10 Best Books With Endings That Will Make You Cry- Favbookshelf

Happy endings leave most readers feeling satisfied. You feel warm and comfortable when you close the book, while books with sad endings stay with the reader for a long time.

They can fill you with frustration and sadness. But sad endings make you want more because we all want a perfect happy ending. Here we recommend ten books with heartbreaking endings that will not let you sleep at night.

10 books with sad endings
10 Books With Sad Endings

#1 All the bright places by Jennifer Niven


All the bright places by Jennifer Niven books with sad endings
All the bright places by Jennifer Niven

About The Book

Title: All The Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Health, Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group

Pages: 388 pages

Goodreads rating: 4.1/5

Finch and Violet meet at the top of the school’s bell tower. They both want to jump, but instead, they save each other from doing so. Finch is suicidal, and Violet has post-traumatic stress disorder. Finch persuades Violet to be his partner on their geography project, snapping her out of the comfort of her clique: the popular kids. They explore all of Indiana and see everything it offers before graduating. Eventually, Finch teaches Violet how to live when all he wants to do is die.

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

All the Bright Places is a heartbreaking book about mental illness and its powerful impact on those affected and those around them. The book explores heavy adult themes. It is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it, and that is why it is at the top of my list of books with sad endings.

To buy All the bright places by Jennifer Niven now:

#2 A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini


 A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini books with sad endings
A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini

About the Book

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Genre: Historical, War, Adult Fiction

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Pages: 372 pages

Goodreads rating: 4.4/5

Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman who is forced to marry a shoemaker – Rasheed- due to some tragic events. After eighteen years of marriage, Rasheed takes another wife, fourteen-year-old Laila, a bright and spirited girl. Mariam and Laila become allies in the fight against Rasheed, whose violent assaults are condoned by custom and law. Ultimately, each woman is forced to accept a path that will never be entirely happy for her.

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

Overall, the author addresses many important issues, such as how the war destroyed the lives of so many innocent Afghans who were forced to go to different countries for protection. Also, the rules of society restricted the freedom of women. The story of Laila and Mariam is heartbreaking. The violence they endured was cruel and unjust. This book is my absolute favorite with a sad ending, and I hope it finds a place in your heart.

To buy A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini now:

#3 A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara books with sad endings
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

About the Book

Title: A Little Life

Author: Hanya Yanagihara

Genre: Mental Health, Queer, Contemporary, Literary Fiction

Publisher: Doubleday

Pages: 790 pages

Goodreads rating: 4.3/5

When four classmates move from a small-town college to New York to make their way, they are broke and strengthened only by their friendship and ambition. There’s handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted Brooklyn-born painter looking to enter the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect; and the brilliant Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Jude himself is an increasingly broken man, though his mind and body are scarred by an unspeakable childhood and haunted by a trauma he fears he not only cannot overcome that will define his life forever.  

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

This title is inconsistent, unusual, and relentless. It moves quickly forward before slipping into a narrative of angst and chronic self-loathing. Nimble minds prefer elegant patterns throughout and not just at the end. Like its protagonist, this is a novel of many questions. So this book can’t be left off my list of books with sad endings.

To buy A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara now:

#4 Me before you by Jojo Moyes


About the Book

Me before you by Jojo Moyes books with sad endings
Me before you by
Jojo Moyes

Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Genre: Romance, Drama, Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Pages: 369 pages

Goodreads rating: 4.2/5

Louisa Clark has no clear direction in her life. She shimmies from job to job to help her close-knit family make ends meet. But her cheerful attitude is tested when she takes on her latest professional challenge: a job as a caregiver and companion to Will Traynor, a wealthy young banker who has used a wheelchair since an accident. The cynical Will is no longer adventurous and has all but given up. That is until Louisa shows him that life is still worth living.

Why Do We Recommend this Book?

Books with sad endings are hard to read when you are constantly crying, which is often. The circumstances were unique, but everyone could relate or at least compare how they would feel. The characters are humanly flawed instead of just good or bad, which makes them much more sympathetic and realistic. The ending is tear-jerking.

To buy Me before you by Jojo Moyes, click the link now:


#5 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte books with sad endings
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

About the Book

Title: Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Bronte

Genre: Gothic, Romance, Classic Literature

Publisher: Thomas Cautley Newby

Pages: 460 pages

Goodreads rating: 3.8/5

It is the story of Heathcliff’s fierce love and passion for Catherine. It follows the life of Heathcliff, a mysterious, gypsy-like person, from childhood to his death in his late thirties. Heathcliff rises in his adopted family and is then reduced to a servant. He runs away when the young woman – Catherine, whom he loves – decides to marry someone else. He later returns, wealthy and educated, and sets out to take revenge on Catherine and her family, believing they have ruined his life.

Why Do We Recommend this Book?

It is a chaotic novel, beautiful in its complexity but terrible in its viciousness. What makes this book special is that none of the characters is sympathetic. Everyone is portrayed in a way that highlights their weaknesses, from the narrator to the servants to the main characters. Somehow, the characters’ weaknesses draw the reader in. One cannot help but look to the characters for redemption and, when disappointed, regret their existence.

To buy Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte now:

#6 Atonement by Ian McEwan


 Atonement by Ian McEwan books with sad endings
Atonement by Ian McEwan

About the Book

Title: Atonement

Author: Ian McEwan

Genre: Bildungsroman, Romance, Psychological Fiction

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Pages: 351 pages

Goodreads rating: 3.9/5

In the summer of 1935, Briony notices her older sister, Cecilia, undressing and falling into the fountain in the garden of their country home. The housekeeper’s son, Robbie Turner, a childhood friend who has just graduated from Cambridge, watches Cecilia do so. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will change forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a line they had never ventured, becoming victims of the younger girl’s scheming imagination. And Briony will have committed a terrible crime, the guilt of which will shape her entire life.

Why Do We Recommend this Book?

Atonement is brilliant and riveting in depicting childhood, love, war, England, and class. At its core, the novel is a profound and profoundly moving exploration of shame and forgiveness and the difficulty of absolution. This book is a must for the collection of books with sad endings.

To buy Atonement by Ian McEwan now:

#7 Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


 Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro books with sad endings
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

About the Book

Title: Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Genre: Dystopia, Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Pages: 288 pages

Goodreads rating: 3.8/5

Hailsham appears to be a pleasant English boarding school. The students are well cared for and encouraged, taught art and literature, and become just the people the world expects them to be. But strangely, they are taught nothing about the outside world and have little contact with it.

On the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from a schoolgirl into a young woman, but it’s not until she and her friends leave the safe grounds of the school that they realize the whole truth about what Hailsham is. The children are clones bred to harvest their organs and save the rest of humanity from deadly diseases.

Why Do We Recommend this Book?

Good books with sad endings must have all these qualities, such as a thoughtful, sophisticated, and ultimately alarming look at the effects of dehumanization on any group. The people in it are not heroic. The ending is not comforting. Nonetheless, this is a brilliantly executed book by an incredible author who has chosen a complex subject: ourselves, seen through a dark glass.

To buy Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro now:

#8 The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller


 The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller books with sad endings
The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller

About the Book

Title: The Song Of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Genre: Greek Mythology, Queer, Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: Ecco Press

Pages: 378 pages

Goodreads rating: 4.3/5

Achilles is a strong, beautiful, and irresistible book with a sad ending. Patroclus is an awkward young prince who has been banished from his homeland. When they meet by chance, they forge an inseparable bond. They are trained in the arts of war and medicine, but when news comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to besiege Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins the cause, and Patroclus, torn between love and fear for his friend, follows. Little do they know that cruel fate will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice. 

Why Do We Recommend this Book?

This wonderfully heartbreaking and tragic book is a brilliant retelling of a mythic friendship. The book does not simply retell Homer’s Iliad. Instead, it looks at the Iliad from a new perspective: that of Patroclus. In Miller’s novel, the Greek demigod Achilles turns out to be a great fighter and a passionate lover.

To buy The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller now:

#9 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak books with sad endings
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

About the Book

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Genre: Holocaust, War, Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Publisher: Picador

Pages: 552 pages

Goodreads rating: 4.4/5

It tells the story of Liesel, a little girl who is taken to a new home because her mother cannot afford to take care of her. The story is told of death, which becomes a character that people begin to respect. The book is set in Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II.

Liesel’s younger brother dies while traveling to her new home, and she steals her first book. She suddenly has a new mom and dad when she arrives at her new home. Every night she is haunted by nightmares about her brother’s death. Liesel and her dad take it upon themselves to read the book about Liesel’s last connection to her brother.

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

Undoubtedly, this is not your average war story. It is full of metaphors and symbolism and is narrated by a fascinating character – Death. This book truly deserves to be included in the list of sad endings. The text is full of irony and humor. But it is also profound, as we see the growing threat of Nazism and the effects of war and poverty on the residents of Himmel Street, where Liesel and her foster parents live.

To buy The Book Thief by Markus Zusak now:

#10 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult


 My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult books with sad endings
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

About the Book

Title: My Sister’s Keeper

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Young Adult, Family, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 423 pages

Goodreads rating: 4/5

It tells the emotionally compelling story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and passionate love. Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. At age 13, she has undergone countless surgeries and transfusions so that her older sister Kate can somehow fight leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. Anna was conceived as a bone marrow donor for Kate. Like most teenagers, Anna begins to wonder and question who she is. But unlike most teens, she has always defined herself by her sister – and so Anna makes a decision that will tear her family apart and perhaps have deadly consequences for the sister she loves.

Why Do We Recommend this Book?

It is a painful book that addresses the harshness of life and the fact that life is not fair. It may seem bleak, but there are also some sweet, funny, and touching moments. My Sister’s Keeper is about sisterhood, choices, and the sacrifices we all have to make.

It would be best to grab a box of tissues before diving into any of these titles. All of these books are thought-provoking and harrowingly good. That’s it for this recommendation of books with sad endings.

To buy My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult now:

Reading books with sad endings improves the reading experience and the reader overall. It helps develop critical thinking skills. I hope you find something that speaks to you and makes you think.

That’s it for recommendations for books with sad endings that you should read.

Finally, I’d like to share with you the top 10 books with sad endings that you should have on your wish list.

1All the bright places by Jennifer NivenBuy Now
2 A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini Buy Now
3A Little Life by Hanya YanagiharaBuy Now
4Me before you by Jojo MoyesBuy Now
5Wuthering Heights by Emily BronteBuy Now
6Atonement by Ian McEwanBuy Now
7Never Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiguroBuy Now
8The Song Of Achilles by Madeline MillerBuy Now
9The Book Thief by Markus ZusakBuy Now
10 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi PicoultBuy Now
Best Books with Sad Endings

Read every book on this list. I am sure it won’t disappoint you.


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DisclosureAll our recommendations are honest; most importantly, some links in this post are affiliate links (i.e.) we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something we recommend.

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