Time may heal all wounds, but there’s nothing like a good book to mend a broken heart. Settle in with one (or all!) of these seventeen books – all which address despair of a love lost in its own unique and healing way.
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants has just arrived for her freshman year at Harvard and she’s slowly making friends – one, Svetlana, her Siberian classmate, and another, Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. As Selin’s story spans cultures and continents, it brings together the joys, fears, insecurities and unknowns of discovering one’s self amid life and love.
Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera
Juliet just came out to her parents and left the Bronx to “find herself” in Portland. The trouble is, she’s found a great internship with her favorite author and feminist mentor, but she’s low on confidence and questioning that she can pull her life together this summer. Humorous and inspiring, readers will fall in love with the heroine in Juliet Takes A Breath.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
No. 1 New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a four-part collection of poetry and prose, each part dealing with heartache and pain. Author Rupi Kaur gracefully explores the bitter moments in life while never failing to find the healing sweetness that is hidden among the heartache.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
The writer of Sleepless in Seattle expertly weaves hilarity into the breakup of a perfect marriage as the very pregnant Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. She’s a cookbook author, so naturally, she turns to food as she processes her confusing emotions. She just needs to decide whether she wants Mark back, or dead.
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
Lucy’s been so focused on her dissertation that she hardly realized that her relationship with her boyfriend was crumbling. When the flame finally goes out, Lucy heads to her sisters’ in L.A. to pick up the pieces. Instead, she finds herself anxious, jaded and frankly unlovable. Then she spots a swimmer – and it’s nearly love at first sight until she finds out his identity.
The Wisdom of a Broken Heart: How to Turn the Pain of a Breakup Into Healing, Insight, and New Love by Susan Piver
Author Susan Piver recognizes that when a relationship ends, the anguish and disappointment can be crippling. She lovingly encourages readers to forget the typical advice about staying busy and moving on, and instead, pushes them to take this opportunity to self-transform. Throughout the book, she shares her own story of heartbreak and delivers a strong dose of hope to those who need it most.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön
Pema Chödrön’s is the perfect addition to one’s spiritual library as she shows that moving toward painful situations – rather than away from them – can open up our hearts to growth, healing and love. She draws from traditional Buddhist wisdom as she offers life-changing tools to readers suffering from heartbreak and sadness.
How to be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis
As Samantha Ellis reviews well-known female characters beloved since childhood, she makes a startling revelation: all this time, instead of pining over lost love, she should have been aiming to be more like the independent Jane Eyre. In How to be a Heroine, Ellis takes readers through the most inspiring characters in literature and explores what we can learn from them, and how we can use lessons from literature to become the heroine in our own lives.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
After a breakup, we often reflect on the things left unsaid. When Lydia is found dead in a lake, her parents are reeling from the loss and the pain of the things they never told their daughter. This book explores the challenges of trying to truly know someone and our struggle to understand one another.
Letters to the Person I Was by Sana Abuleil
In this moving poetry collection, Sana Abuleil communicates to readers all the kindness, wisdom, hope, and acceptance she wishes someone had communicated to her when she experienced severe heartache. Sana reminds us that navigating through pain, we find avenues of hope and beauty to embrace.
The Art of Breaking Up by hitRECord
This double-sided book is structured so that whether you’re the heartbreaker or the heartbroken, you’ll find something within the book to heal the wounds left behind. From break-up themed recipes to short stories, comics to vengeful arts and crafts projects, the book will keep you busy. Made from a collective art project in which thousands of people participated, it is also a reminder that heartbreak, as isolating as it may seem, is a shared experience that connects us all.
All About Love by bell hooks
What is love? How do we practice it? And can we do it better? bell hooks explores the concept of love and the cultural norms and expectations surrounding it. In All About Love, hooks’ challenges the idea that romantic love is the ideal love. She opens readers up to the idea that love is something that goes beyond sex and desire; it is a healing, uniting force that can exist between all individuals, groups, and nations.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Feeling a little lost in life, Hannah Martin moves in with her best friend Gabby. At a bar, they meet Hannah’s old high school boyfriend, Ethan, and he joins them for drinks. At the end of the night, Hannah has a choice to make: go home with Gabby, or stay a little later and let Ethan take her home. Based on this decision, Hannah’s life will go one of two ways. The book proceeds to tell the story of Hannah’s life from both timelines, ultimately showing how different her life will turn out based on this one decision. The book is thus an exploration of the choices we make, the paths we take, and how to find true love in a world of never-ending possibilities.
You’ll Come Back to Yourself by Michaela Angemeer
A poetry book inspired by modern dating and heartbreak, poems within explore mental health, our relationship with our bodies, being our true selves, and lost love.
The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy
This is a heart-wrenching, yet deeply satisfying and inspirational memoir on finding meaning and love. Levy spent years traveling the world and telling women’s stories. When she experiences unthinkable heartbreak, she must come to terms with the fact that, like all of us, she lives in a world she cannot control. She shares with readers how she began to live again in the face of uncertainty and in spite of pain.
The Melting Season by Jami Attenburg
This is a book about friendship and self-discovery. When her husband Thomas deserts her, Catherine Madison packs a suitcase and heads West. She is determined to leave her pain and secrets behind. On her journey, she makes incredible friendships that teach her the meaning of human connection. With time, she learns that moving on and being her true self requires facing the truths from her past, and that doing so will help others she loves from making the same mistakes.
Elsewhere by Rosita Boland
In Elsewhere, Rosie Boland reflects on thirty years of traveling solo around the globe. Boland shares in intimate detail her experiences in some of the most remote places on Earth and how travel can change your life. Through joy and heartache, Boland sees the beauty and majesty of the world bloom before her.
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