Culture

The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written 

Ranker Books
Originally by
Updated June 8, 2019 23.8k votes 2.7k voters 91.4k views 117 items

List Rules Vote up any good, very sad tearjerker books that make you cry.

This list is about the most heartbreaking novels ever written; it answers the question, “What are the saddest books of all time?” If you’ve ever read one of these tear-jerkers, you know that these sad stories will tug on your heart strings in a way that no other novel can.  The best sad stories like this will warm even the coldest of hearts! We’ve all felt the pain of loss, the agony of heartbreak and the joy of falling in love: we all relate to sad stories. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter provides us with a sense of empathy for an underdog, a woman that is forced to wear her sins on her sleeve for the world to see. Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting pulls on that secret place deep down in each of us that longs for love to never end, but teaches us that what seems like a blessing to us now may be a curse in the future. Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha shows us how life can be in another part of the world, moving us from our self-centered perspectives about life into a compassion for those less fortunate. These stories mold us into who we are and show us where we came from. Most importantly, these novels teach us that we’re not as different as we may think.
list ordered by
1
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
John Steinbeck
2
Where the Red Fern Grows... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
3
Charlotte's Web is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
E. B. White
4
Old Yeller is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Fred Gipson
5
Bridge to Terabithia is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Donna Diamond, Katherine Paterson
6
Flowers for Algernon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
carlybobarly added Daniel Keyes
7
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
but chickens double d added S. E. Hinton
8
The Fault in Our Stars ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
9
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
10
The Kite Runner is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Khaled Hosseini
11
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Victor Hugo
12
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Markus Zusak
13
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
stubb added George Orwell
14
The Giver is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Lois Lowry
15
Harry Potter and the Dea... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
16
The Lovely Bones is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Alice Sebold
17
My Sister's Keeper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Jodi Picoult
18
The Notebook is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Nicholas Sparks
19
Black Beauty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Anna Sewell
20
A Walk to Remember is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Nicholas Sparks
21
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
George Orwell
22
The Little Prince is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
punksnotdead added Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
23
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
William Golding
24
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Garvin added Ian McEwan
25
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written
Aldous Huxley