YA Books That Punched Us in the Feels

Like a sappy Hallmark movie or a particularly moving greeting card, books often make us cry — especially YA books. (You've read The Fault In Our Stars, right?) So when Cynthia Hand's The Last Time We Say Goodbye came across our radars, with a premise sure to make us all bawl our eyes out, YA gurus DJ and Elissa decided to whip out the tissues and take a look at the YA reads that have made them weep. Just in time for some post-Valentine's Day blues, how sweet.


To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: This book is so on point, it's ridiculous. I cried so much toward the end that I couldn't distinguish the Happy Tears from the Heartbreaking Tears. But there were definitely a lot of happy tears — and laughs and smiles, because this book — THIS BOOK — is amazingly heartfelt. Jenny Han really knocked it out of the park with Lara Jean's story and I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman: If I remember correctly, If I Stay was the first book after I devoured the Twilight saga that made me cry. Hard. The part with Mia’s grandfather? Yeah, I legit lost it, and in a weird way, I was so happy that scene in the movie had the same effect on me. Anywho, by the end of the book, my face was drowned in tears and snot. It was an ugly cry and boy, was it justified.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: Did I cry because of Maggie’s stunning prose? Yep. Did I cry because Sam and Grace just wanted to be loved and to be able to stay together? You bet. Did I cry because this is simply a gorgeous book? Oh, heck yes.

Sea by Heidi R. Kling: This is one of the most poignant and moving books I have ever read and it’s just so beautiful that tears are pretty unavoidable. Tackling topics like the loss of a parent, growing up, the aftermath of a natural disaster and falling in love for the first time, this is a true gem of a tearjerker.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer: It’s true, I bawled like a fool during Edward’s fake break-up with Bella, both in the book and the movie. (True story: My friend next to me in the theater laughed her pants off at me while I sobbed.) Say what you will about Ms. Meyer, she has an uncanny knack for putting you right in her characters’ shoes, so I, like Bella, really felt the depth of Edward’s words.


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: This look at college life, becoming yourself and finding love is truly wonderful, and also made me ugly cry. Thanks a lot, Rowell. But when spoiler: (but really, have you not read this book yet?) Cath’s dad sends her back to school and assures her that he’s going to deal with his own problems? Well. Tears flowed, people.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford: This YA is so deftly written, you really feel for Bea. Her loneliness is palpable. And then we meet Ghost Boy, and learn his story, and you feel even worse. But wait til the end! Sniff! I know it sounds like a downer, but Standiford has such a wonderful, melancholy tone, it all works together beautifully.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: OH MAN I DIDN’T THINK SHE WOULD DO IT BUT SHE DID, SHE REALLY DID. You could argue spoilers: (but, c’mon, really?) that Collins simply delivered on what she’d promised in very beginning of the first book, the old, if you see a gun in the first act, it’s got to go off by the third. But at the same time: I CAN'T BELIEVE SHE KILLED PRIM. Terrible.

On the Edge, Sweet Valley High No. 40 by Francine Pascal: If you are of a certain age, you totally know which SVH I mean. That’s right, it’s the one where Regina dies. Ah! That Pascal could kill such a beloved character was shocking and daring and, boy, did it work. Because if you google “Regina Dies, SVH” you get 56,000 hits about people who never tried drugs because of that book — which came out in 1987. Francine, we bow down. You are the master.

Which YA books made you cry? Commiserate with us in the comments and be sure to check out our Everything YA page for even more books, authors and buzz.