Top Five… Books About Death and Grief

It’s not exactly a cheery topic, but I wanted to write about my favourite books which deal with death, and grief as a result of that. A lot of them are ones that a year ago I would have avoided (I was on a strict no contemporary diet!) but I’ve read some incredible books on the subject lately and wanted to share.

Warning: There may be a few spoilers ahead. Sorry!

Abbie Rushton

The death in this book happens before the story starts, and we see the effect it has on the protagonist. Megan’s grief and guilt make her close off on all fronts: to friends, her mother and even to herself, as she finds herself unable to speak. Her story is one on the road to acceptance and recovery and is a really touching one.

Sarah Benwell
This book is as much about life as it is about death. I liked how non-preachy it felt and, controversial though it may be, the ending felt very right to me, as did the friends reactions to it. The idea of the Suicide Club emails really helps to showcase different ideas on death.


Clare Furniss
This was on my Top Five last week as well but I couldn’t write this list without it. Again, it’s the raw honesty of the book and the way it shows Pearl’s grief that makes it so good. There’s nothing glamorous about it and there’s no closure as such, just the first steps on the road to acceptance.


Patrick Ness

This one’s a little different from the others, in that it’s the protagonists death we’re dealing with, and it may not even be their death (I know that’s confusing if you haven’t read it but it’s hard to explain). I enjoyed the idea of looking at life from death’s perspective, rather than the other way round.

Jandy Nelson

This book just blew me away in the way it dealt with death and Lennie’s grief. I felt this was one of the ones I related to the most. Her feelings of guilt at any sign of happiness, as if enjoying something was betraying her sister’s memory and belittling her death, was achingly familiar and so refreshing to read. 

Which books have you enjoyed (if that’s the right word?!) on the subject of death?