By Mandi Bierly
Updated April 21, 2009 at 11:36 PM EDT

Not that I read a lot, but up until a few days ago, only two books ever made me cry: Eugene O’Kelly’s memoir Chasing Daylight, which I read as someone in my family was going through a similar illness (I’m grateful that our story continues), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (perhaps because I could picture “that scene” so vividly, it was like I’d already seen the movie — and films frequently destroy me).

But then I read If I Stay, the young adult novel by Gayle Forman that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke is set to bring to the big screen, and I had to add another title to the list. It’s about Mia, a 17-year-old girl from Oregon who gets into a car accident with her parents and younger brother. The choice of whether she stays (lives) or goes (dies) is hers and plays out over a 196-page outerbody experience that you’ll want to read in one sitting. At least, that’s how I did it. On a crowded train. Hoping no one saw how many times my eyes welled up (starting at page 18) until a single tear fell down my left cheek. Though we reveal the reason why her decision is so difficult in our review of the book, I’d recommend not spoiling it for yourself.

Your turn. Which books have made you cry?