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22 BEST Books to Read After a Break Up To Heal Heartbreak

Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Louisa

Hey, breakups are hard. Anyone going through a breakup will know that there is very little condolence for a broken heart.

If you feel you have lost the love of your life, one of the best ways to help you heal your broken heart is by escaping reality and diving into some epic literature.

If you’re looking for an escape, then here are some best books to read after a break up.

Fortunately for you, but sadly for me, I have been dumped many times. It must be something to do with how great I am, but who can tell?

But from each failed relationship, I’ve found solitude in a book, which is why I am sharing with you my favorite books for a broken heart to help you take your mind off the heartache.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

Fiction Books to Read After a Break Up

If you’re looking to escape into a good read after a breakup to help you get your mind off things, I got your back. Here are the best fiction books to read after a break up.

1. High Fidelity Nick Hornby

Sometimes all you need to mend your broken heart is a good laugh! High Fidelity is my top recommendation for comedy books to read after a break up.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is the ultimate breakups book, as it tells a story of a vinyl record shop owner, called Rob, whose life is turned upside down after his long-term girlfriend breaks up with him.

In order to discover why girls keep breaking up with him, Rob revisits his previous five break ups, including one person going back to middle school.

This is the journey of discovery, as he not only finds himself with a fear of commitment but discovers that he tends to act on emotion rather than thought. He decides that Laura is the one, and attempts to lure her back.

This novel is both brilliant and comical. It was made into a motion picture and has sold over a million copies worldwide, which should prove it’s definitely a book worth picking up.

2. Juliet Takes a Breath Gabby Rivera

Juliet Takes a Breath was once voted People magazine Best Book of Fall 2019 and An Amazon Best Young Adult Book of 2019, for good reason!

Juliet Milagros Palante is a closeted Puerto Rican baby lesbian from the Bronx.

After coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland for an internship with legendary feminist author Harlowe Brisbane, her family takes the news badly.

But her internship shows her new insights into the world. From her internship, she learns the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and more, and soon becomes aware of how to process with the “Puerto Rican lesbian” inside her.

Except Harlowe’s not from the Bronx and doesn’t have all the answers.

In a summer bursting with queer dance parties, a steamy fling, and intense explorations of race and identity, Juliet learns what it means to come out.

This is one of the most healing post breakup books to read after breaking up with someone because it shows how to find a new version of yourself and move on without taking other people’s judgments too harshly.

3. Loose Woman: Poems Sandra Cisneros 

Loose Woman is a collection of candid, steamy and moody poetry by Sandra Cisneros.

Each poem is a celebration of all the female aspects of love, from the meaningful, reflective, and overtly erotic.

If you’re looking for some poetry to help you get over a break up, then these are the ultimate poems for heartbreak as they help you empower the woman within and learn to get in touch with your inner feminity.

These poems are all about women empowerment and can help you get through the pain of breakups by understanding that it’s fine to be alone.

4. She’s Come Undone Wally Lamb

She’s Come Undone is a New York Times bestselling coming-of-age odyssey, taking the reader through a journey of love, pain, and reinvention – all through the eyes of a comical heroine called Dolores Price.

Dolores is a thirteen-year-old, wise-mouthed adolescent teenager who is wounded by the fact that she needs to grow up.

Rolling into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is determined to work on being the best version of herself.

A once fragile child turned hard-edged cynic, she is a tough-to-love character and yet so relatable at the same time. You will never forget Dolores Price.

5. The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors is a Los Angeles Times Bestseller and a Finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

Set in the early 1900s, a young woman named January Scaller embarks on a journey of self-discovery after she finds a mysterious book that carries the scent of other worlds.

The book tells a tale of secret doors, love, adventure, and danger. Each page she turns speaks of impossible truths about the world, which are only too familiar to January as she realizes that her own life is not too different from the one she is reading.

If you’re looking for a book to get lost in after a break up, then this novel by Alix E. Harrow is one you won’t be able to put down in a hurry.

6. Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen, Book 1) John Gwynne

Malice is the first book of a series of acclaimed epic fantasy novels by John Gwynne.

It is a tale of greed, ambition, and betrayal in a world in which ancient monsters are reawakening, and the war to end all wars is about to break loose.

This epic fantasy novel is the ideal choice for a book to read after a break up because it will transport you into a world so fantastic, so magical, that you can’t possibly compare it to your own.

If you need a place to escape to after things fall apart, allow John Gwynne to take you there.

7. Milk and Honey Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is one of the most iconic poets of the 21st Century, and her New York Times bestseller book of poems, Milk and Honey, is one of her finest collections.

It is a collection of poetry and prose about survival, the experience of love, loss, violence, abuse, and above all, femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters that each serve a different theme. Each chapter takes the reader on a journey through the most bitter-sweet moments in Kapur’s life, as she finds tenderness in the times that were tough.

8. Why We Broke Up Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up is a story about Min Green who is breaking up with her boyfriend, Slaterton, by writing him a letter and giving him a box.

The box contains the secrets to why they broke up – two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a box of matches, a protractor, some books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a motel room comb.

And every other intimate item they collected over the course of their heartbreaking relationship, as well as a heart-wrenching letter of goodbye.

As each item after item is accounted for, the box will also be dumped.

This beautifully written and captivating story captures what it’s like to have romance during your teenage years, where what you want and what you need are not always the same thing. If you are getting over your first break up, this is the story for you.

Non-Fiction Books to Read After a Break Up

If you’ve just broken up with a serious relationship and you need some words of comfort, then these are some seriously insightful non-fiction books to read for a broken heart.

9. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia – Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love is the most iconic and beloved novel by the bestselling author of City of Girls and Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Gilbert talks about how she had everything she wanted in her thirties; a husband, a country home, and a successful career, but instead of feeling happy she felt unfulfilled.

This novel tells the story of how she left behind the “perfect life” to find her true self.
After a divorce, she traveled abroad, she seeks pleasure in Italy, love, and devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between spirituality and worldly enjoyment.

For anyone looking to find wisdom in their loneliness, this is the best novel to read after a break up.

10. The Quest for Redefining Oneself Alka Sharma

“Fear never dies with age if you keep on remaining ignorant about the cause. No matter how old you become, it keeps on growing with you unless and until you find a way to counter it.” – Alka Sharma.

This book might not be about breaking up, but it is about having a new perspective on life and starting new habits to live with more fulfillment.

It talks about how life keeps on testing us and throwing new challenges our way, and the only way to overcome these obstacles is to face them head-on.

This novel by Alka Sharma aims to explain the key ideas that lead to a more content, successful, and balanced life.

View it on:

11. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World – Eric Weiner

This part travel memoir, part humorous self-help book, is a whimsical and relatable story of how happiness is not found in what life throws at you, but WHERE.

Eric Wiener marvels at how people in other cultures from around the world find happiness in different ways.

In The Geography of Bliss, Wiener mixes his inspirations from years of travel with psychology and science, to find what really makes people happy.

If his book doesn’t cheer you up after a break up, it will at least have you itching to explore new adventures across the world and hopefully give you a sunnier outlook on life.

12. The Modern Break Up – Daniel Chidiac

After a sudden end to another relationship, Ameilia is once again facing conflicting thoughts and emotions.

As she reflects on her life and what dating means to the modern world, she finds the answers she is looking for through a new male friend who reveals the way guys “really think.”

This new revelation makes her even more determined to find a relationship more real.

Chidiac takes the reader on a journey full of truths about dating, the philosophy of separations, and love. It is truly an eye-opening read for anyone going through a breakup.

13. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook For Living – Dalai Lama

If you’re looking to understand the art of happiness post-breakup, who else to enlighten you than the Dalai Lama? This multi-million, bestselling guide to happiness, is a Buddhist guide to finding happiness.

When you think of the Dalai Lama, you always picture him with a smile, a laugh, or a peaceful contentedness with oneself.

As the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, he has experienced the loss of his entire country, and yet still manages to find happiness.

Want to know his secret? In The Art of Happiness, he’ll tell you that happiness is not a feeling but a journey. And in this guide, he reveals not only how to get there, along with Dr. Howard Cutler, through conversations, stories, and meditation practices.

For those looking to find happiness after a break up, this book also covers how to feel happiness after loss, relationships, and how to overcome life’s obstacles to find inner peace.

Best Self Help Books to Read After a Break Up

Choosing a self help book to get you through a break up is not a bad idea, especially if you feel you have lost your soul mate and you need some advice.

Breaking up is hard – you suddenly have a new life without someone, and so your mind and body grieve for the relationship and struggle to comprehend this new life…

Okay, that’s enough philosophy from me. Here are some of the best books to read after a breakup from actual experts on the topic!

14. When Things Fall Apart Pema Chödrön

If you’re asking yourself, how can we live when everything seems to fall apart? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might not be what you expect.

In When Things Fall Apart, her most beloved and acclaimed work, Chödrön shows that moving towards a painful situation and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways you cannot imagine.

She takes her wisdom from traditional Buddhist practices, and this novel offers life-changing ideas and tools for transforming suffering and negative ideas into a place where you can live with ease and even joy.

If your heart is broken, this book will fix it.

15. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of the best answers given by The Rumpus’s Dear Sugar advice columns, as well as some never-seen-before pieces.

Cheryl Strayed reminds her readers that even though life can be hard, it can be great.

If your lover cheated on you or you’ve lost a great relationship, Cheryl Strayed is the person that thousands of people in your shoes turn to for advice.

But rather than shooting for advice columns, you can find all the answers you need in her book.

It is elegantly written, both informative and empathetic, and follows topics of anxiety, guilt and shame, jealousy, and loss of focus on reality.

16. All About Love: New Visions – Bell Hooks

All About Love is a New York Times bestselling and classic novel series by feminist icon, Bell Hooks. New Visions is the first of a trilogy of books, that reveals what causes a polarized society.

She shares her truth about love, caring, compassion and strength.

Her philosophy speaks of how people are divided, and that society fails to show how to learn to love. 

Her ideas bring down the cultural paradigm that love is infused with intimacy and desire, and that a new path to love is needed. One that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for each of us as one.

If you’re looking for a new philosophical outlook on your break up, this novel is enchanting and insightful.

17. F*CK Him! Nice Girls Always Finish Single Brian ‘Keephimattracted’ Nox

Judging by the title, you can already tell that this is going to be a great read. Brian ‘Keephimattracted’ Nox talks about how so many women get into trouble with their love lives and that those troubles can be avoided if they simply said: “fxck him.”

He talks about how women are too nice and compliant to their men, especially when they don’t deserve it.

This book is full of words of wisdom from a dating coach. And even if you find you don’t fully agree with his views, as you’ll find it truly awe-inspiring and there are some insightful words of solace in there.

This is a book for any women out there who always believe they are giving everything and getting nothing in return. For those who can accept their own flaws and work on them.

For those who need to find the strength to move on and look for Mr. Right, not Mr. Convenient. A truly inspiring read.

View it on:

18. Why Him? Why Her? How to Find and Keep Lasting Love – Helen Fisher

Helen Fisher, one of the world’s leading experts on romantic love, shares in her novel Why Him? Why Her? how a better understanding of yourself will help you find, and keep your ideal love.

In this fascinating and informative book, you’ll learn the key to finding true desire and attachment. Driven by biology, Fisher explains how we are attracted to people who are both a mirror of ourselves and complement our own personality type.

Drawing from her study of 40,000 men and women, she has revealed how people fall into four different personality types and how you can identify your own type. She then talks about how each type matches, or doesn’t match, with one other.

If you’re someone who believes that love is a science and not fate, then this book is for you. Based on entirely new research, this book will change your understanding of why you love him (or her) and whether or not your chemistry is aligned.

It might just help you realize that the one you lost, isn’t the right partner for you, after all.

19. The Art of Thinking ClearlyRolf Dobelli

The Art of Thinking Clearly is a novel by world-class thinker and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli, as he uses his eye-opening psychology and reasoning to help people make better choices, in all aspects of their lives, not just with relationships.

In this epic novel, Dobelli explores why people invest so much time in something that just isn’t worth it. This is an example of cognitive bias or simple errors we all make in day-to-day thinking.

However, knowing how to spot them and avoid them will eventually allow you to make better decisions.

This book follows a thought process that is simple and clear to follow, and yet it will ultimately change the way you think and transform your decision-making.

If you are someone who feels they are always making the wrong choices, especially when picking a partner, then this book might enlighten you on a whole new level.

20. Worthy Human: Because You Are the Problem and Solution – Tracy Litt

In this insightful novel, Tracy Litt takes you on a journey to find your self-worth. She argues that the feeling of self-worth, or lack thereof, is impeding your ability to live your best life.

When you accept and believe that you are worthy, everything changes.

Worthy Human will help you find your personal power and discover a new way to live. It teaches you how to run your mind and access your power of choice, so you can eventually live your best life.

It talks about how you must love and accept yourself, so you can embrace that you are both the problem and the solution. So get out of your own way and start being you!

21. Wisdom of a Broken Heart: How to Turn the Pain of a Breakup into Healing, Insight, and New Love – Susan Piver

Wisdom of a Broken Heart is a page-turning breakups novel by The New York Times bestselling author Susan Piver. It is a practical and compassionate guide to how to emerge from a relationship bolder and happier.

Piver talks about how when a relationship ends, typical recommendations to process the feeling of a broken heart such as keeping busy, moving on, and then forgetting about them, etc may not actually be healthy or helpful.

Piver reveals how heartbreak creates an opportunity for genuine emotional and spiritual transformation, where you can actually come out the other side stronger, and capable of loving again with a renewed faith in people and love.

Using her own experiences, Piver is an emotional novel that speaks with understanding and condolence, as well as a uniform message of “you’re going to be ok”, which when we are in pain, is exactly what you need to hear.

This is the relatable advice you need to hear after breakups, especially if you’re going through a divorce or the end of a serious relationship.

22. If He’s So Great, Why Do I Feel So Bad? Recognizing and Overcoming Subtle Abuse – Avery Neal

I end my list of the most healing post breakup books. Not all relationships are happy ones, and even if you have been through a tough time in that relationship, finding a new place in the world can be difficult and daunting.

This insightful read by Avery Neal talks about how to recognize subtle abuse and how to get over it. Sometimes it can be easy to look at our relationships as healthy relationships until things fall apart, and then you think “hang on, this ain’t right.”

If this is you, and you need some help understanding whether your relationship was abusive and not good for you, then If He’s So Great, Why Do I Feel So Bad is the book for you.

Written with compassion, empathy, and emotional support, this post-breakup book will not only offer advice to get you back on the path of recovery but give you examples of habits to tell if a person isn’t right for you.

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books to read after a breakup

Final Thoughts on Best Books to Read After a Breakup

So there you have it, my top recommendations for the best books to read after a breakup.

Whether you’re going through a divorce or you’ve just broken up with your first love, I hope that you managed to find something on this list of books to read after a breakup to help you on your road to recovery

Did I miss anything on my list? Let me know in the comments and help other readers know what helped you the most!

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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