The Dark Light by Mette Newth – What’s amazing about this book about a teen with leprosy is not how heart-wrenching it is, but how hopeful at the same time.
Winnie’s War by Jenny Moss – The effect of the Spanish Flu on a girl, her family, friends, and town — no punches pulled. If you’re not tearing up by the end, you’re a stronger reader than I.
Crash Into Me by Albert Borris – Four teens attempting to flee their troubled pasts in the most permanent of ways. Just try not to be touched by Owen’s conflicted emotions.
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner – Not a sad book by any means, but watching Gianna and her family come to terms with her grandmother’s failing health got me teary-eyed more than once.
Taylor Five by Ann Halam – When I hit a certain point halfway through, I almost started bawling right there on the subway. Not for the faint of heart (though I promise it does get happier again).