Bad Love

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

If you can't stand conversation hearts because you prefer your hearts black and cold, this is the list for you. This is love gone bad. Romance gone wrong. And the perfect antidote to those with hearts in their eyes.

  • Bad Romance

    2017 by Demetrios, Heather

    Drawing from the author's own experience of a toxic relationship, Bad Romance is a dark, realistic look at dating violence and abusive relationships, a story that is best suited for older high school readers and adults. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Decision to Leave


    A stunning neo-noir from South Korea. It’s a slow burn for sure, with an obsessive love at the center. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Sour

    2021 by Rodrigo, Olivia

    The perfect angsty pop album for when love goes sour. From energetic and bitter to soft and reflective, it's no wonder that this debut record quickly became known for its recognition of negative emotions that people are often shamed for. Suggested by Elise.

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  • It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History

    2015 by Wright, Jennifer

    If you think your breakup went wobbly, why not wallow in 13 of the worst breakups ever! This breezy, winningly irreverent read cozies up alongside love and heartbreak over the ages and beckons the brokenhearted to climb out of bed, open the shades, and rejoice. It could have been far, far worse! Suggested by Chris.

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  • Marriage Story


    Powerful performances by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson really bring life to the many issues, nuances, and heartbreak that are spread throughout the film. Suggested by Paul.

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  • Rumours

    2013 by Fleetwood Mac

    Many know the backstory by now. With members of the band going through a lot of romantic turmoil and heartache during recording, this is one of the most definitive breakup albums--even decades after its release. Feel the feelings and move forward. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • My Lovely Wife

    2019 by Downing, Samantha

    It's the typical love story. Meet. Fall in love. Move to the suburbs. Have a family. Start killing people to spice up your mundane life. The couple that murders together, stays together. Isn't that how the story goes? Suggested by Becca.

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  • Phantom Thread


    I'm not sure if love goes "wrong" in this typically intense Paul Thomas Anderson drama, but it sure as heck isn't what most people would think of as "right." A 1950's fashion designer (Daniel Day Lewis) finds a muse, lover, and eventual wife in a much younger waitress (Vicky Krieps). The old saw that everybody needs somebody has never been expressed in quite such an...unsettling way. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • Igor

    2019 by Tyler, the Creator

    This album is a roller coaster of emotion. It starts with someone in love but slowly evolves into love gone bad and, eventually, as emotions wane, there is some resolve. I can't think of many other albums that will take you through the entire course of a relationship from love to breakup to hesitant resolution. Suggested by Becca.

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  • History Is All You Left Me

    2017 by Silvera, Adam

    Griffin has lost Theo, his best friend and first love, twice. Told in two timelines, the history of before, where we see Griffin and Theo fall in and out of love in a well developed romance, and the now, as Griffin narrates to Theo his heartbreaking journey through the grieving process, highlighted by disorientation, resentment, unhealthy relationships, and selfishness. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Blue Valentine


    The chemistry is undeniable between Dean and Cindy, until it's not. Blue Valentine jumps between the good and the not-so-good times during their marriage, and in a way, puts the viewer in a place to figure out what went wrong. Suggested by Paul.

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  • Red: Taylor's Version

    2021 by Swift, Taylor

    Taylor Swift has become widely known for turning all of her relationship plights into award-winning hits. Her album explores ‘bad love’ and the steps it takes to heal. Suggested by Amber.

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  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    2012 by Flynn, Gillian

    Deception. Lies. Missing person. This popular suspense thriller has all the red flags of a toxic relationship. Read the book or watch the movie. Either way, you are in for a wild ride. Recommended by Michelle.

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  • Cold war


    Filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski loosely based this post-war story on his parents' lives. The movie follows two lovers "condemned" to be together for better or worse. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Star-crossed

    2021 by Musgraves, Kacey

    There's a long tradition in music of post-divorce albums and this is Musgraves'. Her previous album, Golden Hour, was a disco-infused celebration of her new love and marriage that was both a critical and commercial success. Now, with "Golden hour faded black" Musgraves grapples with the dissolution of that marriage and works through her sadness in this melancholic slow burn of an album. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • La La Land


    Although the musical numbers, the Los Angeles backdrop, and the charming performances by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone take center stage, this film beautifully presents a story of love that wasn't meant to be and the ripples that can be felt even after it's done. Suggested by Paul.

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  • The Vegetarian: A Novel

    2015 by Han, Kang

    If you are looking for a novel that is the polar opposite of a love story, this is it. On the surface, it is the story of multiple relationships destroyed by a woman's choice to become a vegetarian. All of the trigger warnings for this novel that is part domestic fiction, part transformation parable, and just fully unlike anything else I've ever read. Suggested by Becca.

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  • Heathers


    Funny, dark, and dramatic, Heathers takes love to the extreme when two teenagers start cleverly murdering the popular kids at school. Sometimes we're better off without the ones we think we love. Suggested by Elise.

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  • Disintegration

    2010 by Cure

    One of the soundtracks to my late 80's teenage years, this slow unraveling of an album finds Robert Smith turning his own depression (he was about to turn, gulp, 30!) into despondent gold. Sweeping synths, intricate guitar play, and lyrics highlighting the (ahem) disintegration of relationships make for a luxurious sonic bath for the lovelorn. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Darr


    Darr is one of those rare Yash Chopra films that infuses violence and obsessive and toxic love into the average Bollywood romance. Shah Rukh Khan is chillingly good and a screen stealer as the villain Rahul Mehra, which helped launched his Bollywood career. Suggested by Rummanah.

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