Books That Had Us Drinking to Cope: Literary Heartbreaks and Hangovers

Discover the books that had us navigating through literary heartbreaks with a mix of tears, laughter, and a few well-deserved drinks along the way.

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We’ve all been there — curled up with a book that grips your soul and refuses to let go. Some stories leave us smiling; others leave us in suspense; but then there are those special books that leave us emotionally wrecked, clutching a drink to numb the pain. These literary masterpieces weave such powerful tales of heartbreak, loss, and betrayal that the only way to cope is with a glass of wine or a stiff cocktail. Get ready to dive into a list of books that had us reaching for the bottle because sometimes a good story just hurts so good.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

I hate love triangles with a passion, so I needed painkillers for this one. It wasn’t a bad book by any means; it was beautifully written, in fact. The story’s about Xingyin, the hidden daughter of an exiled moon goddess, who embarks on a journey to protect her mother. Along the way, she gets tangled up in a love triangle with a prince and a captain of the guard.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan book cover

I couldn’t stand Prince Liwei halfway through the book. He just wouldn’t leave Xingyin alone, even when things between them weren’t on — on his terms, mind you. Despite that, Xingyin sways between him and Captain Wenzhi ad nauseam, and it literally gave me a headache. I was genuinely in a bad mood getting through the last section of the book, and all because I don’t like DNFing. I’m glad I finished it, but I won’t be re-reading anytime soon.

  • Gabriela Collazo, Editorial

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides book cover

I am pretty good at picking up on twists in stories but this one… It came out of nowhere and left me feeling duped. I needed a strong margarita after reading it.

  • Paige Ritson, editorial department

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King book cover

This is my favorite book of all time. There are A LOT of important characters in this book. I mean, way more than usual, okay? Stephen King has repeated many times that no book has ever taken him as long to write as The Stand, and a large part of the reason why was because of all these characters that had become fully known and integrated into the story, but he didn’t know what to do with them all when they got to where they were going. With as few spoilers as possible, I’ll just say that Stephen King once said that the easiest way to get unstuck with your story is to kill your darlings. Well, let’s just say that at one point in writing that big, thick book, he got himself unstuck in a massive way. I made so many frozen mango daiquiris that night!

  • Erin Dzielski, Editorial

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas book cover

We all know that SJM will emotionally devastate you. She kills the characters that she intentionally makes you love. Many of them tend to be side characters that become just as important to the overall plot as the MCs. But when she killed off one of my all-time favorite characters — and in such an emotionally charged way — I needed something to ease the pain. When I tell you I cried for five chapters, I’m underscoring the time. To top it all off, the pain has not lessened with time or rereads. I still bawl like a baby every time they die. I just hope I’m able to go out in such a heroic and epic fashion. Cheers to you, SJM! I put back an entire bottle of Moscato with each reread!

  • Kristi Eskew, Editorial

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

I was forewarned that this plot would be chaotic, but I was still absolutely shocked at the twists and turns Emezi included. Let’s just say our female lead, Feyi, made some questionable choices throughout the entirety of the novel. I’m all for interesting character development and romantic relationships, but this was on a new level. I audibly gasped at several of the big reveals throughout the book.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi book cover

Unconventional relationships aside, some of the things Feyi’s romantic partner says to her gave me the straight-up ick, so badly that I needed an entire bottle of whatever cheap Trader Joe’s wine I had available to me at that moment (such as calling her “sweetness”). One last ick I endured throughout this reading experience were some food-related sexual encounters. Feyi’s love interest is a professional chef, so let’s just say stuff went DOWN in the kitchen.

  • Oona Quinn, Outreach

Never Lie by Freida McFadden

I typically read romance books, but on occasion, when I need a break, I’ll pick up a psychological thriller because they really get my heart racing, and it is something new to get me out of a rut or reading slump. Freida McFadden has surprised me in the past with The Inmate, but Never Lie really shocked me to my core and made me pour myself some vodka. I grabbed my Smirnoff bottle and made myself a dirty Shirley Temple before continuing to read the book.

Never Lie by Freida McFadden book cover

There were so many twists and turns, the book was also very eerie, so it also made me a little jumpy as it talked about this renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Adrienne Hale, who mysteriously disappeared after publishing a book that talked about one of her patients’ traumas. The big reveal of what happened was incredibly shocking to me, even though I had been making guesses throughout the book, which I finished in one sitting because it was so captivating, nothing could have prepared me for the truth behind all the lies. Without revealing any spoilers, in the words of Freida McFadden: Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

  • Alexa Vergil, Editorial

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling book cover

My husband, who was three years sober at the time, had to get his Day One chip from an AA meeting all over again after he read the part where Dobby the Free Elf dies and mourned himself to sleep with whiskey.

  • Erin Dzielski, Editorial Department, (written on behalf of her spouse, Daniel Dzielski)

Books have an unparalleled ability to transport us to different worlds, make us feel deeply, and sometimes, leave us utterly shattered. The stories that bring us to tears and drive us to drink are often the ones that stay with us the longest. They remind us of the profound impact that literature can have on our hearts and minds. So, here’s to the books that made us cry, made us think, and made us drink. Cheers to the authors who aren’t afraid to break our hearts and to the readers brave enough to endure it. Remember, it’s not just a hangover — it’s a testament to the power of a truly unforgettable story.

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