Top Ten Soul-Crushing Books I’ve Read

It’s time for another Top Ten post, and once again I am doing one on books. Are you surprised? If you know me and my relationship with books, then you probably aren’t, haha! Anyway, I might have done something like this in the past, but my choices have probably changed now that I’ve read so many sad books, you know? I’m just a glutton for punishment, y’all. Let’s get into it! MAJOR Spoiler Warnings!

10. The Arc of a Scythe by Neal Shusterman

I honestly wasn’t sure whether I wanted this on the list or not, but here it is, haha! When I say The Arc of a Scythe, I mean all the books in the trilogy. They’re just collectively soul-crushing! By itself, they aren’t really that bad, but when combined, there were times I had to sit there and cry for a while. I mean, there’s everything that happened at the end of Thunderhead, and then the monstrosity that was The Toll. Everything with Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie did NOT help my emotions. All in all, I decided it probably belonged on this list!

9. Wax & Wayne by Brandon Sanderson

As you might know if you read by What I Read… posts during the summer, you know these books ripped my heart out. Particularly the last two! Everything that went down with Waxilium and his late wife was one thing, but then the drama that happened in Shadows of Self just made it a thousand times worse. And don’t even get me started on the part in The Bands of Mourning when Wayne though Wax had died, so he goes out for revenge! TEARS people, TEARS! Some part of me feels like this should be higher on the list, but I decided to leave it here for now (and let’s pretend Mistborn is paired with it, because those books are JUST as bad…)

8. The Siren by Kiera Cass

I read this book some time ago on vacation, and I spent most of the time reading it crying. A lot goes down in the book, but it has a trope at the very in that I DESPISE. When I’m shipping two characters, it really irks me when one of them loses their memory, and therefore can’t remember who they love! It just…UGH! So yeah, this book was kind of traumatic!

7. Legend Series by Mariu Lu

Remember how I said I hated it when two characters love each other, then one loses their memory? EXCUSE ME MARIE LU, BUT WHAT? This series is by far the worst in regards to that trope. Reading these books got me out of a reading slump, and I couldn’t put them down. I was super invested in June and Day’s story, so when it revealed that Day had a tumor in his head, I thoroughly lost it. I can’t express how much I wanted these two to be together, but something was always there to drive them apart! So when I get to the last book, Champion, I’m out in public reading when I reach THAT awful part. I admit I cried in public, because I have no shame. I will say that the fourth book, Rebel, made things a bit better (I mean, a LOT better), but this series will go down as one of the saddest series I’ve ever read, and not just because of that traumatizing trope!

6. They Went Left by Monica Hesse

I think this book was the first time I ever skipped a part because I couldn’t stomach it. The entire time, the main character is searching for her brother after the events of World War II. Her family was sent to concentration camps for being Jews, so we can already tell from the get-go that things are going to be sad. But books like these aren’t sad, because they are events that actually took place. That just makes it much worse! So at the end of this, I literally skipped a whole part when I realized what was going to happen, because it is AWFUL. Read at your own risk…

5. Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

I debated on whether or not this book should be this high on the list, but as I remembered everything that happens in it, it absolutely belongs here! I read this book with my sister back in high school, and both of us cried literally every time we continued reading it. Nothing ever went right for the main characters, and the whole thing with the older brother who died was really well written (in which I mean it was written in just the right way to hit you in the feels). Also, what happens to Jolene is just unforgivable! Just a sad book all around!

4. Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano

THIS BOOK! If you read my What I Read… post back whenever that was, then you know this book made me sob. And I wasn’t alone when I sobbed, either. I was in front of my family! I have to laugh, because I was just sitting there having a meltdown, and everyone was just kindly ignoring me (because they knew what the heck was up!). The book was so well-written and made me love the characters instantly. I already knew it was going to be a rough one since it is a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but I wasn’t expecting it to be that bad. And it wasn’t even the two main characters I was crying about that one time! Woody dying just really did me in for this one, because he was pretty much my favorite from the get-go. I actually have a tiny hamster doll named after him (because I cope with sad things by naming inanimate objects after the characters I like…). This is what my life has been reduced to, haha!

3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

This one was a rough one, kind of like They Went Left. This book is #3 because the author really didn’t sugarcoat things. She told it like it was, and I have to respect that, because that had to have been difficult. This book was disturbing, and sometimes I had to put it down for a while to process everything that was happening. That this is a true story really made me have to sit back and think about how humans can be so evil. I recommend this book, because I feel like it is a necessary thing to read. But just be prepared!

2. The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

I read this as a kid, and ended up reading it every time Christmas came around. Which turned out to be a bad idea, because I hate being depressed during the holidays, haha! I’m kind of surprised this book made it up so high on the list, but it’s where it belongs. It’s a quick read, and everything that happens in it just really bums me out. Yes, it ends good (most of the books on this list do), but still…geez. Read this book! Just not near Christmas if you get depressed easy…

1. Lovely War by Julie Berry

Where do I even start with this book? It seemed like every time I opened this one to continue reading it I would automatically start crying. And when I made my sister read it, she cried. Then I made my Nana read it and she cried, too! I literally had to convince them both not to put it down! It’s just that upsetting! But as sad as it is, it is the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. The romance is the sweetest thing ever (even though it is the source of most of the grief). I would really love to see this made into a movie if it ever got into the right hands! PLEASE do yourself a favor and read this book! Just, you know, make sure you have your tissues ready.

That’s all of them! I actually had a hard time making this list, which is why it took so long to get posted! But here it is! What are your thoughts on it? Do you have your own list of soul-crushing books? Let me know in the comments below!

And as always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful week!

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