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Deeply Emotional Books to Read

Updated: Jan 13

Books have the power to take us on a journey to places we've never been and make us feel things we never thought possible. Generating a kaleidoscope of emotions including happiness, fear, love, or heartbreak, books have the unique ability to tap into our emotions and transport us to another world. We can experience situations through vividly crafted storylines and well developed characters.

This blog will explore deeply emotional books that have the power to tug at your heartstrings, make you think, and stay with you long after you've turned the final page. As such, these books are not for the faint of heart, but for those who are willing to delve deep into the human experience and come out the other side feeling changed. Get ready to grab a box of tissues and join us on this emotional journey.

Silhouette of a sad, young woman sitting alone on a dock as the sunset illuminates the water behind her.
Books To Read When You Need a Good Cry

Deeply Emotional Books to Read

Artistic view of handwritten letters

Pack up the Moon by Kristan Higgins - I loved this book! Lauren and Josh are a great couple and really well developed characters. The book goes back and forth in time from when they first met to after Lauren died of a terminal illness. When Lauren realized that her time on earth was limited, she began to write Josh letters to be opened after her death with tasks to help restore his happiness. She knew he'd need her guidance and support when she was gone, and through the letters, she was able to be there for him.

This book personally touched my heart. Prior to having major brain surgery a decade ago, I wrote letters to my family. I wasn't going to take a chance on leaving them without one more opportunity to say how much I loved them in the event that i didn't pull through the surgery. I've held on to those letters and this book made me appreciate all of the "extra" time that I've been given that wasn't guaranteed.

I had free flowing tears, lots of smiles, and felt a general sense of love and warmth with this book even though the subject is based around her death. Truly, it was a feel good book putting life in perspective.

Early evening sky with fireflies

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah is a heartwarming novel that a friend recommended years ago. I loved every minute of reading it! Based around a friendship that spans several decades, it illustrates the love, drama, fun, laughter, and sadness shared among best friends. I laughed, I cried, I even remember where I was as I plowed through the last few chapters with emotions overflowing.

The story is set in the 1970s and follows Tully and Kate as they grow up together in the Pacific Northwest and navigate through their teenage years. As they enter adulthood, they face different challenges and make different choices, taking two polar opposite roads. Tully chases fame, Kate looks for the secure family structure and lifestyle.

Their friendship is tested on several occasions, and there are times when the two take are estranged for lengths at a time. But deep down, their friendship cannot be denied.

This is the perfect book to buddy read with your best friend or with a book club!

Personal watercraft lit up at night in ocean

The Wish by Nicholas Sparks. I've always been a fan of Nicholas Sparks, never disappointed by a book yet. This is a new favorite of mine from him.

Maggie spent some time living with her Aunt Linda after a life changing mistake back in the 1990's. She was a pregnant teenager, and had been sent away from her family when she started showing to hide the pregnancy and have the baby adopted. At first, the small town was hardly where this 15 year old wanted to be. Months later, and she had a growing fondness of the place and had made friends with Bryce, her tutor for her at home education. Bryce shared with her his passion for photography and Maggie embraced it as her own skills expanded.

Fast forward to 2019 and Maggie is a very successful photographer with a gallery. Her health is failing and she hires a young man named Mark to tend to much of her professional gallery needs. He's there for her in a very gentle manner, the shoulder that she needs.

I was completely not expecting the twist at the end!

Drawing of yellow mansion on large rolling hills

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a deeply touching love story, with a very controversial topic (that also makes it a great selection for a book club read as this has so many discussion areas.

Louisa ("Lou") is down on her luck with finding employment. She learns of a job as a caregiver to Will Turner, a quadriplegic, and accepts the position. Will has a medical caregiver that handles some of his needs, but Lou is hired for companionship and to help bring him joy. This is not the easiest of tasks as Will is a very grumpy young man - as one would expect. He had spent the greater part of his life living it up with extreme sports and the heartthrob of the community until his accident.

The assignment is short term, and when Lou grasps the reason why, she puts up a good fight to change the course. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but this is the controversial part. Jojo Moyes writes it with great dialogue showing both sides of the story, allowing the reader to become educated and open their eyes to the full impact of everyone involved in similar situations.

I don't know how I missed it, but this book is now a movie! Looks like I know what I'm watching tonight :) Also, if you like this book, be aware that it is the first of the Me Before You Trilogy.

Top of a puppy dogs head

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is another touching book that was turned into a movie (this one I HAVE seen and loved it as much as the book!). I originally borrowed it from a friend and my son read it first, devouring it it two reading sessions. Great story and such an interesting perspective being told from the dog's point of view.

Enzo (the dog) comes into Denny's life and they are a perfect fit. Denny is a race car driver and the book draws on many parallels between life and racing. Enzo feels human in his narration, making the reader laugh and cry.

Denny falls in love with Eve and she also takes to Enzo. There are lots of rollercoaster moments in the relationship and Enzo is there the whole time, wiser than many humans.

Please note that one of the primary triggers occurs right in the beginning as the book opens up with Enzo's last moments. This is tough for anyone that has lost a pet and makes you appreciate all of the time that you had with them.

Kid with red rain boots jumping in a puddle

A Life Without Water by Marci Bolden is a fictional book that dives into how different people process their situations and handle grief. I appreciated the unique perspectives and it certainly roped me in. My eyes were wet with tears for the last three chapters.

Be aware that the triggers for this book are around the fact that this about the death of a child. The heartache around the situation was enough to cause an irreversible rift in the marriage, leading John and Caroline to divorce. He stayed in the house and eventually sobers up, she moved on and married a wonderful man

Twenty years later, John is very sick and asks for her help in gaining closure over the situation by spreading their daughters ashes together. The journey is very healing for both of them.

And although I've never been in this situation, I imagine this book may resonate with someone that has lost a child or spouse.


I hope that you have a chance to read these deeply emotional books. Sometimes, it just feels right to curl up with a good book and have a good cry!

Need a Movie Idea for Date Night?

As you may have noticed, many of the books mentioned above have also entertained the masses by having been turned into cinematic features. Are you interested in discovering more books to read before date night/ movie night? Check out these Books to Read Before Watching the Movie.

More Book Recommendations!

Looking for the perfect way to keep track of your reading?

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Sep 03, 2023

Thank you for these book recommendations! I am very much intrigued by "The Wish" by Nicholas Sparks - I wanna know what's the twist you're talking about haha


May 30, 2023

I love new book recommendations. I think I am most excited to read A Life Without Water.

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