9 Truly Heartbreaking Books About Love And Loss For Readers Who Prefer A Different Kind Of Romantic Story
The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and everywhere you look, someone is getting engaged or married, which can only mean one thing: spring is upon us, and summer's wedding season is right around the corner. If all of the general positivity and romantic mushiness of the season is getting to you, ground yourself with one of these heartbreaking books about love. No matter how many of your friends are meeting their soulmates or getting hitched this spring, these books will remind you, not every love story is all rainbows and butterflies.
While it's true everyone likes a good story, it is also true that everyone's definition of a good story is different. Some people prefer tales where the heroes win, the lovers reunite, and everyone lives happily ever after in the end, while others would rather read about the darker side of life. When it comes to stories about love, there are plenty on both sides of the spectrum to keep every reader happy, even if that means the characters in the books do not end up that way in the end.
From broken engagements to tragic deaths to fairy tales with less-than-happy ending, here are nine heartbreaking books about love.
1. 'The Light We Lost' by Jill Santopolo
Have your tissues ready, because you're going to need them if you're ever going to get through Jill Santopolo's highly anticipated novel, The Light We Lost. A beautiful yet heartbreaking story about Lucy and Gabe, two college seniors who meet in a classroom at Columbia University and begin a love affair that will shape the rest of their lives, The Light We Lost puts love to many tests: the test of choice, of loyalty, of fate, of war, of distance, and of faith itself.
This book will sink its hooks into your heart on page one, and leave you scarred long after you're done.
2. 'Heartless' by Marissa Meyer
You might think that all fairy tales have happy endings, but that's because you've never heard the story of the Queen of Hearts from its tragic beginning. In Heartless, Marissa Meyer's tear-jerking reimagination of the story you thought you knew, Catherine is a sweet, hopeful young girl who dreams of owning a bakery of her own one day, and of choosing her own suitor. But in the Kingdom of Hearts, where magic reigns, nothing is that simple — not dreams, not baking, and certainly not love. A dark yet wonderful twist on a classic tale, Heartless is a gloomy story of lost girlhood (and lost love) readers won't be able to put down.
3. 'A Hundred Summers' by Beatriz Williams
What happens when you mix broken hearts, family secrets, and unexpected hurricanes? Thanks to Beatriz Williams, you can find out in A Hundred Summers, a gut-wrenching love story with emotions as uneasy as the impending storm that took New England by surprise in 1938. With the storm on the horizon, Lily Dane returns to Seaview, her family's Rhode Island summer home, to escape her broken life in New York — the one that tore apart her and her true love, Nick, and pushed him towards Lily's best friend, Budgie. But when she arrives, she finds not only cloudy skies by the two people who hurt her the most waiting at the shore. As you can imagine, there's enough drama and tragedy to bring forth at least a tear or two in this intriguing beach read.
4. 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes
A professional heartbreaker — at least, as far as readers are concerned — Jojo Moyes has no problem making you cry. If you've read her devastating bestseller Me Before You, or seen the tragic love story of Lou and Will play out onscreen, you know that it isn't for the faint of heart.
5. 'Norwegian Wood' by Haruki Murakami
Speaking of not-so-happy-stories, the master of gut-wrenching novels Haruki Murakami has created one that will leave you reeling. In Norwegian Wood, readers meet Toru, a steadfast and serious college student who burns a torch only for Naoko, the beautiful girl with whom he shares a tragic past: both are still recovering from the unexpected death of their best friend years ago. As the two grow older, their love and relationship morphs and changes, shaped largely by their different ways of dealing with the loss that has defined them, the very loss that drove them together and just might tear them apart.
6. 'It Ends with Us' by Colleen Hoover
With a tagline like, "Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most," can you expect anything but tears and heartache in Colleen Hoover's latest novel, It Ends With Us? As it turns out, you can also look forward to raw honesty, breathtaking romance, and three characters you won't be able to forget: hardworking Lily, her stubborn love interest Ryle, and the first love of her past, Atlas. A powerful novel about the power of love and the strength of resilience, It Ends With Us is an important book that's worth all the sobbing you have to do to get through it.
7. 'All the Bright Places' by Jennifer Niven
There are probably more heartbreaking books about love in YA than any other genre (I'm looking at you, John Green and Gayle Forman) but All the Bright Places just might be the saddest of them all. A gut-wrenching story for so many different reasons, this runaway bestseller weaves the beautiful, albeit tragic, love story of "a boy called Finch and a girl named Violet." Powerful and affecting, this young adult book about love, both romantic and familial, will have you reaching for the tissues at least one in every chapter.
8. 'History Is All You Left Me' by Adam Silvera
Speaking of YA, if you read his debut novel More Happy Than Not, then you already know that Adam Silvera knows how to break a reader's heart. In his latest young adult novel, Griffin's life descends into a dark downward spiral following the tragic death of his first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo. The only person who seems to understand what he is going through is Jackson, Theo's boyfriend, but Griffin can't begin to tell him about the true heartbreaks of his past. A tragic and moving story about love and loss and moving on, History Is All You Left Me will leave readers in tears.
9. 'All the Ugly and Wonderful Things' by Bryn Greenwood
This one is for the hopeless romantics out there who love a good, tortured love story. In All the Ugly Wonderful Things, heartbreak comes from every angle for Wavy, a young teenage girl trying to escape the clutches of her drug-riddled Midwestern family with the only person who has giver her comfort: Kellen, an ex-con who has stolen her heart. To say things aren't easy in this novel would be an understatement. There's child abuse, intimate relationships between adults and adolescents, addiction, violence, loss, and so much more, but what makes this novel a true tear-jerked is the complicated love story at it's core. You'll have to read it and judge for yourself.