First love. Your heart is beating much too fast; your thoughts are racing and crashing into one another; you have the sudden urge to smile at any stranger at any point in time. First love is a glorious and overwhelming experience. As a teenager, it's easy to believe your first love will certainly be your last, because that's what most movies and books tell us. But often enough, that just isn't the case. First loves come and go, and while you may still be friends with your first ex or have them blocked on every social media account, there's no doubting that we can all remember what it was like.
I've seen multiple high school relationships last and flourish, and many others crash and burn. My first love didn't last. It was devastatingly difficult to get over that first heartbreak — a feeling just as powerful as falling in love for the first time, but not nearly as enjoyable. To overcome that heartbreak, I turned to a few books that proved the end of first love isn't the end of the road for love in general.
If you're going through a hard breakup, keep your chin up. You'll get through it, I promise. And odds are, there's something better for the both of you just around the corner. So until that time comes, keep these 11 books close to heart and know that you are most definitely not alone:
1. Paper Towns by John Green
Quentin Jacobsen, otherwise known as "Q," has spent the majority of his life enamored by the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. When Margo asks Q for help getting revenge on her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friends, he thinks he's finally close enough to her to tell her how he feels. But then she disappears. As Q hunts down clues in the search for Margot, he discovers that she's a flawed human like everyone else.
2. Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman
Sometimes first love can pop up when you least expect it, and that's what happens to the spontaneous Arlyn. When John, a lost college boy shows up on her front doorstep, she takes it as a sign of fate and falls headfirst into a relationship she's not quite prepared for. As time passes, their relationship falls apart — but new ones emerge, as well.
3. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
When Macy's somewhat robotic boyfriend leaves her for "Brain Camp," she's sure she'll spend the summer biding her time until his return. That all changes when she discovers new passions and meets Wes, a boy who teaches her that relationships can begin as friendships. I'm not convinced Macy was ever in love with her first boyfriend, but this novel proves that sometimes the end of a relationship can lead to something better down the road.
4. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Holly and Gerry are the type of couple we all aspire to be. So when Gerry develops a terminal illness and passes away at age 30, Holly has no idea how to live on without him. With a little help from Gerry — who left her a series of letters — Holly learns to love again.
5. Take Me There by Susane Colasanti
In the span of one week, Rhiannon gets dumped, Nicole attempts to move on, and James falls for a friend. When the trio come together to take down a notoriously mean girl at school, they might each finally get what they want — or get an unpleasant reality check. Told in alternating perspectives, this novel shows us first love at the beginning, the middle, and the end.
6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling memoir Eat, Pray Love is all about moving on after a failed marriage. She copes by tumbling head-first into a spontaneous but unstable relationship, traveling across the world to find herself, and falling in love with the most perfect guy in the end. While this is just one woman's story, it proves that heartbreak can make us stronger in the end.
7. Forever by Judy Blume
Forever is the story of Katherine and Michael, two teenagers who are madly in love but forced to spend the summer apart. This book does a phenomenal job capturing the emotional toll of first love.
8. The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
In this series, E. Lockhart captures what the feeling of falling in love and becoming so wrapped up in another person, you forget about everything else. She also details how painful it can be moving on from complicated relationships.
9. Past Perfect by Leila Sales
Chelsea wants to get over Ezra, the boy who shattered her heart. Unfortunately, they're both working the same summer job as colonial re-enactors. The situation gets even more awkward when Chelsea starts to fall for someone new — right in front of Ezra. Chelsea has a lot to figure out when it comes to love... just like many of us.
10. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
To say that this book is heartbreaking is a massive understatement. It's devastating. In it, Min writes a letter to Ed, and explains why she's placing certain objects into a box that represents their relationship. She also explain why they're breaking up. If you've ever been through a bad breakup, there's no doubt you'll find a piece of your heart in Why We Broke Up.
11. Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
When it comes to getting over a broken heart, you could always use a little help from a friend with a different perspective. That's just what Jessa gets when she catches her boyfriend making out with someone else three days before their class trip to Italy. Jessa's best friend, Carissa, writes her 20 letters, each loaded with specific instructions on getting over her jerk ex-boyfriend. Carissa's tips are invaluable for anyone hoping to get over a bad relationship.
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