About a year ago, I published the article, “Painfully Beautiful Book Dedications,” listing some of my favorite author dedications.
I had this idea when I was reading Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I always read the book dedications page as something interesting and personal but never did one hang onto me as much as this one did.
Because of it, I compiled a list of some of the best dedication pages.
Since I have been paying more and more attention to these remarkable introduction pages, there are even more that are noteworthy.
Unlike the epigraph, these don’t always have to do with the story. However, more times than not, knowing the subject matter or just reading the blurb can make the dedication more interesting or powerful.
If any of these spark your eye, take a quick look at a synopsis and then return to it; maybe it will have a greater effect.
Starting off with the same author as last year: Fredrik Backman.
Beartown by Frederik Backman
“For my grandmother, Saga Backman, who taught me to love sports. What a quiet life I would have lived without her. I hope that the big bar in heaven serves proper dry martinis, and that they always show Wimbledon on the big screen. I miss you. And for Neda Shafti-Backman, my funniest, smartest, most argumentative best friend, who picks me up when I need it, and keeps my feet on the ground when I deserve it. Asheghetam.”
Another long dedication, but this time with a hint of comedy is from none other than the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
“My dear James, You have always been one of the most faithful and kindly of my readers, and I was therefore seriously perturbed when I received from you a word of criticism. You complained that my murders were getting too refindanaemic, in fact. You yearned for a “good violent murder with lots of blood.” A murder where there was no doubt about its being murder! So this is your special story, written for you. I hope it may please. You affectionate sister-in-law, Agatha”
There are tons of dedications that are very sweet and emotional:
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
“To my mother the first reader, the first critic, the first fan. This is for you.”
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
“Dedicated to my daughters. For the times we’ve cried together, laughed together. And all the times in between.”
Verity by Colleen Hoover
“This book is dedicated to the only person this book could possibly be dedicated to. Tarryn Fisher, thank you for accepting the darkness in people as much as you accept their light.”
Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
“To my parents, for taking us to the lake And to Bob, for letting me go back.”
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
“For Kevin Ferreira, whose ideas and actions make the world a better place, and who taught me that we are all works in progress. Welcome to the family.”
Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo
“To my communities. To Awrad & Basma. You are my country.”
The Engineers Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood
“To all the readers and writers, without whom all is lost”
Live Your Life by Amanda Kloots, with Anna Kloots
“For Nick, Now you know your story. For Elvis, Now you have his story.”
Come Fly the World by Julia Cooke
“For my father and the window seats he saved for me.”
Son of Elsewhere by Elamin Abdelmahmoud
“For my parents, whose dreams I carry. For Emily, who lights my way home. For Anna, for your elsewhere.”
Many authors opt in for a short-but-sweet message:
Yolk by Mary H. K. Choi
“To Mike. For going first.”
Beach Read by Emily Henry
“For Joey: You are so perfectly my favorite person.”
Ruined by Lynn Nottage
“For Ruby Gerber. My Reason for optimism”
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“Gracias por la música, padre.”
This is also an opportunity for authors to provide even more strength to or gratitude for its readers. Here are some powerful dedications:
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
“To all the health care workers. And the care workers. Thank you.”
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
“For all of us both hurting & healing who choose to carry on”
Man Enough by Justin Baldoni
“For my dad. For my son. For all those brave enough to start the journey from their heads to their hearts. You are enough.”
The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar
“For those who name themselves.”
And…what you’ve been waiting for, some painfully beautiful dedications.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
“To the memory of Lale Sokolov. Thank you for trusting me to tell your and Gita’s story.”
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
“For those who need a reminder to make every day count. Shout-out to Mom for all the love and Cecilia for all the tough love. I’ve always needed both.”
Maurice by E. M. Forster
“Begun 1913. Finished 1914. Dedicated to a happier year.”
She is Haunted by Paige Clark
“For all the Elizabeths who have lived through this and more.”
To round it off once again on a light-hearted note, here are some of the funniest dedications:
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
“To Levi--You have great taste in music and your hugs are awkward. Never change.”
Lucky by Marissa Stapley
“This book is for my mother, Valerie (1951-2020), who taught me to be brave and resilient. But not how to grift; that, I had to research.”
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
“Noosha, this book isn’t for you. I already know which one will be for you, so you have to wait. This book is for Amanda, Dache’, Danielle, Jessica, Sareer, and Taylor. This book would not exist without you. And if somehow it did, then no one would be reading it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
“For Kate and Robbie, the most supportive siblings a girl could hope for…luckily nothing like the ones in this book!”
Greedy by Jen Winston
“To my parents, who promised they wouldn’t read this.”
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour by J. D. Salinger
“If there is an amateur reader still left in the world - or anybody who just reads and runs - I ask him or her, with untellable affection and gratitude, to split the dedication of this book four ways with my wife and children.”