Top Ten Saddest Books

Surely we have read a novel or two in our life. If it wasn't a novel study in English it may have been a long train trip or so forth. I hope this inspires you to read them if you haven't already. What do you think is the saddest book?

The Top Ten

1 Night - Elie Wiesel


This book really brought the life in the concentration camps vividly to the reader. Quite emotional

I'm reading this book right now. I've read multiple memoirs of people who have survived the death camps and so far this one is beyond the most tragic of them all.

The prologue literally describes how his dying father begs him to hold his hand

2 Old Yeller - Fred Gipson

Really good book

It was heartbreaking when Travis had to shoot Old Yeller, his best partner and friend-- it all happened so fast.

3 Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls

So touching and sad. It definitely the saddest and best book I have ever seen. The fact that the dogs died just made me cry and I will never forget what a great book it was

Reading this now so heartwarming and heartbreaking. I love this book

It is just-I cried

A heartwarming story about love and an inseparable between dog and boy. Little Ann has the brains and Old Dan has the brawn. This is a true adventure for all ages to enjoy. Not only is there a boy impaled by an axe, but there are many other fun and happy events! Such as... Dangling entrails, skinning rodents, abusing cats, and so much more!

4 The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

Cried a lot reading this

Beautifully written, but it did not make me cry. Despite being a young teenage girl this was an amazing book to read but it did not pull on the heart strings as much as I would have hoped. The book was well paced, had brilliant language techniques and rounded off the conclusion quite nicely. At the end of the book I felt that it was sad but it was inevitable, they were both prepared for the wost and they both fell in love knowing that one of them was not going to continue for too long. Us as readers were well prepared and throughout the book there was no false hope that they were gonna live happily ever after. His death was accepted by himself and his loved ones-he already had been fitted for his death suite.

Same. You guys spoiled it for me

This was terribly written, and I didn't cry. I cry at many things, and most books do make me cry, but this one didn't. I found it boring, and I personally know someone who had cancer, who told me people with cancer are nothing like that, and she found it quite disrespectful. - pjo

5 Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson

Its really so sad duh...

It was so sad because Leslie was so young, and she had her whole life ahead of her. She was a good person and I could personally relate to Leslie and Jess's friendship. Such a close and intricate friendship is something to be valued and cherished, which makes it all the more tragic when it is torn apart by Leslie's death. Also, what tore me apart was that she could have survived if Jess had told her he wasn't going to Terabithia that day, or if he had asked miss Edmunds to take her with them to Washington. Small things can make a big difference. Not that I blame Jess, in fact, I feel so sorry for Jess because Leslie was the only friend he had whom he could see on a daily basis, and also because he knew that her death was partially his fault. I can‘t even imagine the guilt and the pain he experienced. I am 12 right now, just a year older than Jess, and if I lost such a close friend, I would be scarred for the rest of my life. I have never cried till date while reading a book or ...more

I must admit, when children die, it really gets me

This is very sad I almost cried at school when I finished it!

6 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - David Fickling

This book made me bawl my eyes out as I read it and made me quite depressed for days afterward, this deserves a higher spot on the list. It reflects real world problems and though it is fiction, it makes you realize how absolutely horrific the Holocaust actually was, from the point of view of one of it's victims. Anne Franks diary was also very sad, and from the point of view of a Holocaust victim, but it's more inspiring than depressing and while it is very tragic, it's more a story about hope and pushing through to the end. While this book, it's just downright SAD. - SassyEquine

It was so strange and throughout the whole book I felt like something horrible was going to happen every five seconds! When he SPOILER died I was like welp, I knew what I was getting into reading a book like this

This book hit me right in the feels at the end...

This book is so sad. I cried a cup full of tears. Another really sad book is Letters From Rifka. This may just be my opinion because when we were reading this book in my class. My teacher and I were the only one crying.

7 The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank

10 when I read this, it was only a year ago so it's still in my mind- I had to read the afterword and the ending 20 times to believe that was really what happened. 15. God dang it, Hitler. She was 15.

The holocaust has always interested me because I have always wanted to learn more about it.I cried when I read this book because it really tugged at my heartstrings

Made me cry knowing what she went through. thank goodness I read this first at 11 and at least didn't understand a 4th of it. probably would've cried more, but it was confusing.

This book, Night, and schindlers list are the saddest books ever

8 My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

I read this book at the age of 12 after seeing the film in cinema and it was the first heartbreak I ever experienced. Jodi Picoult is a fantastic author and I have continued to read many of her books due to this one. She incorporates something into each of them that have nothing to do with the storyline but she makes it relevant. In My Sister's Keeper, it's astrology. The ending to this book is different from the film and, if you watch the film first, you will not expect this ending (probably the reason I cried for about 3 days after finishing this book). It's a book I can pick up and read at any time, I'll finish it within a day and it will still break my heart as if it was my first time reading it. I can't recommend this book enough.

The book is a real tear-jerker!

I've never read the book, but after watching the movie I basically know what the book is about. When I grow up I will surely cure Cancer because of this book. The relationship between the two sisters is amazing. The elder sister has Cancer, and thinks that she's ugly. The younger one was only born so she could donate body parts to her older sister to help save her older sister Kate's life. Anna, the younger sister, wants to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. Her parents are mad at her for suing them. Anna wants her sister to live, but she doesn't want to donate her kidney. It's just such a sad movie, saddest I've ever seen. So, I'm guessing this is a sad book too.

I have only read half and it Has a very depressing storyline. I guess if like the sad ones, this one you would like.

1 Comment
9 Allegiant - Veronica Roth

This made me cry so hard. I've never ever cried reading or watching anything before, but this book hit me so hard. Tobias's point of view was so heart wrenching to read. I hate Veronica Roth for killing off her own main character just to make more money. :'(

I honestly didn't really like these books. I mean, I might have, but I read a lot of dystopias( They're my FAVORITE genera) and I have REALLY high standards when it comes to these kinds of books. To me, this series was pretty bland compared to things like Hunger Games and Children of Eden( which isn't my favorite but I find it interesting), and it's just so confusing and unnecessarily complicated that I couldn't really get into it. Flowers for Algernon though, that made me cry so hard, I think it should be above this one. - SassyEquine

This book can destroy you. I red a lot of intense books but this ending was just very very emotional! I cried a lot and this story will stay with me forever. Thanks Veronica for this beautiful adventure, you change my life!

This series is absolutely amazing. Despite the tragic, tear-jerking ending, it is so happy and romantic in the best way. I wish there would have been another way, but I know my tears fall for the only possible way to end the wonderful Divergent series.

10 Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

I did not expect to like this book but MAN does it hit ya! - 4-6FOREVER

I read this in 8th grade and it destroyed me

It's horrible how his I.Q. rises, but then goes back down.

We have the movie version. Maybe I should watch it and see if I cry.
I asked my mom about it. She said (I think it was the movie, can't remember) that his IQ was low from the start (68), but when it went back down after it rose, she said his IQ was even worse than before. Poor Charly...

The Newcomers

? The Society of the Spectacle - Guy Debord

Incredibly crushing, but not in a narrative sense. Points out glaring issues in the world we live in like it’s nothing and does so in an objective and bleak tone. Incredible and thought provoking book, and so succinct that it’s measured in paragraph numbers instead of page numbers. A definite must read, but not for the faint of heart. - Ethansics

The Contenders

11 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

I think I can safely say I've read more books than every 13 year old in year 9(10th grade) in my school and I often say I have read the saddest book ever but even though Of Mice and Men was the shortest book I've ever read since primary school it truly the saddest, overwhelming, heartbreaking and emotional book I will ever read and I honestly was so depressed by the ending and I cries so much.I can't give enough words to describe even an 8th of how I felt.I almost which I never read it but I am glad I did.

I just finished reading it for my english class and I feel so attached to the characters, especially Lennie. It took me quite a bit to get used to the language and slang but I would definitely recommend!

Extremely depressing story, so sad

This book is the saddest book I have ever read, this should be #1!

12 The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

The first book to truly make me cry.

This is the saddest book I have ever read, and I have read The Fault in Our Stars. The deaths at the end and Liesel's reactions are some of the best described I have ever read. The book seemed less distant than the Fault in Our Stars, probably because I know people Liesel's age, and because I know about WWII. The Fault in Our Stars, on the other hand, while sad, seemed far away from me, most likely because I don't know any teenagers with cancer. I do know young men and women who are close friends, and it makes me think about what would happen if this was real among the people I know. That's what makes it sadder than The Fault in Our Stars.

Hands down one of the best but most upsetting books I've ever read! A great story with a very interesting narrator...death himself. The story had a fresh perspective and was rich in emotions.

The first (and only) book that's ever gotten me totally sobbing uncontrollably. But its sadness and the way the entire ending was written is just stunningly beautiful.

1 Comment
13 The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

To some readers this wasn't sad. But if you comprehended it and knew the story its very upsetting because SPOILER/SPOILER/ Charlie discovers his flashbacks of Aunt Helen molesting him after Sam kisses him and feels his leg

You then realize the whole time why he misses her so much and has the trauma. His breakdowns and everything alone with the film. Will have you in tears and speechlessness

I could really relate to Charlie. I've always felt like someone that people fall back on when no one else is there. When Charlie was sad, I felt sad.

Apparently some people related to this book and found it rather sad. I dunno, but it wasn't that sad.

14 Band of Brothers - Stephen E. Ambrose

Shows what life was like for soldiers in ww2 very vividly, based on true events.

15 Wonder - R. J. Palacio

I'm reading it now it is one of the saddest things ever it is really good and teaches a really good lesson

I cried in the movie it was very sad

Super sweet and touching

This book was tear jerker but this is a book for sensetive ones especially since it has a happy ending - Toptenanimallovers

16 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Consistently depressing...

This books is something that will stay with me till the day I die!

Saddest book I've ever read

Made me cry in class

17 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
18 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

Dobby the free elf - mikelatham


Harry potter and everyone dies.
Go vote for the road. (It's depressing not sad, this book is sad though *cough* the prince's tale *cough*)

A tragic and heart-breaking, but amazing end to a 7 book series.

19 The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay

It actually left quite a memorable mark on me! Even though it took me a while to get through it, it was definitely worth it!

I must admit, I really felt sorry for Peekay.

20 The Road - Cormac McCarthy

I know this book is fiction but it deserves to be in the top 10 at least.

21 The Death Cure - James Dashner

If you're a Newt fan, do not read this. I did and it brought me so much pain. Been emotionally unstable for 3 days until I accepted what happened. Either way, one of the best books ever.

Kill me. If you've ever been my friend, kill me.

Please Tommy Please

R.I.P sweet Bloody shank

1 Comment
22 1984 - George Orwell

Why is this #31?!?! I can't believe it! This book is the most depressing book I have ever read! I started crying at the end, and it made me so scared of the future... Trust me, this is one of the best books ever written.

I agree,the ending was devastating,the fate of humanity in the parties hand,the torture put forward to mark,I...l was really shocked at the end,this is one of the best books I have ever read - Toucan

23 A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer

This book is sadder than any of these books! It is about a boy who is abused by his mother I cannot say anything else as it would announce spoilers but believe me just read it!

This book is easily one of the most depressing works I've ever read. True story or not, I still cried a pail of tears over David's hardships.

Oh my god this book was so sad and the 2 other books after it got me right in the heart

Not the saddest but still pretty sad

24 The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

The first bit alone says the main character's parents are dead. It gets worse from there.

This is my favorite book ever but it's so sad

Stay pony gold boy

Here's a few reasons:
Nothing gold can stay
Johnny - AnonymousChick

25 Les Miserables

One of the saddest books to ever be written... Just an incredible story!

Literally the saddest book that I have ever read. So many emotional parts!

I've only seen the movie, but it was so emotional that I couldn't stop thinking about it for days afterward. And while it is incredibly sad, it is also inspiring and hopeful at the same time. I have the book on hold, and I look forward to reading it. - SassyEquine

26 A Monster Calls

We read this book and class and the teacher was reading it aloud, and almost 3/4 of the class was crying and the rest were welling up. The teacher could barely read!

This book will make you cry and cry and cry and cry until your eyes literally dry up, and your tear ducts shrink. seriously... why has nobody commented on this yet?!

27 Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

Finnick's death just rocks me every time. I don't know why but his death hit me so much harder than Prim's did.

This is an excellent that brings me tears every time I flip through its well-written pages. Thank you Suzanne Collins for the great story.

I have read this book fifteen times cover to cover and I cry EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Finnick and Prim and I might as well throw in Peeta because he'll never recover from what the capitol did to him and holy crap this series was awesome and tragic and I loved every second of the journey. - SassyEquine

Made me cry when buttercup and katniss are mourning prim.

28 Out of My Mind - Sharon M. Draper

This is so sad when the team leaves her behind

29 Freak the Mighty

I was like, what? Why would they have such a book to re aloud in school?

This is the saddest book I've ever read.

I read it for a novel study and a young kid dies.

30 All of My Friends are Dead
31 The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett

It goes well with the mini series and if you have read the book, the films probably will bring a tear to your eyes too.

32 Champion - Marie Lu


33 If I Stay - Gayle Forman

A very sad book, made me wonder what I would've done if I was put in the same situation as her.

34 The Art of Racing In the Rain - Garth Stein

Very sad... You get so connected to Enzo and his family and then poof it's gone... But I treasure those hours

This is my favorite book, and it never fails to make me cry. - Rottenboy22

35 Looking for Alaska - John Green

This book was immensely sad... Why is it not ranked higher?

I've never cried this much during a book

How is this only 43? in my opinion it was a lot better than tfios and I cried a lot harder in looking for Alaska

36 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

I know that Old Yeller is supposed to be sad, but but it wasn't enough to make me cry. But when I read the scene when Katniss and Buttercup cry together, it broke my heart. The whole reason Katniss entered the Hunger Games as a tribute was to save Prim... It was so sad...

Prim and Finnick die. Why did I have to put this up this should be number 1 already

37 Stone Fox

This one should be closer to the top ten in my opinion. Willy's dying grandfather reminds me of my grandfather who died, but I didn't even know he existed until after his death. I wish I could've met him, seen him, or heard his voice.

Very sad book about Little Willy, Grandfather, and their dog Searchlight. - littlestpetpet41813

38 We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

The end was really depressing and I cried a lot

I had a deep sadness after reading it

39 Wuthering Heights

Wow... A list about depressing books and Wuthering Heights is ranked last -,- What is wrong with you people?

Basically depressing and shows the dark side of humanity without resorting to Sci-Fi plots

40 The Bad Beginning - Daniel Handler

This is the saddest book in the galaxy! It made me wanna cry so much I felt like throwing it in the fire!

I just read this for the second time yesterday, I loved the series but I think this book just wasn’t to sad. The 13 book should be in this place though but maybe like #20 instead cause that one was sad... SPOILER ALERT 🚨 the saddest part was when Olaf died... why can’t the bad guy win for once

41 She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
42 The Giver - Lois Lowry

This book is so not sad.

A sad book but not as sad as tfious

43 The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
44 A Walk to Remember - Nicholas Sparks

It starts with him reminiscing the past in such an uplifting way that you let your guard down, and before you know it your crying buckets 3/4th the way. Such a bittersweet story I loved it to death

Why isn't it on the list? It is the paragon for "sad" books. Who could forget Landon's love for Jamie? Jamie's death isn't fictional. It could happen to anyone which makes it 100x more sad. I'm not gonna be a spoiler but this book is beyond perfect. If you haven't read it, read it. If you have, then read it again and vote if you agree with this.

45 A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway

One of those books that stays with you. Undoubtedly a downer but the emotion that Hemingway pulls from the reader makes AFTA a true masterpiece.

46 Ostrich Boys - Keith Gray

I was actually teary as I read the ending. And I never had that with anything else I've read, any songs I've read or any films I've seen, no matter how sad. This book at the end really got to me. - PositronWildhawk

47 What the Dog Said - Randi Reisfeld

This book was super sad. It may not sound very sad and at first I found it more funny than depressing... but I learned to love the book.

I loved the main character Grace from the very start. She was going through the loss of her father. My parents are alive, so I wasn't really able to relate to her. But then I started to like her a lot. Especially the other main character, the dog Rex who started talking to her and helping her understand who killed her father. In the end, when Grace figures out who killed her dad it's right around the time when she has to give away Rex who she's been training as a service dog. I cried so much when she had to let him go... It was devastating. This book was beautiful and sad and it deserves higher up on the list.

48 The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo

Extremely sad book... And very well written also!

49 The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

One of the saddest books I've EVER read

50 Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

It was so sad.
Think of everything the sister could've been. She was so smart. I cried.

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List StatsUpdated 21 Oct 2019

700 votes
70 listings
6 years, 30 days old

Top Remixes

1. Night - Elie Wiesel
2. Old Yeller - Fred Gipson
3. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
1. Old Yeller - Fred Gipson
2. Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls
3. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green


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