Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]

Posted February 27, 2019 by Under the Covers Book Blog in Front Page, Top Ten, Under the Covers / 7 Comments

There are few things I love more than a story that can rip my heart out and stomp on it a few times.  Whether that be in book or movie form, I always seek out ugly cry stories.  Granted I have to be in the mood for it, but I crave this feeling.  Does that make me a masochist?  I think it’s so impressive when an author can draw out that much emotion from me about fictional characters and situations.  The harder the author crushes my heart, the better!

A few years ago we did one of these top tens and we thought it was time to talk about more books that are ready to rip your heart out.  Check out our first Ugly Cry top ten here.  This was a little hard to keep to a top ten so we have 11 books to talk about (had to give you a bonus!)  Also, just know that as much as we tried to put these in some sort of order, they are all going to break your heart just the same.  So the number they are on this list is kind of irrelevant.  If you’re ready to be gutted and destroyed… keep on reading!  Pick up any of these (or the ones from the previous top ten).  And have your box of tissues handy when starting them.  Maybe also make sure you have some emotional support ready because you will probably need it.  Let’s get started!

 

…..BONUS…..

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Standalone

Wait.  What do you mean Evelyn Hugo is a bonus!?  Well, you may already know that this is one of my all time favorite books.  Evelyn Hugo is one of my all time favorite fictional characters.  I recommend this always.  I almost felt redundant adding it here because this book has a chance of making an appearance in a lot of different types of lists so I wanted to make sure I talked about the ones that may not appear as often elsewhere.  BUT, I had to make sure I gave this book a not because… it destroyed me.  In all the best of ways.

HEA? This is a women’s fiction / historical fiction novel.  Not a romance, although romance features throughout the book.  And ultimately, there is no HEA.

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

BOOK INFO


Released: June 13th 2017
Published by Atria Books
Pages: 352
 

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

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Bright Side
by Kim Holden
Bright Side #1

When I picked up this book, I did it with the knowledge that it would devastate me.  That’s exactly why people recommended it to me.  I didn’t read it as soon as it came out and I went into it a bit hesitant already because of the hype.  Let me assure you, this was one of my ugliest cries.  Kim Holden didn’t care one bit for what was happening to my heart.  And I loved every second of it.  It was beautifully done!  And that’s all I’ll say because I don’t want to ruin the book for you.  Just experience it.

HEA? I think it’s just the honest thing to tell you you won’t find an HEA so try and look at this not as a romance and more as a new adult women’s fiction novel.  Is that a thing?

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
Bright Side
by Kim Holden

BOOK INFO


Released: July 4th 2014
Series: Bright Side #1
Published by Self Published
Pages: 423
 

Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you ...
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

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The Sweet Gum Tree
by Katherine Allred
Standalone

I read this book a few years ago and it had been on my TBR for a few years before that.  I had seen good reviews for it but honestly I kept putting off reading it because it had an awful cover (it’s since been redone).  This is a second chance romance and a story that spans 26 years.  We start out meeting the main couple when they were just kids and the friendship and connection that bonds them.  Then life throws everything it can at them until they finally come back together all this time later.  Sounds simple, right?  There’s nothing simple about this romance and it’s one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching romances you’ll read.  But one you won’t want to miss.

HEA? Rest assured you’ll find a happily ever after here!

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
The Sweet Gum Tree
by Katherine Allred

BOOK INFO


Released: May 12th 2005
Published by Self Published
Pages: 259
 

Sweet tea, corn bread and soup beans; everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both their lives forever. Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.

Suddenly, Nick is gone, leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she’s content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He’s back, and he’s not alone. Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

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A Thousand Boy Kisses
by Tillie Cole
Standalone

This book was insane. I cried ALL the tears reading this. Tillie Cole gleefully plucked at your heartstrings untill you were broken down shell of a reader. Well kind of. Although I had a few issues with some aspects of this book, it was a bittersweet love story and a must read if you enjoy the experience of having your heart pulled out through your eyeballs.

HEA? ….. In a way? [but not really]

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
A Thousand Boy Kisses
by Tillie Cole

BOOK INFO


Released: March 15th 2016
Published by Self Published
 

One kiss lasts a moment.
But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.

One boy.
One girl.
A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade.
A bond that neither time nor distance can break.
A bond that will last forever.
Or so they believe.
When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?
Rune’s heart was broken three years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

Standalone Young Adult Tearjerker Romance.

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Undeserving
by Madeline Sheehan
Undeniable #6

Here’s the thing with this book.  I clearly knew before starting this wouldn’t have an HEA.  See, this book is about the father of the heroine in the first book of this series.  Her mom was never in the picture.  So you know going into it that this romance ends tragically somehow.  That didn’t stop me from reading it.  And it didn’t stop me from making this one of the most broken but memorable rides I’d been on.  Preacher is now an old man, dying of cancer, and is time for him to tell his daughter the story about her mom.  The reason why she never knew him to find love with another woman.  And it makes me sad thinking about this book again.  Life and circumstances were just not kind to these two people but their love wasn’t any less strong because of that.  And you may think why couldn’t things have turned out differently?  They could’ve!  It’s so unfair.  Am I making any sense?  No, I know I’m not.  If you’re ready for a grittier book than most on this list, this is the one for you.  If you’re a Sons of Anarchy fan, this is the book for you.  And this can be read as a standalone since we are going back in time.

HEA? I answered that already.

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
Undeserving
by Madeline Sheehan

BOOK INFO


Released: July 2, 2017
Series: Undeniable #5
Published by Self Published
Pages: 341
 

Warning: This isn’t a romance, but instead a tale of love between two despairing people, from two different worlds, both aching for something more.

Debbie Reynolds is a runaway, New York City-bound. Living on the road comes with many challenges—fighting for her next meal, seeking safe places to sleep, and dodging men with less than honorable intentions, all while searching for meaning in a life she finds painful and pointless.

Damon “Preacher” Fox, vice president of the Silver Demons Motorcycle Club, has been in prison for club-related crimes. As his release draws near, he begins to reevaluate his choices in life, realizing that if he stays with the club, this won’t be his last stint behind bars. Suddenly Preacher finds himself doubting everything he’s ever known, wishing for a life beyond the club.

When Preacher and Debbie’s paths cross, they find in each other a sense of peace they had been lacking. But life is about to catch up with Preacher, and Debbie, desperate to keep the one person who’s ever shown her any kindness, finds herself caught between forces far deadlier and more powerful than she could have ever imagined.

This is Debbie and Preacher’s story.

At the end, we should all go back to the beginning,
if only to remind ourselves that we once lived.

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It Ends with Us
by Colleen Hoover
Standalone

This may be the most thought provoking book on this list.  It breaks your heart while making you question your own decisions in the circumstances this book presents.  That’s a testament to how well the author crafted this story because I went into it knowing the main subject matter (domestic violence) and having my own very strong opinions about where I stand and what my reactions would be if I ever found myself in this situation.  Yet, this book made me understand the other side of the coin.  It’s one of my favorite Hoover books because it left me raw.

HEA? Yes, you’ll find one here.  Even though this is a book that straddles the contemporary romance and women’s fiction line quite a bit.

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
It Ends with Us
by Colleen Hoover

BOOK INFO


Released: August 2nd 2016
Published by Atria Books
 

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up. She graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant and has a total soft spot for Lily; and the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his no dating rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan, her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all too human characters, “It Ends with Us” is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

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Transcendence
by Shay Savage
Transcendence #1

I put off reading this book for a long time because I had been told it was a tearjerker. But a time travel caveman romance? There’s only so long I can put destiny on hold. Have you ever cried because a scene was so breathtaking and beautiful and touching and happy and sad and ALL THE EMOTIONS? That’s what happened here. And I highly recommend giving this book a try, it’s a truly unique and wonderful read.

HEA?  You betcha!

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
Transcendence
by Shay Savage

BOOK INFO


Released: February 13th 2014
Series: Transcendence #1
Published by Self Published
Pages: 312
 

It’s said that women and men are from two different planets when it comes to communication, but how can they overcome the obstacles of prehistoric times when one of them simply doesn’t have the ability to comprehend language?

Ehd’s a caveman living on his own in a harsh wilderness. He’s strong and intelligent, but completely alone. When he finds a beautiful young woman in his pit trap, it’s obvious to him that she is meant to be his mate. He doesn’t know where she came from; she’s wearing some pretty odd clothing, and she makes a lot of noises with her mouth that give him a headache. Still, he’s determined to fulfill his purpose in life – provide for her, protect her, and put a baby in her.

Elizabeth doesn’t know where she is or exactly how she got there. She’s confused and distressed by her predicament, and there’s a caveman hauling her back to his cavehome. She’s not at all interested in Ehd’s primitive advances, and she just can’t seem to get him to listen. No matter what she tries, getting her point across to this primitive, but beautiful, man is a constant – and often hilarious – struggle.

With only each other for company, they must rely on one another to fight the dangers of the wild and prepare for the winter months. As they struggle to coexist, theirs becomes a love story that transcends language and time.

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All Your Perfects
by Colleen Hoover
Standalone

Two Colleen Hoover books in one list?  Why, yes.  I couldn’t pick just one!  I have a weird relationship with books by this author because generally they don’t ALL work for me.  When it comes to her writing real subjects with real adults, I think she excels.  That emotion when she digs deep into human interactions is what I think she does best.  And making the reader connect to it.  This book explores a troubled marriage and one issue that is a heavy emotional subject for many people.  It showed this as the toll it takes on an individual as well as the relationship.  There’s a lot of happy, but a lot more sad.  The balance in which this book delivers both of those is so perfectly done to keep you from breaking down while reading it.  It keeps you with hope.  And as much as it tore me to pieces, it also built me back up.

HEA? Has Colleen ever done a book that doesn’t have on in some way?  This is definitely another one that straddles that contemporary romance and women’s fiction line.

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
All Your Perfects
by Colleen Hoover

BOOK INFO


Released: July 17th 2018
Pages: 320
 

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

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The Shadows
by J.R. Ward
Black Dagger Brotherhood #13

To say this book devastated me is a huge understatement. J.R. Ward grabbed my heart, ripped it out my chest and then did a tap dance. Deep breathing exercises and lots of chocolate were needed before I could function like a normal human being again. But I loved it. The Shadows is a controversial book, Ward did some things that not every one who follows this series liked. I can see why. This book isn’t the romance you are expecting. But, it’s still beautiful and any book that gets me to well up just thinking about it deserves a spot on this list.

HEA? … yes and no.

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
The Shadows
by J.R. Ward

BOOK INFO


Released: March 31st 2015
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Published by Signet
Pages: 590
 

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

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What the Wind Knows
by Amy Harmon
Standalone

Time travel romance with the beautiful backdrop of the early 1920s in Scotland?  Yes, please!  With Amy Harmon’s beautiful and lyrical writing on top of that?  OMG!!  Amy Harmon is definitely one of my favorite authors and I could’ve also mentioned at least 4 other of her books off the top of my head on this list that devastated me before building me back up.  This being the most recent.  There’s something magical about this story and the way the time travel and cycle of life is depicted.  And the romance filled me with joy.  It’s understatedly beautiful.

HEA? Don’t worry, I don’t think Amy Harmon has ever left us hanging without one and this is not where she starts!  At least you know that going into her books. *fingers crossed that continues to be the case*

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
What the Wind Knows
by Amy Harmon

BOOK INFO


Released: March 1st 2019
 

In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

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Next Year in Havana
by Chanel Cleeton
Standalone

Chanel Cleeton is another one of those authors that could’ve made multiple appearances on this list.  Her books, whether she’s writing straight romance or in this case historical fiction with a heavy side dose of romance, are always full of emotion.  Emotions can be messy and she’s had me reaching for the tissue box on multiple occasions.  But never one quite like this one.  NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA is full of heart and you can feel that whether she’s walking you through mid-1950s Havana or seeing the same place through today’s eyes.  The dual timelines give you completely different emotions, both will reach deep into your heart and stomp on it a few times.  You’ll be wrecked in the best of ways and maybe even take a few days to recover.

HEA? Like I said, this is not necessarily a romance although it does have a romance and an HEA to satisfy the romance readers.

Top Ten Ugly Cry Books [2.0]
Next Year in Havana
by Chanel Cleeton

BOOK INFO


Released: February 6 2018
Published by Berkley
 

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

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 What are your favorite tearjerkers?

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Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I did cry at the shadows. My biggest tearjerkers that I can recall are a summer to die by lois lowry and the fault in our stars by john green.

Sophia Rose
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Sophia Rose

Welp, to speak truth, I am generally the type to not just walk, but throw up my hands and run as fast as I can from tearjerkers. But, that said, I’ve read several that were some of my all-time favorite books. From your list, The Shadows and Next Year in Havana did make me cry. Oh boy, I have Sweet Gum Tree and Transcendence on my TBR pile still to read. Now, as to others, I haven’t read any of the Madeline Sheehans, but I did read a Kim Jones’ MC romance duology and the first book, Sinner’s Creed, gutted… Read more »

Kathy Valentine
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Kathy Valentine

The Shadows by JR Ward was so heart wrenching!! I cried like a baby though most of this book!!! Great list ladies!! Shared on my socials!😉💖

Timitra
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Timitra

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre and The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros

Joy Yeager
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Joy Yeager

Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid and A Broken Us by Amy Daws

Amy R
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Amy R

I try to avoid tearjerkers but on that stuck with me is Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

Nicole Davis
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Nicole Davis

You have to add Heartbreak Warfare ( Kate Stewart and Heather Oregon) Loved this book!!!! All the feels