The best books to make you ugly cry

The Books I Picked & Why

All the Bright Places

By Jennifer Niven

Book cover of All the Bright Places

Why this book?

All The Bright Places is about a girl who learns she wants to live from a boy who wants to die. I love this book because it digs deeply into the reality of mental illness and how hard one must work when dealing with it. As someone who has depression, I could see myself in the main characters. I could relate to their struggles. And on top of that, it’s a powerful love story. There is a lot to feel with this book, and you will be shattered. But also put back together. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

By Adib Khorram

Book cover of Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Why this book?

Darius the Great Is Not Okay also deals with depression, not only in the main character, but his father as well. It navigates the relationship between a son and a parent dealing with mental illness, while also dealing with family and the expectations and emotions around that. In addition, Darius is Persian and queer, which gives a different perspective on mental illness from a cultural standpoint. It’s a beautiful, well-written, and intentional story, and you will love it.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

By Angelo Surmelis

Book cover of The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Why this book?

The Dangerous Art of Blending In is about Evan, who is trying to figure out his place in the world. He has a strict (read: abusive) Greek immigrant mother, a father who works works works, and he is struggling with his sexuality and the boy he kissed over the summer. Evan’s been silent about so much all this time, that it’s now time for him to find and use his voice. And he does so in such a beautiful and inspiring way. This book will make you feel so many things. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Darius the Great Deserves Better

By Adib Khorram

Book cover of Darius the Great Deserves Better

Why this book?

Since Darius came back from Iran, he is getting along with his dad, his depression seems to be managed, he has a best friend, and he’s dating a cute boy. But of course, things start changing. He’s not sure if his family, who is important to him, accepts him as he is. His best friend is distant. He doesn’t know if his boyfriend is The One. This book is an exploration through a lot of feelings, and what I can’t stop thinking about is how often Darius talks about crying. Males crying should be normalized, as it’s a valid response, and seeing a male come to terms with that and being so outspoken about it is so refreshing and one of the reasons I love this book so much.

In addition, I know as a person with depression, my self-esteem isn’t the best. Sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve good things. Seeing a character with depression realizes he deserves more is a beautiful thing.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Giver

By Lois Lowry

Book cover of The Giver

Why this book?

The Giver is about Jonah, who lives in what he thinks is the perfect world. When children turn 12, they come of age, and are given the occupation they will be doing for the rest of their productive lives. Some become caregivers. Some do labor. But Jonah becomes The Receiver, the most important job, according to their society. But Jonah learns that things are not what they seemed, and the revelations are shocking.

When I tell you I wept the first time I read this book, I’m not lying. I had no idea of what was to come, but the revelations piled on and on and on, and wow. This is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s beautifully written and so visual. And it will definitely make you ugly cry.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists