My friends tell me I’m a picky reader. Sometimes I’m inclined to agree, but usually I don’t. I read so many books that I enjoy, love, and cherish, but when you read as much as I do eventually you reach a point where it takes an actually good book to earn those 5 star ratings, you’re undying praise, and endless recommendations. I think of books kind of like I do sex. You can have good sex, a hot hook-up, and have great mutual orgasms. But then you can also have mind-blowing sex. The kind that leaves your legs limp for a good 20 minutes afterwards. The kind that leaves you speechless except for incoherent mumbling, that puts you right to sleep afterwards and when you wake up you still feel it. Maybe not physically (if you aren’t into that), but at least emotionally. Like sex, books are made to be experienced. But not every book will make you experience it, not every book will make you cry, or rip your heart out of your chest, or even make you get up and scream in happiness. But every so often, you find one that does. Like great sex, heartbreaking books are hard to come by. So, here’s my top five heartbreaking books, for those of you who are interested.
5.A Streetcar Named Desire
This was the play that introduced me to Tennessee Williams, and when I began it I don’t think I realized how much the characters were going to mean to me. While it isn’t my favorite of William’s plays (that honor goes to Orpheus Rising), it was the first I read. What did it for me was how much I saw myself in Blanche and Stella, as odd as that sounds. But seeing them struggle and fail against life was like watching myself struggle and fail, a hard thing to see when you’re a junior in high school.
4.The Sun is Also a Star
This is a recent read that I read with Erin. After reading Everything, Everything I wasn’t expecting much from this one. Mostly because I didn’t see how Yoon could top it. Let me tell you how wrong she proved me. This book touched and hurt me in ways Everything, Everything could only imagine. This was the first book in about two years that made me cry (the last book being number one on this list). It built me up perfectly, drawing me into the characters and breaking my heart along with theirs. But just like they are given hope again, so was I by the end.
3.Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
When I finished this book, I remember being so angry that I couldn’t stand it. Then, a few days later when someone asked me if I had read any good books lately I named this one without thinking. The setting of Cultural Revolution China allows for the gravity of the story to haunt you. I love the determination of the little seamstress, and getting to see her take control of the story and rip it apart broke my heart.
2.Under a Painted Sky
Westerns will always have a special place in my heart. When I started finding Western YAs I got really excited. This one takes you on one of the best Wild West adventures I’ve ever been on, making you hurt with each character and hope beyond hope that everything will end how you want it to. In natural Western fashion, you get more than you bargain for.
1.We Were Liars
Listen. If you want your mind and heart blown to absolute smithereens. Read this book. I’ve ruined four lives so far not including my own. Let me ruin yours too.