5 Powerful Books about Special Relationships

If you're anything like me, you love a good catharsis. (Seriously, my friends joke about how I love to cry.) These books will definitely give you that. Read on to discover five books that explore the meaningful relationships we build, break and rebuild with the people and things around us.

1. Rookie on Love, edited by Tavi Gevinson

Image source: Penguin Random House

Edited by Rookie magazine's editor-in-chief, this book is a series of 45 essays about friendship, romance, self-love and even the love we have for our pets. Essays include ones from Rookie's devoted readers and contributors, as well as beloved writers, artists, activists and musicians. (Janet Mock, Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Gabourey Sidibe, among others). Some essays will rip your heart out while others tenderly put it back, and I guarantee you’ll find one that sticks with you — I did.

2. Bluets by Maggie Nelson

Image source: Wave Books

Maggie Nelson is a lyric essayist, and in Bluets, she crafts a series of poignant, poem-like essays that meditate on love, loss and grief through her relationship with the color blue. These poems are raw, creative, memorable and unlike anything I have ever read before.

3. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnson

Image source: Penguin Random House

A modern retelling of the Shakespeare play The Winter's Tale — which contains the famous stage direction "exit, pursued by a bear" — this novel highlights an unforgettably supportive relationship between best friends. Hermione was a victim of sexual assault, but this story isn't a narrative of brokenness; rather, it is about healing, and what happens when people believe and validate a survivor.

4. The Unseen World by Liz Moore

Image source: LizMoore.net

In The Unseen World, young Ada Sibelius is lovingly raised by her eccentric computer scientist-father in Boston during the 1980s. When her father begins to experience the onset of dementia, Ada is only a child. Still, she is determined to continue to know and love her father. She becomes a kind of detective, dedicating her own life to uncovering the mystery of her father's life and work with computers.

5. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Image source: Abe Books

This novel — which consists of sixteen interlocking stories — chronicles the fractured relationships between four Chinese immigrant mothers and their Chinese-American daughters. It is simultaneously an insight into the lives of immigrants, a testament to strength, passion and endurance of women of color, as well as an honest look at the mistakes we make and lessons we learn in trying to maintain our families.

Cover image source: Pexels