It doesn’t always work for rosy love stories. You know, sometimes you need a sad love story to completely destroy your heart, rip it out of your chest, and stomp all over it. For many people, this twisted ache started with a little heart-wrenching book by Nicholas Sparks called The Notebook (have you read it?). From there, it just kept getting worse and worse. Sometimes, you just need to cry. Getting attached to characters who will die of heartbreak and tragedy is a sure way to get there.
Sad love books are a good way to ground yourself if all of the general positivity and romantic mushiness in your books isn’t making you feel anything. In the end, what makes a story good is up to the person who reads it. Some people like stories where the heroes win, the lovers come back together, and everyone lives happily ever after at the end, while others prefer stories about the dark side of life. In stories about love, there’s enough to keep everyone happy, even if the characters in the book aren’t.
For people who enjoy crying while reading, these stories are for them. Forbidden love affairs, tragic deaths, and fairy tales with less-than-happy endings are just a few of the heartbreaking romance books you’ll want to cry over over and over again. Prepare for the best book hangover ever.
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
They fall in love on the Italian Riviera in Call Me by Your Name, which is set in the mid-1980s. At age 17, Elio is a lot younger than Oliver, a 24-year-old med student who is living with Elio’s parents for the summer because he wants to get to know them better. It’s only for a few weeks, but can they ever be more than a summer fling?
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander
Poet Elizabeth Alexander’s book, The Light of the World, was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. It looks at how love, grief, and recovery can all be bound together. The author talks about her relationship with her teenage sons in the aftermath of her husband’s death in 2012 at the age of 49. She weaves a story that’s both tender and beautiful, and it’s sure to make you cry.
This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith
Therapist and man she’s been consoling get together in this quiet romance book. Afterwards, Tallie does not tell him what she does for a living or why he planned to kill himself. This Close to Okay is often referred to as “hygge-like,” but it still manages to tear your heart out before the end.
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
A book can have a happy ending and still be sad. This Is How You Lose the Time. War always finds a way. People who are on different sides of a cosmic war, known as Red and Blue, send each other messages in secret places across the timeline. They become lovers over time, but all’s fair in love and war, and this is both. This is both.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
It’s a class in tragedy. An American Marriage is the best. It’s about Celestial and Roy, a newlywed couple who are separated when Roy is convicted of a terrible crime that he didn’t commit. Tayari Jones won the NAACP Image Award for the book. When Roy is released from prison, Celestial should be happy to see him again, but she’s fallen for someone else while he was away.
High as the Waters Rise by Anja Kampmann
In her first book, German poet Anja Kampmann tells the story of Waclaw, a worker on an oil rig. When Waclaw’s friend and coworker, Mátyás, is lost at sea, it sends him into a spiral of grief. On this trip, Waclaw looks at the edges of his life: the parts he shared with Mátyás and the space left by his death.
The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
Liz Lawson’s first book for young adults is a powerful one. In it, a pair of teenagers are brought together by their grief after a shooting at their high school. May is the only survivor of a violent incident that killed her twin brother. When she meets Zach, the son of the shooter’s defense attorney, all of his friends have left him. What might they gain from each other?
Kept Animals by Kate Milliken
In Kate Milliken’s deeply moving novel, three teenage girls in early 1990s California are linked by a complicated social network. Rory is one of them. She is a ranch hand who is torn between two lovers: June, a wealthy ranch owner, and Vivian, the daughter of a Hollywood star. Kept Animals, which was told by Rory’s daughter in 2015, is a dark story about love and loss.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Open Water is about two unknown, Black British artists: a photographer and a dancer. When it comes to life and death, the photographer has a hard time talking to his partner, whom he shares so much with. The couple’s relationship might break down because of all the stress that they are under.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
300 years of history have passed without Addie’s involvement being written down. People can’t remember her because she died so long ago. In The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Addie meets someone who knows who she is, and her whole life changes in a big way.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Yadriel is a trans brujo, and his family doesn’t like him because he is a young man. The man wants to show that he can do things on his own, so he tries to summon the ghost of his missing cousin. Instead, he meets the spirit of Julian. He has some business to take care of before he leaves this world. Yadriel is the best person to help him. Is there anything that will happen when the brujo can’t bear to exorcise a spirit that needs to cross over?
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
You should read The Song of Achilles, which is based on Homer’s The Iliad. The story is based on the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War, but it also has a heart-stopping love story. Achilles is the son of the sea goddess Thetis and King Peleus. He is strong and beautiful, and he is both beautiful and strong. It was just a chance meeting, but he met and became friends with Patroclus, a young prince who had been sent away because of his crimes. Achilles wants to be a hero, so he joins the heroes of Greece on their journey to Troy after Helen of Sparta is taken. Patroclus follows him because he loves and is afraid of him.
Memorial by Bryan Washington
A couple: Benson and Mike have been together for a long time and live together in Houston. But they aren’t exactly in love with each other. Or aren’t they? They love each other, but they can’t seem to figure out what they are or where this relationship is going. They don’t know how to talk about it. Everything is put to the test when Mike learns that his father is dying and tells Benson that he is going to Japan to be with him. At the same time, Mike’s mother, Mitsuko, is coming to Houston for a long visit. Memorial is a story that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. It looks at all of the heartbreakingly real parts of a relationship.
A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
It’s a story about an Indian-American Muslim family that goes back a few decades. A Place For Us The story is told from the point of view of each person in the family. The oldest daughter, Hadia, is getting married in their hometown in California. Amar, the youngest of the siblings, has shown up after three years of not seeing each other. It tells the story of how the family came to be where they are now. The kids have a hard time balancing the traditions and faith of their parents with their new culture. They have to figure out what will bring them together and what will break them apart.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Dannie Cohan is living her life the way she wants to, and it’s going exactly as planned. She did well in her life-changing interview at her dream law firm and just agreed to marry her boyfriend. She goes to sleep knowing that her life is on track. When she wakes up, she’s in a different apartment, has a different ring on her finger, and is looking at a man who isn’t her fiancé, but she’s still happy. A lot has changed in five years. She only spends one hour here before she wakes up back in her apartment with her fiance. For the next five years, Dannie does everything she can to forget that fateful hour and keep her life going the way she wants it to. When she meets the man she spent an hour with five years from now, this becomes very difficult.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
To help care for Will Traynor, Louisa Clarke is hired by the man’s family. He was paralyzed from the neck down in a motorcycle accident. When Will got hurt, he had a great life of adventure. He now doesn’t want to live. It’s Louisa’s goal to show Will that life is worth living and in the process she finds a spark in her own life.
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
When it comes to Nicholas Sparks, you’re almost always going to get a heartbreaking love story. A Walk to Remember is no different. When bad boy Landon Carter and minister’s daughter Jamie Sullivan start dating at school, it doesn’t seem like it will work out at all. He starts to change his life when he starts to fall for Jamie. When he finds out about her heartbreaking secret, everything goes out the window.