worse when he finds out that his ex-girlfriend and best friend are getting married. After a while, however, his attitude begins to change.

Louisa found out that he once attempted suicide and had an agreement with his mother to help him end his life through Dignitas in about six months. Without letting him know that she was aware of the deal, she begins to take him out often, and the two grow fond of each other.

Louisa and Will end up falling in love, but Will insists that he can’t live life in a wheelchair. As a result, he intends to go through with his plans of assisted suicide. This breaks Louisa’s heart, but she manages to be by his bedside when he passes away just after admitting that the past six months were the best in his life.

10. Eleanor & Park

  • Author: Rainbow Rowell
  • Publication Date: April 2012
  • Publisher: Orion Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4/5; Google Users – 95%

Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park garnered critical acclaim upon release in 2012. It explored subjects of domestic abuse, child abuse, bullying, and body image amidst a romantic story that would make a keen observer cry. Set in Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1986 school year, the story features the two titular characters, sixteen-year-olds who come from different backgrounds but connect over shared interests despite the challenges in their lives.

It all starts on Eleanor Douglas’s first day in a new school. Because of the circumstances surrounding her life (being raised in an impoverished, abusive home), the chubby teen doesn’t have good clothes and often has to patch things up to appear decent in school. This makes her fellow students bully her.

On the ride to school, other kids rearranged their bus seats so the bus driver could yell at her. Eleanor is confused and about to cry, forcing Park Sheridan to grudgingly offer her a seat. The two share a few classes, and along the way, Park discovers she is one of the smartest kids in school. This attracts him to her, even more so when they have interests in the same things (comic books, music, etc.).

Park would later fall in love with Eleanor and would often defend her when she is bullied in school. On one occasion, he got into a fight while trying to protect her. While she is uncomfortable with all the love and attention she is receiving from Park, Eleanor has no option but to spend more time with him, as going home only means that she is going back to pain. She would have to live in Park’s house after his parents find out about their situation.

Later on, Eleanor decides to go live with her uncle in St Paul, Minnesota. Park is devasted but understands the situation. He thinks about killing Eleanor’s stepdad but stops at the last moment. It is even worse when he keeps writing Eleanor, and she doesn’t respond. However, six months later, she sent a postcard with three words.

11. Every Day

  • Author: David Levithan
  • Publication Date: August 28, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 3.9/5; Barnes & Noble – 4.4/5; Google Users – 93%

American author David Levithan explores both the romance and fantasy world with Every Day, an intriguing story about a spirit (otherwise known as ‘A’) that inhabits different bodies for 24 hours within the same geographical area.

A switches from body to body regardless of gender and without choice. Sometimes, A is a boy while other times it is a girl. A can also take up a body in any skin color and size. It replaces the hosts’ consciousness and memories with its own even though it can tap into the memories of the person it is occupying at the time. A, however, strives to respect the people it possesses and chooses to stick to their routines.

Every Day starts with A waking up in the body of a 16-year-old teenager named Justin. As has always been the case, A carries on with Justin’s routine, going to school, where he meets up with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. A taps into Justin’s memories and finds out that he and his girlfriend were having some issues. They end up going to talk about things and open up to each other, although A is very limited in what it shares.

For the first time in its life, A feels a connection with Rhiannon. It had never felt this way before and works to come in contact with Rhiannon in the days later when it inhabits other bodies. When in different bodies in the next days, A is able to convince Rhiannon that the person she had a deep conversation with was not Justin. It is able to get her to understand the phenomenon it is going through of having to occupy different bodies every 24 hours.

But while she understands A and what it might be going through, she is convinced that it would be impossible to have a relationship with A as it is always changing bodies and gender. A is therefore stuck with having to chase Rhiannon with each passing day.

12. Dear John

  • Author: Nicholas Sparks
  • Publication Date: October 30, 2006
  • Publisher: Warner Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 237 pages
  • Ratings: Goodreads – 4/5; Barnes & Noble – 4.3/5; Google Users – 94%

Nicholas Sparks appears to have a penchant for making people cry with his novels as another one of his books, Dear John, makes it to the list. Inspired by the story of his real-life cousin who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, the 2007 New York Times Best Seller is about a couple, John Tyree and Savannah, who fall in love one summer but separate afterward as a result of the time he spends away for military service.

Many readers have written that they developed a love/hate relationship with the book because the first part of the book makes you fall in love with it before everything then goes downhill and makes you feel depressed. However, everybody agrees that the story is a realistic portrayal of how things can get in such a situation.

Set in Wilmington, North Carolina, the main character of the book John Tyree is a school dropout who does not know what to do with himself and so decides to enlis6 in the army. Later, he meets Savannah, who turns out to be the girl of his dreams. The pair look forward to spending the rest of their lives together.

Unfortunately, the 9/11 attacks happen, and he feels he has to re-enlist and head out to fight for his country. This decision and the subsequent long separation puts a strain on his relationship with Savannah, who moves on and marries someone else.

John later returns home following the death of his father. It is obvious to him, Savannah, and her husband that the couple are still very much in love, but John makes the hardest decision of his life as he opts to let her go.

Chizzy Onukogu
Chizzy Onukogu
Chizitere is a writer and editor with over five years of experience in producing articles on various subjects. My writings have been published on multiple websites and publications


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