We recently asked subscribers of the BuzzFeed Books newsletter to tell us about the most heartwarming titles they’d ever read. Now, grab some tissues — because these books are definitely going to make you feel things.
1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You is so heartwarming yet heartbreaking. It is a moving story about a young woman who finds herself employed as a caretaker for a quadriplegic man. Her job isn’t caring for him so much as it is to just make him happy. When the road to happiness looks hopeless, she dedicates herself even harder. Their path comes with many struggles and hardships, but also love and laughter. It will make you feel happy, sad, scared, furious, like crying, and also like laughing. It is a very well-written tale, one of my favorites. I cried for like 6 hours but it was worth it
2. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The humor throughout this book is so uplifting. The way Colin tries to move on from all the Katherines he’s dated by utilizing math and theories is downright brilliant. He takes so much sadness and uncertainty and turns it into laughs and hope. This is well worth the read — just like any of John Green’s books.
3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
In A Man Called Ove, the reader has the pleasure watching Ove’s grumpy exterior — further hardened after the death of his beloved wife — crumble as he reluctantly becomes more involved with his neighbors and community. Be prepared to have all the feelings while reading this book.
This book made me smile from ear to ear; it also made me cry, but happy tears! It was so beautiful!
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I know this book may seem like it’s been referenced in too many places. However, it’s truly mesmerizing and never fails to leave you with a glimpse of hope and that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It’s a reminder of how amazing children really are.
5. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
This is the true story of a man who reconnects with his former philosophy professor Morrow Schwartz who is dying of ALS. They meet in weekly sessions every Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including death, forgiveness, happiness, etc. Morrie shares his insight on these topics based on his life experiences and views. This book completely changed my views on life, and it continues to inspire me every time I read it.
8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is a coming-of-age story for every introvert who struggles to go outside their comfort zone. It always moves me to tears because Cath’s relationship with her love interest is so much like mine — she falls for him and it turns out to be a mistake! The ending makes your heart squeeze with tears and joy.
9. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
And the Mountains Echoed is such an amazing and heartwarming read. It’s about a pair of siblings that fate cruelly separates and then finally reunites. A must-read for its simple yet gripping narration and amiable characters.
10. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I’ve read so many books that I would consider heartwarming, but the one that comes to mind is The Time Traveler’s Wife. Perhaps a controversial choice, but it’s been almost 10 years since I first read it and I still go back to it time and time again. Despite its fantasy genre, I found the characters to be totally human and relatable, and the love between Claire and Henry so beautiful despite all the complications. It’s a clever, modern twist on a classic love story, with an ending that, though it had me in tears, gave me a new perspective on what true love really means.
11. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin
Mia “Rabbit” Hayes has learned that her life is coming to an end earlier than expected. And she’s out to make the most of her last days… I feel like not many people have read this amazing book but it’s *definitely* worth it.
13. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
This is a sweet little book about a fictional island off the coast of Georgia founded on the principles of grammar. But when a totalitarian island council starts banning letters one by one, everything changes. Told in the form of letters to and from a young girl named Ella Minnow Pea, this is a funny and heartwarming favorite.
14. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is shipped off to boarding school in Paris where she meets the super-charming Etienne, and that’s when things get interesting. I was a squealing, giggly, mush-fest all the while through reading this book. Stephanie Perkins knows just how to turn a seemingly ordinary love story into an unputdownable read.
I remember reading this over the summer on the beach and falling in love with the characters and the story. I felt like I was in France with Anna and Etienne every time I opened the book. It’s a great feel-good book that I would 100% recommend!
15. Lamb by Christopher Moore
One book that always gets me in a good mood is Christopher Moore’s Lamb. It follows Biff, a less-than-saintly childhood pal of Jesus’ who was written out of the Gospels due to his crassness. His account of Jesus’ formative years is not only hilarious, but can be enjoyed regardless of your faith.
16. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
This is my all-time favorite “feel-good” read. The main character, Odd, engages the reader from the very first sentence. He is lovable, weird, scary, and someone that I (at least) would like to make a part of my “tribe.” As wild as the storyline is — ghosts, serial killers, shape-shifting demons — Odd and his eccentric companions inevitably draw you in close. The ending is unexpected and tissue-worthy — I wanted to embrace Odd again and again. I was so sad when this series ended.
17. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Jude and her brother Noah are twins, utterly inseparable — until the day everything changes. When their story splits, we learn of one falling in love, the other going to art school, and then of their narratives inevitably intertwining back together once more. It’s amazing how the past, present, and future pieces of their narratives so poetically collide. Tissues and highlighters are essential when reading — for the tears and so many great quotes. This is one of the greatest books I’ve read this year.
18. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder revolves around a single element: being different. August was born with a facial difference that changes how the world sees him, and his story is an utterly transportive triumph. From the ingeniously crafted characters to the rollercoaster of events, Wonder makes you feel every possible emotion and really think about the world around you. What would it be like to be August? How would you cope? And what would it take to find — and truly be — yourself against all odds? This book is a true wonder in its own right.
19. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This book is a surprisingly heartwarming story about how the love of reading brings an unlikely group of friends together — sustaining them through WWII and its aftermath on an occupied island in the English Channel. The book is composed entirely of letters and notes between characters, which gives such a unique voice and depth of life to each character. I always know I can return to these quirky and lovable people on Guernsey Island when I need a literary pick-me-up!
There’s something here for everyone to enjoy: romance, friendship, war, the magic of reading, etc. I cry every time I read it from sheer happiness.
20. A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
A Mango-Shaped Space is about a 13-year-old girl with synesthesia (she can see, taste, and hear colors) and her journey in getting a diagnosis and accepting herself and all her differences. It’s sort of a coming-of-age story, too.
As someone with multiple chronic illnesses who has gone through the same process at the same age, this really was an incredible reading experience. One of my favorite quotes is “We all do the best we can, trying to keep all the balls in the air at once.” I recommend it to everyone.
23. Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade
Orphan #8 is historical fiction about the experiments done on children in group homes. One woman who suffers horrible side effects from the experiments she endured as a child goes on to become a nurse on the terminal geriatric ward in a hospital. There, she comes in contact with the doctor who experimented on her — and is now dying. How will she care for a man responsible for her own suffering? Will she reconcile her feelings from the past to show him the compassion she was denied?
24. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I had to take my time with it because it became such a dear friend. It’s hard to imagine a book about an orphan growing up in a graveyard as a feel-good read — but it really is. Reading it feels like coming home.
25. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Absolutely moving, the struggles Sayuri faces are painted so beautifully by Arthur Golden’s masterful craft that you totally empathize with her as she grows and triumphs in a world designed to see her fail. The ultimate conclusion of the novel fills me with such warmth — it’s both entirely unexpected and wholeheartedly appreciated.
26. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain
This is a French romance novella, and basically a love letter to book lovers. There’s mystery, romance, and some of the most beautifully crafted sentences and paragraphs I have ever read. The ending is so sweet, even though you wonder how you ever got there so soon.
27. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Warm and fuzzy the whole way through, Dandelion Wine is by far the best story to make you feel good. Though I’m not the correct age to directly relate to the young adult story, I still felt the warm summer days and the wonder of it all.
28. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Between Shades of Gray takes place in 1939, following the Lithuanian people who were ripped from their homes by invading Russians. The characters have such a passion and deep care for one another through the indescribable hardships they must face. I cry every single time I read this story — from the plot to the characters to the love behind it all. I’ve never read a better book.
29. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Zusak is best known The Book Thief, so I chose this book because I wanted another read that would bring me incredible feels. But, to my surprise, this is the opposite of The Book Thief. It’s uplifting and, simply put, amazing. It made me realize the importance of helping others, of paying it forward and of leaving a positive message in the world. It’s my go-to recommendation for anyone who feels down and wants to restore their faith in humanity again.
30. Shibumi by Trevanian
Shibumi is the story of a self-made man: how, despite severe hardships in his own life, Nicholai Hel became a champion of the downtrodden — and a world-renowned assassin, too. I have often said, “Life doesn’t come with a manual,” but this is truly as close as you can get. Everyone should have a copy. I read it the first time, turned back to page one, and reread it once more. Amazing message.
31. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
My mother gave me two books before she died and I never got to share them with her or thank her properly. They were Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
After I got divorced, my life was rather “upheavaled” and I needed a book, or books, that would be a source of comfort during this difficult time. I read and reread both of my copies and 15 years later I still have them.
I will never part with these books, as worn and cried-over as they are, because they mean the world to me. I love them for their wonder, because they are about quirkiness in a harsh world and finding love in extended families, and because they were my last presents from my mother.
—Suzy Marcus Smith
Note: Entries have been edited for clarity and length.
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