There’s nothing like the sweetness of first love—and there’s truly nothing like the bitterness of first heartbreak. After a breakup, it’s best to take the time you need to wallow. Listen to those mournful songs. (May I recommend “Don’t Speak,” by No Doubt? An oldie but it still holds up!) Nurse a cup of chai or cocoa. And curl up with a good book, one that will hit you right in the feels and help you release those tears and that rage. Catharsis is what we’re aiming for here. And these seven YA books to read after a breakup are sure to help you achieve it.
History Is All You Left Me, by Adam Silvera
Admit it: we’ve all occasionally wanted to end an ex. (When we’re not imagining the joy we’ll feel when they finally come back to us, right?) In this sophomore effort by heartbreaker Adam Silvera, that ending becomes a reality for Griffin when his first love, Theo (who has since moved on), dies in a drowning accident. The only person who understands Griffin’s grief, pain, and occasional rage? Jackson, the boy Theo was in love with. But even he can’t stop Griffin from spinning into a spiral of depression. To find the light again and make his way to the future, Griffin must first confront his past.
Audrey, Wait, by Robin Benway
Breakups are always hard. But what might make one a million times harder? Having to share your pain with the world. That’s what happens to everygirl Audrey when her split with her ex Evan inspires him to write a song—one that becomes a national hit. Now her angst has been chronicled for everyone to see. And how’s a girl supposed to move on with paparazzi stalking her every move?
Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy
Murphy’s sophomore smash, Dumplin’, is about so many things: fatness, feminism, daring, and Dolly. But one of the things at the heart of the story is an exploration of first love: the getting together, and the falling apart. Willowdean has all the confidence in the world…until she falls for Bo, a private school jock she meets at work. That’s when she starts questioning herself, and loses her footing. She has to find it—and herself—again before she can let herself relax and be who she is with another person. It’s a hard lesson, but one many teens (and adults) must learn.
Hardcover $16.19 | $17.99
, by Lisa Greenwald
If you’re looking for a fun summer read with a strong dash of “burn it all down,” Greenwald’s latest is a good bet. Mia starts her summer on a sour note: she’s just split with the love of her life. But her BFF Justine’s not about let Mia wallow while binge-watching old shows in the AC. Nope. Together, the two get a gig running a snow cone truck, ostensibly so they can sleuthily stalk the ex. But they accidentally come up with a hit smoothie recipe (snow cones + kale? Who knew?), and the ex is totally falling into their “phishing” trap. So the summer’s totally a win. Right?
P.S., I Still Love You, by Jenny Han
In this sequel to her bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean has made a mess of things. The pretend romance she’d shared with Peter wasn’t real, right? So now that they’ve ended it, why does she feel so lost? And if they get together again, will things be different this time? When another boy from Lara Jean’s past reappears, she’s conflicted. She can’t find her footing—in love, with her sisters, and especially at school, where a (not so) scandalous moment with Peter has become public domain. Can she let go of what everyone else thinks long enough to figure herself out?
How It Ends, by Catherine Lo
Sometimes the worst breakups aren’t the romantic kind at all, because there’s nothing like the devastation of losing your best friend. That’s what happens in Lo’s debut. Shy Jessie’s always hidden in the shadows cast by her larger than life BFF, Annie. And Annie has relied on Jessie’s stability to keep her grounded. Their differences are what brought them together, but they might just be what tears them apart, too.
Hardcover $17.09 | $18.99
Wonder Woman: Warbringer, by Leigh Bardugo
This might seem like an odd choice for a list of books to read after a breakup. But come on! Wonder Woman! War! Leigh Bardugo! Girl power! What more could you want or need when you’re in the depths of (rage and) despair? Whatever you’re feeling now, this book will distract—no, let’s say heal!—you. (Plus, if you pre-order now, you’ll nab a signed copy! That’s gonna feel good, promise.)