Top Ten Books That Broke Your Heart A Little

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This week's Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish asks for the Top Ten Books That Broke Your Heart A Little. I don’t know how to list these without having possible SPOILERS, so fair warning, if you haven’t read a title on my list, skim the comment!

1) The Book Thief – I love this book. I just love it, but I can’t help myself, I fall apart when I read it.

2) Where the Red Fern Grows – What’s that little boy, you want to get some puppy dogs? Don’t do it!

3) Anne of Green Gables – When Matthew died, enough said.

4) The Time Traveler’s Wife – I know what’s coming, but I still cry every time.

5) Atonement – Ian McEwan is really good at writing sad books, but this one takes the cake.

6) The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – Holy depressing ending batman!

7) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – So good, but not a really an upper.

8) Bridge to Terabithia – Teaching kids how to cope with death since 1987.

9) The final 3 Harry Potter books – First Sirius, then Dumbledore, then Hedwig, then so many others. It’s realistic because they’re at war, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

10) The Knife of Never Letting Go –Manchee’s death was such an unexpected blow.

Image from here.


  1. We share some titles this time! I need to read Where The Red Fern Grows and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

  2. Oh man, I'd forgotten how sad Atonement is. Now, I vaguely remember reading it at my grandmother's in England (it's always nice when the setting matches where you are actually reading), struggling to read because I was...maybe...crying too much. Not that I really need to be seeking out tearjerkers, but I need to reread this one.

  3. Yes, having read several of these books I know exactly what you mean...

  4. Have you read The Grapes of Wrath? That one broke my heart to smithereens.

    ... and Atonement... *sigh*

  5. I agree about all the ones I've read. Though my number one stomped-on-my-heart book is Sarah Waters' The Night Watch.

  6. I didn't fill out this Top Ten, but if I had, Bridge to Terabithia definitely would have been on there. That one made me bawl as a kid, and then again when I revisited as an adult.

  7. I totally forgot about Where the Red Fern Grows. That books still makes me sad thinking about it. My mom read it to us on one of your family road trips and I think the whole family was in tears.

  8. I'm not ashamed to admit I shed several tears over the final Harry Potter novel - so much death. But the part that gets me most is Harry with the resurrection stone heading into the forest to meet his death. GAH - so emotional.

  9. The Book Thief has been on several lists... I've not read it, I don't like to cry, but I admit I'm intrigued as well.

    Again, forgot about Anne of Green Gables and Matthew dying. I might have made my ten after all if I'd remembered some of the ones I forgot.

  10. Yes, yes yes to many of these. I would add 11/22/63, which leveled me. Also The Art of Racing in the Rain. And don't even get me started on Manchee.

  11. I agree with so many of these! In fact, I recommended the Chaos Walking Trilogy to a friend and after finishing the first installment she complained "what the heck!?! The dog dies - I was balling!"

  12. I have to go with "The Little Prince." Sobbing--every time.

  13. I cry everytime I read TTW too! It seems that with each reading I always cry a little harder. :(

  14. Jillian - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is wonderful, but not an upper.

    Ellen - You read that in England! That's awesome. I read it in Florida, not the same.

    Kailana - Seriously, they break my heart!

    Alex - Oh man, Grapes of Wrath, that's a really good one to add to this list.

    Nymeth - That's one of the few Waters books I haven't read, but it's on my shelf. Maybe I'll be better prepared for that now.

    Amanda - I know. it's one of the first books I read with death in it.

    Lisa - I can just picture a family photo in front of Mount Rushmore, everyone with red, puffy eyes from crying.

    Brooke - That's the part that gets me too! Oh my gosh, everytime.

    MJ Thomas - The Book Thief is worth being sad over. It's so good!

    Sandy - I really need to read 11/22/63 after your review.

    Kat - I felt the same way. I just couldn't believe it.

    annieb - That's a good one too!

    Brenna - Me too, knowing what's going to happen almost makes it worse!

  15. Atonement and The Book Thief made my list, too - Atonement was just so desperately sad at the end.

  16. Atonement may be the saddest book I've ever read.

  17. Excellent excellent list … I agree with you on all the ones I read … and now I want to read the rest of them. I love a good heart-breaking book.

  18. my youngest son just finished Bridge to Terabithia..he keeps wanting to talk about it and also wants me to read base on 2 recommendations in 2 days..this will be my new book to read!!

  19. smallgirl - It was, it was my first McEwan book and I wasn't expecting it.

    Jeanne - It's one of those books that breaks my heart more and more when I think about it. I What If myself into a stupor.

    Jenners - I have to be in the right mood, but when I am, geez, it's waterworks.

    momto8 - You should definitely read it so you can discuss it with your son!

  20. Seriously? About Atonement? I'm reading it right now and have to finish by tomorrow. Is it really really sad? Like do I need to prepare myself big time?

    And you know I agree with your Book Thief comments!

    P.S. Also, I tagged you today. Sorry. I mean, I hope it's okay! :)

  21. All I can say is amen, amen, amen to like all of these!!! Special emphasis on numbers 1-5 and 9. Phew.

    And I'd add Gone with the Wind.

  22. What a heartbreaking list! Bridge to Terabithia and Where the Red Fern Grows were awful. Great novels, but awful... Time Traveler, Atonement, and Book Thief were equally as heart-wrenching.

    I hope to give The Knife of Never Letting Go a try sometime this year.

  23. Suey - You seriously do need to prepare yourself. I'll post my answers on Saturday!

    ConnieGirl - Gone With the Wind, that's a great one to add!

    Two Bibliomaniacs - It's a fascinating series, but it will break your heart.

  24. I would add God of Small Things and Bastard Out Of Carolina, then I have to stop because I'm getting too depressed to continue :) The second one is so heartbreaking that it actually made me mad - I still haven't forgiven Dorothy Allison for that one.

  25. Julia - I've never read Bastard, but God of the Small Things was rough.

  26. Oh! And Affliction, by Russell Banks - very sad but just an incredible book.