Discussion Post- If a book makes you ugly cry do you rate it higher?

This was me the other night:


This emotional outburst led to this tweet:


I was surprised by the level of response I got-so many people weighed in and said that yes, ugly crying equals at least half a star or more. If a book can bring about that much emotion then it is worth a higher rating. This is pretty obvious, but I’d not really thought about it until I read The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst. I’d heard nothing about the book and lucked into an ARC. I didn’t expect to get emotionally involved like I did but by the end I was ugly crying. I felt pretty shocked that I was affected so strongly. Yes, there were early signs in the book that something sad might happen but I didn’t think I’d be completely hit upside the head with the feels.

Beyond just tears, so many of you replied that any big emotional response upped your rating. I wondered, even if you see some major flaws in the book do you stick with the higher rating because of the feels? This goes into a past discussion I did about how you rate but I just got to thinking about it all again and wondered about your opinions.


Also, I’d love to hear about a book that made you have all the feels: happy, sad, whatever.


  1. says

    I have to agree, if I a book makes me extra emotional and makes cry and laugh… I’m quite likely to add extra stars because I connected with it and dragged all the feelings from me! From the books that had me with quite strong emotional responses during my vacation I have to name two: Mortal Gods cause the final chapters were a serious shock after another that had me gasping out loud and Liars INC that had me bitting my nails turning pages, even if neither of them made me ugly cry even if I might have sniffed on occasion!

    • says

      Mortal Gods was SO GOOD. I love Kendare’s writing style…so vivid and she always has that bit of cleverness to it. It is pretty rare that I ugly cry in a book but when I do…it gets noticed for sure.

  2. says

    This is such a good topic! I can say that usually if a book really makes me feel, makes me cry, basically gives me all the feels, then I think I do rate it higher because an author getting me that emotionally invested takes skills. 🙂 I think a half a star is good place to start when debating how much higher of a rating a book would get if it makes you ugly cry.

  3. says

    Yes! If a book can make get me emotionally sucked in and then has me ugly-crying and walking around like a zombie for a while, it is definitely getting an extra star. (This just happened to me this past weekend reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – so this topic has been on my mind all week!) To me, it is obvious that the authors writing, characters, story-telling, everything! was perfect! I usually don’t find any flaws. However, I sometimes wonder if I were to re-read the book, would I find flaws? I’m familiar with the story now and can probably keep my emotions in check, will I find things I don’t like? This is why I’m afraid to re-read these kinds of books. I don’t want to ruin my initial reaction/memory… but?
    Great post!

    • says

      I’ve been told to read A Monster Calls and hearing that it zombie-fied you speaks highly. I’ll have to make time for it sooner than later. I’m with you on the rereading thing. I wouldn’t want to ruin that perfect emotional upheaval achieved with the first read.

  4. Kat V says

    Yep, I totally agree. If a book can get through to me and pull on my strings I tend to rate the book higher and also think more highly of the book. A good example for me would be Tell The Wolves I’m Home.

  5. says

    I’ve been told that i am a habitual ugly crier. This led me to carefully school myself in the art of the silent tear. Now if there is water works at all it usually mean I heart it already so i guess that would mean yes. The hubby and my son would always get so concerned since it happens so often i would always get a “Whats wrong mommy?!” or a “Really? Crying over fake people again?” He is only teasing ( i think) so now i just try to conceal it until they are both sleeping when i can ugly cry in peace with out questions. I didn’t ever cry growing up like at all so now my body is body is releasing year of repression and the simplest things set me off. What a softy ive turned into in my old age.
    What a lovely post *sniff sniff*
    ~Britt @ Please Feed The Bookworm
    *If u want an example of my ugly feel free to google Kim Kardashian crying… Yes mine is that bad.

  6. says

    I totally agree with this. No matter how objective you try to be, sometimes a little bit of subjectivity just seeps in. I like to think that emotions are something to judge a book on and if you’re having it then the book is doing something right, right? UGLY CRYING happens to me on such RARE occasions and I want to praise whatever book that makes it happen. So definitely worthy. One hundred percent. But gah, the last time I cried in a book? Eh…oh alright, it was Isla. I didn’t really like Isla all too much but then the crying happened at the end and I raised the rating. It got to me. How could I deny it a little bit of love?

  7. says

    YEP. I rate higher if the book gets a big soft hearted emotion out of me. I mean, come on!! This is like 300 or so pages of cut down trees and it made us UGLY CRY?!! That in itself is amazing and wonderful. I have no shame for rating a book higher for that. x) The last time I totally ugly cried was definitely for All The Bright Places by Jennifer Nievern. I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH. Seriously. You need to read it, and cry with me. xD

  8. says

    Yes! SO many books leave me uninterested that if one makes me ugly cry, then it made me care. And that’s important. It means the author did their job and made me feel.
    I don’t remember the last time real tears came out of my eyes because of a book. Usually I just sniffle.

  9. says

    Aw, hugs. <3 I understand what you mean, though it doesn't happen to me, but I do get why it would change your rating 😀 And ugly crying is all kinds of awful, lol, yet all kinds of perfect too. Getting feelings over a book is the best. Though, usually, I only cry in books if there are sad parts. And if there are really awful parts, I'm more likely to dislike the book, lol. 🙂 But oh. It has been so long since I ugly cried in a book. Hmph. Hoping for it to happen again soon, maybe 🙂 Thank you for sharing Kristen. <3

  10. says

    I definitely am likely to rate a book higher if it evokes strong reactions (laughing out loud or crying being the main ones I can think of), but I’m interested in one of your last points about that being able to overcome major flaws. I honestly think that if a book is able to evoke those responses in me, it can’t have too many major flaws, because those sorts of big flaws will keep me from becoming as emotionally connected you know? So it’s not even that I purposefully give the rating a boost when I find myself crying, it’s that the crying is a symptom of a book that already rated that higher rating even if I didn’t realize it yet, ha! I’m sorry for your pain, but yey for getting so into books 😀

  11. says

    Ugh, I like to think that I rate the books I read rationally, but that’s not really true… I remember a couple of books that made me cry (and there’s only ever ugly-crying for me, I’m incapable of movie-perfect sniffling) and I think I rated all of them with 5 stars on Goodreads! The Fault in Our Stars and Ketchup Clouds are the first to come to mind, but there have been many more. I think that in this world, where we see tragedies on the news on a daily basis and we (sadly) become somewhat less sensitive, books that still manage to get such an emotional response from us deserve high ratings.

  12. says

    The #1 that gave me all the feels is definitely Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. That. Book. Destroyed. Me. And then it mended my broken heart. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I grimaced, I was in shock, I was expecting it, I was thrilled, I was miserable. I cried almost continually throughout the last two chapters. And then I finished and had a long cry again. It was SO EMOTIONAL. I don’t even usually cry during books…. I feel that books that can bring out all the feels in you shows how great the book is. The author is so good that she/he can make you attached to the characters and invested in the stort. They can pull you in and make you feel the characters’ elation and pain, The authors that can make people feel all the emotions are my favorites because that’s the mark of an amazing writer. Wonderful post, Kristen!

  13. says

    I’m not really an ugly crier, but if a book does manage to stir up some serious emotions, I do end up rating it higher. To me, that’s excellent writing, plotting, and characterization if I feel what the author wanted me to feel.

  14. says

    I don’t usually cry-cry when I read a book – unless it’s something like The Fault in Our Stars – but, yes, emotions are probably the biggest attribute to my rating. A book can be extremely well written, but if I don’t connect to it, no way will I give it higher than 3 stars. On the flip side, if it tugs at all my emotions but maybe the writing isn’t the best, I could still give it 4 stars.

  15. says

    Generally yes, ugly cry leads to a 5 star. But I’ve noticed that only a certain type of book ever makes me ugly cry: war/ holocaust or cancer/death in the family books. Those are some stories that make it hard for someone to not ugly cry as they wrench your heart. However, I think it’s important to realize that other books that don’t necessarily make you ugly cry but make you whoop for joy an have your heart thudding in anticipation are just as worthy of extra stars. 🙂 Great topic!

  16. says

    I don’t think I’ll give a higher rating for a book just because it made me cry.I’ve cried bitterly while reading a handful of books, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve rated all of them with 4 or 5 stars.The reason why is because most of the time, I end up with developing a love hate relationship with these books.And sometimes tearjerkers don’t have impressive characters or a great plot.Then I can’t really give it a high rating just because it made me cry, can I?

  17. says

    It’s very hard to make me cry, so if a book achieves that it’s definitely special to me and it deserves at least 0,5 stars extra. There are only a few books that made me tear up and I think all of them have 5/5+ stars.

  18. says

    YES. There are times when ugly crying makes me add an entire extra star (like Addicted to You), and there are times when I give the book 5 stars flat (like Champion). It all depends on how the rest of the book impacted me, teary moments aside. But generally, a book that can make me cry is a genius book. As an avid book crier, I just love all the feels and tears a book can give me.

  19. says

    If a book makes me really emotional I am tempted to rate it higher, although I am not sure whether that’s because of the emotional response or my appreciating for the book for getting me emotional. I don’t ugly cry when reading a book, so far it has happened to me 3 times, but I do get emotional sometimes. I usually think I only get emotional by books I enjoy or where I care about the story and the character and thus the getting emotional somehow ties into the quality of the book for me. Great topic for a post!

  20. says

    If I’m so involved in a story it makes me ugly cry, I am likely to not even notice flaws that might be there. And yes, a strong emotional response always makes me rate higher… If I can feel extremely sad or happy alongside the characters, the author certainly did his or her job correctly.
    I think it’s great that there are many of us who are emotional readers. That way, I don’t feel alone when I keep gushing because I cried so hard.

  21. says

    I do rate higher if a book makes me ugly cry! It’s not difficult for books to make me feel things–even some of my least favorite books made me feel sympathetic toward characters, angry at situations, and whatever else. But to honestly hit me so hard that I CRY–UGLY CRY, specifically–there’s some skill there, some special thing that I feel the need to acknowledge. This doesn’t mean I always rate the book high (though I know I’ve said before that I rated a book or two five stars because of how much it made me FEEL), but it does mean the book gets a higher rating than it would have gotten minus those tears. Connecting to the book that strongly is important, and quite honestly it’s beautiful.

    Great discussion post, girl! I love this topic. 🙂


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