Never Let Me Go
The best advice I got about this book was to read nothing about it before I started, in order to avoid serious spoilers. So, with that in mind, I will only tell you that this is the story of four children who attend an exclusive and mysterious boarding school in the English countryside. As adults, three of the characters reconnect to piece together their past and discover what it was that made them—and their school—so special.
A Little Life
This is an epic and haunting story of four friends who move to New York after college. Over the decades, we observe their relationships deepen and fray, as the dark forces of addiction, success, pride, and trauma take their toll. As one Silent Book Club member wrote, “A Little Life broke me in so many ways. It broke my heart, my mind, my spirit, my eyes…” Brace yourself and clear your calendar. You’re going to need some recovery time from this one.
Me Before You
On a lighter note, while Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You isn’t exactly uplifting, it’s a love story that will give you all the feels. Louisa Clark is a small-town girl who takes a much-needed job caring for Will Traynor, who’s bound to a wheelchair. Before his accident, Will was a golden boy—extreme sports, world travel, power broker, the works. Now he can no longer see the point of living, and Louisa has to convince him otherwise.
The Fault in Our Stars
Dying teenagers in love. I mean, that’s been a winning formula since Shakespeare conceived of Romeo and Juliet, so we’re not covering new territory here. But John Green has such a knack for character development and dialogue that you feel like you’re reading about star-crossed lovers for the first time all over again. The movie didn’t make me cry. The book? OMG. Floods of tears. Park a box of tissues nearby.
Newly retired 75-year-old Henry looks back on his life, full of questions with no answers. Henry has spent his life trying to do all the right things as a son, husband, soldier, and churchgoer, but as time marches on, he begins to wonder if this is all there is. With his children distant and only his wife and dog to keep him company, Henry feels as if the world has passed him by—but what feels like an ending could surprise him.
Those of us at Silent Book Club know the value of a book-induced sob-fest. Heartache on our own terms? Totally doable. (Unexpected weepy commercials, not so much.)
If you’re in the mood for a couple (dozen) tears, you’ve come to the right place: Silent Book Club members chose the five most heartbreaking novels they’ve read, just for your melancholic enjoyment. These stories are guaranteed to take you on an emotional rollercoaster, but the beauty of fiction is that it’s not real life. There’s something wonderfully cathartic about a good ugly cry—so enjoy the ride, and pass the tissues.
Featured image: George Marks/Getty Images