Here’s a list that will surely leave you in tears.
Usually, when you think of heart-wrenchingly beautiful M2M romance novels, Call Me By Your Name comes to mind. But what if I told you there are more novels out there as good as (if not better than) André Aciman’s opus?
Fair warning, though, some of the books on this list revolve around sensitive themes like abuse, death, self-harm, and suicide–not to mention absolute existential dread.
1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Although this book is a favorite of mine, it broke me. I couldn’t read anything a couple of months after I finished it. It was just that good.
This book will make you fall in love many times over–with Achilles, with Patroclus and his love for Achilles, and the idea of growing up with the one you love. If you know anything about the Iliad, you know what happens to Achilles. In this book, however, you will be surprised. (Order a copy here.)
2. Swimming In The Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski
This is one of the most quiet yet gut-wrenching books on this list. It revolves around the political climate of 1980s-era Poland. But don’t let that prevent you from reading it. Tomasz Jedrowski’s novel doesn’t lecture readers on politics but shows how love can transcend opposing political beliefs.
Put this book on your must-read list if you’re looking for a book that’s rife with tension–political, romantic, and otherwise.
3. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
This book made me see how scary it can be to fall in love. It begins with the death of Griffin’s first love Theo, who dies in a tragic drowning accident. This book will hit you like a truck if you’re a sentimental person. I had a hard time holding back my tears with this one, and I’m willing to bet you would.
It’s worth noting that Griffin has OCD, and the way Adam Silvera portrayed him comes across as authentic because Silvera has OCD himself. (Order a copy here.)
4. They Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera
This book is about Mateo and Rufus, who only have one day to live. How do they know that? Well, an app called “Death Cast” told them. In their world, that’s a thing. They then spend the rest of their lives together, finding friendship and more in each other.
On a “pain scale,” I would say this hit me in a heartrending way because I fell in love with the characters. After all, they’re super relatable, which made me hope for the opposite of the title. (Order a copy here.)
5. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
I swear to you this is the last Adam Silvera book on this list, LMAO. One great thing about Adam Silvera’s writing is that he has a way of making things light even when he writes about weighty subjects.
This story talks about sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto and his struggle to find happiness. When he meets a guy named Thomas, Aaron discovers things about himself that he doesn’t like. That’s why he eventually tries to have his memories wiped (which, again, is a thing in this book).
There are a lot of sensitive topics in this book, but it’s still an excellent read and possibly one of the most diverse books on this list. (Order a copy here.)
6. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Art. Actual art.
If you like epistolary novels (ones that consist of letters), this will float your boat. It’s about a kid named Little Dog who writes letters to his mother in Vietnam. Unfortunately, she’s illiterate, which means she can’t read them. That makes the story all the more painful.
Speaking of the story, it may seem like there’s not much of a plot. But there’s one, I swear–it’s just not in your face, and you may need to read it a couple of times before you get it. That said, it’s worth a read. I keep a copy with me at times because the poetic way it’s written makes me feel some type of way. (Order a copy here.)
7. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
If pain were a genre, this would be its defining material. This is possibly the most triggering one of all the books on this list. You need to be emotionally and mentally prepared to read it.
The book is about four college classmates who move to New York. As the story progresses, they deal with things like addiction and abuse. Hanya Yanagihara is good at making you feel the characters’ emotions. Try this one if you’re looking to get emotionally wrecked by a book. (Order a copy here.)
Art Macky Arquilla