“Top Ten Tuesday” is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.
Because this week’s topic is a Top Ten Tuesday Freebie, I thought I’d discuss:
Top Ten Ships That Broke My Heart (Just A Little)
Maybe something inside of me is simply masochistic, but I often find myself falling in love with ships that are somewhat doomed from the start. I see it more in television than I do in books, but I seem to have a natural proclivity for any sort of couple that is fated to experience enormous hardships, to suffer, to make my heart feel ALL THE FEELINGS until there is nothing left to do but cry into my pillow. Sometimes the two actually end up together; sometimes it’s impossible. Each time, I’m left reaching for the tissue boxes and wondering WHY these amazing, perfectly-suited people can’t find the happiness they deserve.
(I’ll try to avoid it, but because I’m talking about the fates of couples, SPOILERS are abound.)
|“You, yes, you, linger inside my heart,
The same you who stopped us before we could start.”
Jessica and Marcus are that couple you root for from the beginning. Sure, he’s a little difficult to understand and he has a terrible reputation, and their first real encounter happened to be him asking her to pee in a cup for him, but as Sloppy Firsts goes on, you can’t help but want them to be together. The two of them are sarcastic, hilarious, intelligent, and despite the fact that they’re different people, they’re able to connect on a level most people can’t — in high school. What’s special about the Jessica Darling series is that you’re able to see Marcus and Jessica grow. The nerdy poetry, the adorable and witty converstions, their endearing awkwardness is still present in all the subsequent books, but the two of them experience so many real-life relationship issues (long distance, cheating, doubt, miscommunication) that the journey to the end isn’t smooth. I’m not the biggest fan of Charmed Thirds or Fourth Comings because of the things Jessica and Marcus endure (and the last half of Fourth Comings always makes me cry for them), but even then, I had faith that somehow they’d be able to overcome it all.
(Spoiler alert: they did, and Perfect Fifths is beautiful.)
|“He was the fantasy of every girl in the country. He was so far out of realm, her world, that she should have stopped thinking about him the second the door had closed. Should stop thinking about him immediately. Should never think about him again, except maybe as a client — and her prince.
And yet, the memory of his fingers against her skin refused to fade.”
If you can’t tell from my review, I might have screamed a little bit after finishing Cinder. Cinder and Kai’s friendship (along with all the crazy Lunar queen/plague stuff) is what kept me turning the pages late into the night, trying to reach the end of the novel where, finally, the two of them could just be together. I’ll admit that I thought the road would be relatively easy for them. Yes, Cinder’s a cyborg and considered a less-than-second-class citizen, and yes, Kai is the Crown Prince, but their story is also a Cinderella retelling, so at one point, after the ball, the shoe was supposed to fit and the boy was supposed to get the girl. (Usually, you think the girl gets the boy in Cinderella tales, but here, Kai does the chasing, all awkward and adorable and boyish-like. It was too easy to ship them.) However, Marissa Meyer’s novel is filled with intricacies and details and… complications, and at the end of Book One, Cinder is detained and Kai is
probably and unwillingly in the clutches of Levana trying to do what is right for the kingdom.
|“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too.”|
If I Stay is a huge boatload of emotion, from beginning to end. The book is about Mia, who is in a coma after surviving a car crash that killed the rest of her family, and her boyfriend Adam, who understands the significance of her loss but loves her immensely as well. Given the nature of the story, with Mia trying to deal with her own grief through her memories of her mom, dad, and brother, and Adam grieving for her family and for her, it’s easy to see why If I Stay stole my heart and then threw it in a blender. Though I loved the ending, I’m glad Gayle Forman wrote a sequel. Where She Went delved deeper into Mia and Adam’s feelings, allowing them to reconnect after anxiety-filled, traumatic grief, until finally, their hearts (and mine) started to mend.
|“Every time he brushes me with his fingers, time seems to tether for a second, like it is in danger of dissolving. The whole world is dissolving, I decide, except for us. Us.”|
The only reason why Alex and Lena, who made my heart soar and then Lauren Oliver blew it to smithereens, aren’t ranked higher on this list is the chance that they still have with one more book left in the series. For a book banning love, Delirium does an amazing job describing the feelings I associate with first love (and in Alex and Lena’s case, real love), that slow-yet-fast, beautiful freefall into the unknown. I enjoyed all of this couple’s encounters — the way they met (Oh Alex, why does your mischeivous cow rampage make you seem so attractive?), their honest discussions, the fact that he helped her see everything that was wrong with their world and gave her the courage to fight for what she felt, for what felt right. Readers of this series will know exactly why this book requires tissue boxes and chocolates for every reading. The ending is brutal, and the final scene in its sequel Pandemonium doesn’t help either. But my fingers are crossed that through the struggle and tears, love will prevail and Lena and Alex will live happily ever after.
(For more on Alex/Lena, you can find my Delirium review here.)
|“That’s where it happened, somewhere in between declensions and Lucretian soliloquies and cheesy ‘Ancient Romans Go to Market’ skits, Chris and I fell in like, and Chris and Adriane — with my Cyranoesque assistance — fell in love.”|
If you can’t tell from the quote, Nora/Chris is a ship that never exists. I fell in love with him as fast as Nora did, from the adorable way he introduced himself to her to the adorable way they continued their acquaintance-ship (and then friendship). Until they became best friends, so close that they’re able to understand each other without having to explain every single thought. Though Chris isn’t in the book for long, his interactions with Nora and his history with Nora, and the fact that they bonded over Latin (at first), of all things (I love ancient Latin so much), made it easy to fall for them. Unfortunately, Chris is either serial dating or attached to Nora’s other friend, and deep connection or not, they’re never together in the way that I want them to be (except they are – they just don’t realize that it’s called ‘dating’). (Other… issues arise as well, but they’re too huge of a spoiler for me to give away, spoiler warning or not.)
|“I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.
“Augustus,” I said.
“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
If you know anything about John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, then you’ll know that this book is a roller-coaster of heartbreaks. Hazel has terminal cancer, and as adorkable and quirky and intriguing as she finds Augustus Waters, she doesn’t want him to get attached because the stars are against them — she’s going to die and they’re already doomed. Watching Augustus and Hazel try to fight their feelings (both out of respect for each other), deal with an insensitive broken author (who wrote a book that touched their hearts), and manage a relationship on top of their medical conditions/disabilities is both beautiful and painful. It’s clear to see that The Fault in Our Stars can only end one way, but getting to that ending is still surprising. It makes no sense, but you’re going to be astonished that even after all those tears, you’re somehow teary once more.
|“Endymion… You are my first love… my only love. Even if we’re reborn in another life we’ll find eachother… and then…we’ll fall in love again.”|
The only reason why Usagi and Mamoru aren’t number one on this list is because by the end of the series, they’re happy
and alive in a way that the next three ships can’t be. Despite their placement here, they’re still the couple I ship the most. Why? Because they’re soulmates. In every sense of the word. Hell, they’re the soulmates that other soulmates write songs about and hope to emulate. How can you argue with two people who fell in love, despite the fact that their kingdoms were at war, and still tried to make the relationship work? Grappling with love and duty, Endymion and Serenity are the prince and princess of my heart, and the way their story ends – with him killed as he tried to save her and her plunging a sword into her heart once her lover, friends, and kingdom fell to ruins — destroys my heart in ways I can’t even name. When the story resumes, the two of them are reborn as Usagi and Mamoru, once again two souls searching for each other but this time with the strength to save the world side-by-side and persevere. Unfortunately, the evil that destroyed them in the past is still at large. Throw in some brain-washing arcs, more evil women with a penchant for the prince, trouble from the future, creepy men with creepy agendas, and… death, and you have Usagi/Mamoru in one heart-moving nutshell. This is a ship you’ll fall in love with once and never abandon.
|“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!” Hold him off, without a wand in his hand! [Voldemort] laughed before casting the curse. “Avada Kedavra!” The green light filled the cramped hallway, it lit the pram pushed against the wall, it made the banisters glow like lighting rods, and James Potter fell like a marionette whose strings were cut…|
Lily and James are the ship I cry about all the time, not only because they’re absolutely perfect (for each other), but because of the way their lives ended. It seems a little strange to ship two people so strongly when they’re already together and they’re already dead when the series begins. But how can you not when you consider their history? James is that flirtatious, popular, goofy, intelligent, athletic, loyal boy who became so nervous when this seemingly perfect, pretty girl (whose best friend hates your guts) would walk by that he’d fumble with his words and say the wrong thing. Lily is that girl who didn’t seem to fit into either of her worlds — not fully a Muggle, not considered a wizard because of her Muggle-born status — and didn’t understand why that ridiculous, un-serious boy (who somehow happens to do just as well as her in their classes) insisting on pestering her, especially since he doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. I love to think about how these different people finally realized that they had each other all wrong (that they’d both matured over the years), that James wasn’t an ass and Lily was someone he could actually befriend. But then I remember that as charming as their story is, it ended with the two of them dead (betrayed by someone they trusted and thought was their friend!) — James because he took on a dark wizard without a wand (knowing he’d die) just to allow his wife and son to escape, Lily because she sacrificed her life for her son — and I can’t help but feel all the feelings again.
(For more on Lily/James, I rambled about them once on tumblr here.)
|“Finnick!” Something between a shriek and a cry of joy. A lovely if somewhat bedraggled young woman-dark tangled, sea-green eyes-runs towards us. “Finnick!” And suddenly, it’s as if there’s no one in the world. They collide, enfold, lose their balance, and slam against a wall, where they stay. Clinging into one being. Indivisible. No one seeing them could doubt their love.|
Finnick Odair’s story (about his Hunger Games experience and how he was forced into prostitution by President Snow) breaks my heart on its own, but throw in his relationship with Annie Cresta and I am a teary mess. I spent all of Catching Fire trying to figure out why Finnick was the way he was (flirtatious, defeatist, kind of hopeless). When I learned about the way he fell in love with a girl he had to mentor for the traumatizing 70th Hunger Games in District 4, I knew they’d be a pairing I’d adore. Sadly, happiness is hard to come by in The Hunger Games. It’s difficult to hear about Annie’s descent into insanity, and it’s difficult to watch the Capitol do anything to keep these two apart. (It’s also really difficult to read what happens to them after they find each other again in Mockingjay, but… I don’t really want to talk about it. *sniffles* )
|“When I dream, I dream of him. For several nights now he’s come to me, waving from a distant shore as if he’s been waiting patiently for me to arrive. He doesn’t utter a word, but his smile says everything: I’ve missed you.”|
There are few ships that break my heart as much as Kartik and Gemma, but admittedly, you won’t know why until you read the final book in the trilogy, The Sweet Far Thing. When I think of this ship, the song “At the Beginning” from the Anastasia animated film soundtrack immediately comes to mind. Kartik and Gemma started out as two people who randomly ran into each other on the day her mother died. Then she discovers her powers and they meet each other again. And again. And again. Kartik’s brotherhood, the Rakshana, has assigned him to keep an eye on her and prevent her from entering the Realms, afraid of what her powers could unleash there (at one point, they even order him to kill her). Somewhere along the way, he finds himself unable to get the strange red-headed girl out of his mind. So instead of her enemy, he becomes her unofficial guardian, still watching her but aiding her whenever possible.
Kartik/Gemma is my top heartbreaking ship because they don’t have a chance, even a little bit, of ever being with each other the way all the other couples did. Actually, they were never even together for brief moments like the other ships, always waiting for a future that never arrives because Kartik sacrifices his own life to save her. At the end, he only appears in Gemma’s dreams, waving to her as a tree, waiting for her in the afterlife.
Which ships break your heart (even a little)?