Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was a freebie! So of course I’m back with a post about sad things.
Here are a few scenes from books I’ve read that absolutely destroyed me.
Note the number of Neil Gaiman books included.
(Many spoilers ahead)
All the Feels by Olivia Dade
(CW: domestic abuse)
Because of his ADHD, Alex assumes that he is a bad person whose selfishness causes a lot of problems.
After Lauren breaks up with him, Alex visits his mom in Florida and breaks down.
He has been carrying the responsibility for his mom’s abusive relationship for a over a decade.
He cares so much about his mom, his friends, and his employees, and he still sees himself as basically worthless.
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
(CW: domestic abuse, emotional abuse, rape)
I knew from the beginning that Prince Taam, Jainan’s late husband, sucked.
During the flashbacks, I picked up on many red flags indicating emotional abuse.
When Kiem finally learns the truth about Taam, he finds out that Taam was also physically and sexually abusive.
Jainan, an ABUSE SURVIVOR, is ashamed that his husband now knows how “weak” he is for “allowing” this to happen.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The climax of The Ocean at the End of the Lane sees Lettie Hempstock sacrifice herself to save the protagonist.
Years later, the protagonist asks Lettie’s grandma if her sacrifice was worth it.
This is exactly how I experience regret.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This whole BOOK hurt me.
It was hard to pick just one moment.
I thought about the end, where Shadow meets the original Odin.
I also considered his confrontation with Hinzelmann.
Oh, and let’s not forget Shadow being manipulated and sacrificed by his OWN DAD.
I decided on the moment where Shadow offers to bring Laura back to life for good and she asks him to end her life instead.
I’m still not okay.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The idea that the Antichrist is a well-meaning eleven-year-old kid really messed me up.
I grew up believing all people, myself included, were inherently evil and useless.
Adam gets a lot of things wrong, but he’s just a kid. He’s doing his best.
The part that REALLY got me was this quote from the final chapter:
He couldn’t see why people made such a fuss about people eating their silly old fruit anyway, but life would be a lot less fun if they didn’t. And there was never an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it.Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
I don’t know, man. People suck and maybe they’re not all bad.
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Joaquin believes that people will abandon him if they ever see who he truly is.
He thinks his foster parents are trying to get rid of him and ends up apologizing to them for being a waste of resources.
THIS KID SEES HIMSELF AS A WASTE OF RESOURCES.
The Comeback by Ella Berman
(CW: child sexual abuse)
Every single instance of Able Yorke isolating Grace broke my heart.
He alienated every person in Grace’s life until he was the only person she had. Grace spent years believing she deserved Able’s abuse.
Also, ABLE’S WIFE ENABLED HIS ABUSE. I HATE EVERYTHING.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
Yes, I am including two books from the same series because of the emotional devasation they wrought.
FIRST UP: HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD.
In the climax, Bryce has to make the Drop alone.
DANIKA’S SPIRIT COMES FROM THE AFTERLIFE TO ANCHOR BRYCE.
SHE GIVES BRYCE HER REMAINING LIFE FORCE TO ENSURE BRYCE MAKES IT.
Bryce spent two years thinking she’d never see Danika again only to SEE AND SPEAK TO HER ONE LAST TIME.
House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
This will be a super mega spoiler for the recently released House of Sky and Breath, so if you haven’t read it yet…GET OUT OF HERE.
Also I’m cheating and choosing two moments.
First, Ruhn falls for his contact on the inside Agent Daybright.
He goes to the Eternal City to rescue her only for her to rescue him…because she’s actually the dreaded Lidia Cervos.
Ruhn decides there is too much blood on Lidia’s hands for him to ever trust her again.
This is my favorite romance trope and also the one that destroys me every time I read it.
Skipping forward a bit, our heroes are taken prisoner and promised grievous bodily harm. Our friend Lidia, though, unlocks Bryce’s shackles so she can escape.
Bryce grabs Hunt’s hand and we get THIS crushing passage:
Bryce said nothing. Just held his hand–for the last time, he realized as the elevator shot up through the crystal palace.
He was holding his mate’s hand for the last time.”
Would you believe there are MORE painful moments that follow this one?? This book messed me up for GOOD.
All’s Well by Mona Awad
All’s Well‘s protagonist comes out on the other side of a manic episode both sadder and wiser.
When you’ve survived something awful, there’s a moment where the reality of your situation hits you all at once.
The feeling you have is not quite pain and not quite relief.
The conclusion of this book captured that moment.
Would you believe writing this bummed me out? It did!
I love each of these books very much and also strongly recommend that you check out content warnings before reading any of them.
Happy (or not) reading.