5 YA books to help you get through even the worst breakup

Every girl will go through it at least once in their lives: the dreaded breakup. Whether it’s a long process draining you for weeks or a spur-of-the-moment, out-of-the-blue “we’re over” talk, a breakup can send your life spinning. Your friends are perfect to talk you through the process, hate on your ex out of loyalty, and help you watch all of the sad movies you want. But sometimes, you just need to be alone. Being by yourself, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the company of a good book. These five YA books in particular can help you through the grieving process, from denial to anger to screeching “I Will Survive” on your karaoke machine as an act of acceptance. 1.  Denial: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Breakups can be a hard thing to grapple with, and at the beginning, it may seem like everything will be peachy keen with a little bit of cooling off time. Instead of wallowing, you’re still stuck in daydream-boyfriend/girlfriend-land, and you still love love. While you listen to killer love ballads, it’s the perfect time to get lost in passages from Sarah Dessen’s ultimate love story This Lullaby. This Lullaby centers on a love-denying teenager named Remy who starts to learn that all those love ballads maybe have a point when she meets Dexter. Dessen is known for her epic loves, but This Lullaby is known as one of her best—which is certainly saying something. 2.  Anger: The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Here comes the rage. After slowly coming out of the happy-go-lucky denial phase, those hurt feelings start to push to the surface and suddenly you just can’t believe that jerk had the nerve to break up with you. How dare s/he? You’re consumed with fury, and you daydream about exacting your revenge. It’s the perfect entrance for the queen of YA revenge stories, Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard. Shepard’s most recent novel, The Perfectionists, is the start of a new series about five girls who all have a vendetta against class bully Nolan Hotchkiss, the reigning king of Beacon Heights High. But when Nolan is found murdered the night of his big party, readers have to figure out just whose desire for revenge was the strongest. 3.  Bargaining: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
“Can we still be friends?” It’s the cliché phrase that’s the ultimate signal of the bargaining phase. You’ve taken all your anger out on your pillow and at the gym, and now you just can’t see why this breakup has to be a reality. Isn’t there something you can do? You could call more often? You could try to like his/her terrible taste in music? Surely the reason you broke up wasn’t all that important. Jenny Han’s Lara Jean from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is right there with you. She has a whole lot of explaining to do to Josh, her literal boy next door, when letters she has written accidentally get mailed out. Doesn’t sound like such a big deal? Well, those letters were all written to every boy she’s ever had a crush on—pouring out her heart and soul because she never meant to send them. And this is only the start of the turmoil. 4.  Depression: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
When you’re in that crawl-under-the-covers phase, you need a companion so you don’t wallow too deeply. Everyone knows that a little of the sad phase can help; you can binge on junk food and stay in bed watching sad movies until you’re ready get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. Changing those sweatpants into jeans or—gasp!—a skirt or dress will be on the agenda someday, but this is not the day. The best wallow companion is E. Lockhart’s haunting We Were Liars. It’s a lyrical, sad story about three cousins from a very wealthy family and their friend Gat who spend their summers on their grandfather’s private island. In the latest summer, Cady is suffering from severe headaches, and she has blocked out a painful event from the last time she visited the island. As the mysterious events unfold, both for Cady and the readers, you learn the brutal, heartbreaking truth. Luckily, you can remember that for you, things aren’t as bad. 5.  Acceptance: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
After a breakup, that day will come when the realization will zap through you, boosting your energy and making you look forward to facing not just today, but the future. You didn’t need that boy/girl, and you’re even better off without them. You were too good for them, and you’re not the type of girl that needs a significant other by her side. In essence: the future is one good-looking place. Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando teamed up to write Roomies, about two young women facing their own futures. On the brink of leaving for college, Elizabeth and Lauren are strangers who are notified that they’re set to be roommates freshman year. When they start up an email conversation, they ruminate on what it’s like to leave their friends and homes behind and open up their lives to the possibilities of wonder in the future. Caitlin White is the lead books writer for Bustle, and her work has appeared in The Huffington Post. Though she’s Bostonian-born, she’s Canadian-wifed, and she’s a big fan of YA novels, football, novelty tights, and the serial comma. You can follow her on Twitter @caitforestell. (Book images via Goodreads. Featured via.)

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