If you’re a sucker for tear-jerking young adult (YA) novels, you’ve probably bawled your eyes out to John Green’s “The Fault In Our Stars” or Gayle Forman’s “If I Stay” by now, and you are constantly on the lookout for more feel-sy reads that will sting your tear ducts. Good for you, the YA universe is heavily specked with novels that will make you ugly-cry.
And to help you update your to-read list, we rounded up seven YA novels that will definitely make you ugly-cry. You’re welcome.
1. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Born with cerebral palsy, Amy has limited control of her own body. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. As they begin to spend more time together, they tell each other everything, except what matters most. No YA story about disabilities, both physical and mental, as well as love found and lost, has been told with much passion as “Say What You Will”.
2. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Sisters Lynn and Katie Takeshima are inseparable. That is until Lynn falls ill, and her disease slowly tears their family apart. Now it’s up to little Katie to remind her family that there’s always something glittering, kira-kira, in the future. This award-winning novel is a painful yet beautiful narrative of sisterhood you won’t mind crying over again…and again.
3. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
During the tyrannical reign of Stalin and the formation of the USSR, fifteen year-old Lina documents the horrors of living in a labor camp in Siberia through drawings. A harrowing tale, “Between Shades of Gray” perfectly captures the horrors of war in pages.
4. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Auggie is born with a facial deformity, preventing him to attend a mainstream school… until now. As he deals with bullies and betrayal, he tries to prove that despite his appearance, he is just like everybody else. Soon to be adapted into a film starring Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay, “Wonder” is a heart-warming tale of how children weigh one’s physical appearance and true friendship.
5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Ruta Sepetys appears on our list twice because not only does she write heart-wrenching novels, she’s also a great historical fiction storyteller who deserves to be read more. Inspired by the unsung maritime tragedy that’s nine times worse than the Titanic, “Salt to the Sea” follows four teenagers burdened by secrets during the Soviet advance in 1945 Germany, who all end up boarding the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, hoping to escape the tragedies of their past.
6. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
An eccentric teen who goes by the name “Stargirl” shakes the quiet Micah High, capturing the heart of Leo Borlock with just one smile. As they start to realize their true feelings for each other, Leo urges Stargirl to become the very thing that will destroy her – normal. An ode to non-conformity, “Stargirl” stands as a testament of how cruel people can be when you’re just a wee bit different.
7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Bruno and Shmuel are friends but their extremely opposite backgrounds tell them they shouldn’t be. Bruno is the son of a Nazi officer, while Shmuel is a Jew imprisoned at a labor camp. A brutal account of two young boys’ bitter fate, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” will haunt you long after you’ve read it. (Andy Flores)