21 Books You Wish Would Never End, So You Could Read Them Forever

People who don’t read may laugh at you, but grieving for a book you’ve just finished is totally a thing. The worst thing about characters in novels is that they’re not real, and when you’ve turned the last page, you can’t talk to them anymore. It’s heartbreaking! That’s why people read their favorite childhood books again and again. There are legitimate stages of grief you go through when you finish a book. Your skeptical friends just don’t get it; it’s not like you can just start a new book and get over it. You need support; you need to talk it through.

It’s pretty traumatic (don’t mock me — it is), but we’d do it all over again. That feeling of falling truly, madly, deeply in love with a book is worth every last bit of the heartache. Here are 21 books to rush into with open arms. Just know that each will break your heart when they leave you.

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by Emma Oulton

'All My Friends Are Superheroes' by Andrew Kaufman

You can’t help but wish this book was so much longer. All My Friends Are Superheroes is a gorgeously eccentric love story with a whole new take on the superhero genre. Tom’s friends have unusual and ultimately useless superpowers (one can survive on land and water, but that won’t help him get a job), and his wife has been hypnotized to be oblivious to his existence. It’s so brilliantly mad. I wish I were still reading it.

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'The Beginner's Goodbye' by Anne Tyler

The Beginner’s Goodbye is a rather sad, slow-moving book. It’s touching, but certainly not gripping. That is, until you reach the final chapters. A slow realization about these flawed and misunderstood characters takes hold, and just as your perspective is beginning to change, the book comes to a gentle and hopeful end.

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'Station Eleven' by Emily St. John Mandel

No matter how many end-of-the-world novels are released, there are still some that manage to stand out. Station Eleven jumps back and forth between the dystopian aftermath of a flu pandemic and the pre-flu world as we know it. It manages to be about humans, and not about the apocalypse. The book’s end comes far too soon. I could have followed these characters forever.

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'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky

Growing up becomes a lot less lonely once you’ve discovered The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It covers everything you’re going through, from body image to sexuality to loneliness. This coming-of-age cult favorite cruelly ends just as it’s beginning to validate your entire existence.

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'The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden' by Jonas Jonasson

Jonas Jonasson’s second novel is utterly ridiculous and absolutely hilarious. His characters accidentally fall into (almost) real-life historical situations, and find themselves knowing too much about the hypothetical seventh nuclear missile developed in South Africa in the 1980s. If I could have one wish, it would be that I hadn’t read this book yet so that I still had that treat ahead of me.

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'The Time Traveler's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger

If, for some unheard-of reason, you haven’t read this book by now, then drop everything and get on with it. Clare is always waiting for her time-traveling husband to reappear. Throughout the book, he is forever vanishing at inconvenient times, and even after he dies, Clare may see a younger version of him show up. After this book ends, you’ll wish the characters could travel back to you again and again.

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'The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax' by Christopher Shevlin

The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax is completely bonkers, to say the least. It opens with the rather mundane inner thoughts of a recently murdered woman, still lying on her kitchen floor. It goes on to follow the totally useless Jonathon Fairfax as he accidentally takes down the government. It’s absurd, but you’ll be devastated when it’s over.

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'Sanditon' by Jane Austen

Getting to the end of Sanditon is particularly sad, as it isn’t even finished. Jane Austen died before completing this novel, so we’ll never know how it was going to unfold. But it’s Austen, so you just know it was going to be good.

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'Feeling Sorry for Celia' by Jaclyn Moriarty

I read Feeling Sorry for Celia on repeat throughout my childhood, and I still can’t get enough. A large chunk of the book is told through letters written to the teenage protagonist from imaginary organizations such as the Association of Teenagers, who tell her she’s letting them down, or the Cold Hard Truth Association, who stop her getting ideas about her teenage crush. It’s scathing, it’s hilarious, and you’ll love it.

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'Hello from the Gillespies' by Monica McInerney

Angela Gillespie sits down to write her annual Christmas newsletter, and instead writes a true account of her disappointments, fears, and regrets. It’s a wonderful way to unburden herself — until it accidentally gets sent to her entire mailing list. In the age of smug social media updates, you’ll be glad to escape the endless Instagrams of your friends’ babies to read this tale of the total opposite.

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'The Luck of the Bodkins' by P. G. Wodehouse

P. G. Wodehouse’s writing is so charmingly insane that it seems a shame to go back to reality. I was reading The Luck of the Bodkins on the way to my university interview, and found myself completely unable to speak about anything else once I got there. I didn’t get in, but it was worth it.

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'Sleep Donation' by Karen Russell

This dystopian horror isn’t far from reality. It’s set in a world suffering from chronic insomnia, suggesting that sleep has been chased off the globe by 24-hour news and eyes glued to ever-glowing devices. As you read this on your e-reader (fittingly, it is only available digitally), you’ll hope it never ends — if only so you don’t have to turn to Netflix, or Facebook, or Twitter to keep your eyes open all night.

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'Ella Enchanted' by Gail Carson Levine

I’m actually a fan of Anne Hathaway, but it took a long time for me to forgive her for starring in the atrocious adaptation of my childhood favorite Ella Enchanted. Ever since Ella was “blessed” by her fairy godmother with the gift of obedience, she’s been unable to go against a direct order. When she falls in love with a prince, this puts them both in danger. This is Cinderella as you’ve never seen it before, and Ella herself is so lovable that you’ll wish you could read her whole life.

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'Don't Ask Me Why' by Tania Kindersley

Tania Kindersley paints a pretty grim picture of leaving university. Her characters’ lives fall apart as they leave the idyllic Oxford behind. You’ll be desperate to see what becomes of them, especially if you read this as you’re about to graduate yourself.

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'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' by J. K. Rowling

I know, I know. Duh. But I only just read these books for the first time this year, so I’m still catching up. I think almost everyone can agree that finishing the final Harry Potter book was a pretty bittersweet moment.

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'We Were Liars' by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars starts with a mystery and drops few clues as it goes along. Usually, that would leave me flicking the pages to get at the answers, but this book is so poetically written that I never wanted it to end. This is one of those books that stays with you long after you turn the final page.

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'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' by Jonathan Safran Foer

Writing about 9/11 is a risky move, but Jonathan Safran Foer claims that, as a New Yorker who felt the event so deeply, it was a greater risk him to not write about it. His story of nine-year-old Oskar Schell dealing with his father’s death may be experimental, but it’s laced with very honest emotion. The tragedy of 9/11 isn’t exploited here. Instead, it is placed in a wider context of war, loss, and trauma. The result is unbearably sad, but beautifully unique.

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'Casebook' by Mona Simpson

Books about people’s quirky, muddled lives are often the hardest to leave behind, possibly because they resemble our own. Casebook follows the story of Miles, who starts as a curious nine-year-old with a walkie-talkie under his parents’ bed, through high school, when he taps a phone and consults a private detective. The novel is about his discoveries, but it’s really about the intimacies and deceptions we can all relate to while growing up.

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'Some Luck' by Jane Smiley

Just try not to get sucked into the lives of the Langdon family as they struggle from 1920 to 1953, through the Depression, war, childbirth, and romances. It’s heartbreaking to leave them behind, but fortunately for us, Some Luck is the first in a trilogy, the Last Hundred Years series.

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'At the Water's Edge' by Sara Gruen

There’s a serious shortage of WWII-era books about hunting the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, this may be the only one. That’s why it’s pretty hard to let it go. That and the wonderful connection the reader makes with the protagonist Maddie. At the Water’s Edge is a fantastically compelling book.

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'The Neverending Story' by Michael Ende

The very title of this book is a false promise. The young hero lives out all book-lovers’ greatest wish and becomes part of the magical world of literature. It’s a fantastic adventure, but, sadly, it comes to an end.

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