Top 10 Books That Will Hit You In The Feels

by |January 23, 2023

It’s one of the best things about books, isn’t it? Incredible storytelling can not only educate, inspire and serve as a great avenue for escapism, but it can also chill you and touch you in ways few things can.

For me, if there is one thing I love, it is a story or character that hits you with that experience that you didn’t know you needed, even if it makes you cry!

If you, like me, search for those experiences in books, we’ve got you covered with some book recommendations that will hit you right in the feels. Tissues will likely be necessary!

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most. Truer words have never been spoken as shown by this classic from Colleen Hoover.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.


Buy it here

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Everyone knows the tale of the Trojan War. But it’s never been told quite like this.

Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.


Buy it here

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Please, don’t consider the title a spoiler! Adam Silvera crafted a beautiful work of LGBT fiction that has become an international sensation.

On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day.

The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.


Buy it here

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Ooft, this book! Adapted into a major film starring Elle Fanning, Jennifer Niven’s bestseller tells a compelling and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. 

Buy it here

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

The heart may hide, but it never forgets.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: working hard as a new pediatrics resident, planning her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keeping her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos – the first and only love of her life – the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world – growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother . . . only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more – spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco reading books, sharing favourite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. 

Buy it here

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

It is often a rite-of-passage in the Booktopia office to have that one book that emotionally destroys you, and for many, A Little Life was that book.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realise, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life for ever.

A Little Life

Buy it here

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The book that confirmed Taylor Jenkins Reid as one of the biggest authors in the world, it’s easy to see why she has captured the hearts of millions of readers!

Reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship and a great forbidden love.

Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Buy it here

The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

When Addie LaRue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there’s always a price the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny hometown in 18th Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.

Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.

Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever.


Buy it here

Marshmallow by Victoria Hannan

A favourite among the Booktopia team in 2022, we anticipate this raw, powerful novel from the prize-winning author of Kokomo is going to be a classic in the years to come: a book that exposes the ripple effect of grief and shows how quickly the life you thought you had can be shattered forever.

For five friends, what should have been a birthday to remember will instead cleave a line between before and after.

From then on, the shockwaves of guilt, sorrow and disbelief will colour every day, every interaction, every possibility. Each will struggle. Each will ask why. Secrets will be kept. Lies will be told. Relationships reassessed. Each friend will be forever changed. And the question all of them will be forced to ask is: can they ever find a way to live without what was lost?

I’m keeping in vague for this one, and for good reason!

Buy it here

Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down

Where better to finish than the winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award?

An incredible story of overcoming tragedy and heartache from Jennifer Down, the novel follows Maggie, who struggles after having a tough start in life.

However, in her quiet, small-town existence an unexpected Facebook message jolts her back to the past. A history she’s reluctant to revisit- dark memories and unspoken trauma, warning knocks on bedroom walls, unfathomable loss. She became a new person a long time ago. What happens when buried stories are dragged into the light?

Buy it here

Like book recommendations? Check out Booktopia’s podcast!

Tell Me What to Read - Podcast
Check our our podcast “Tell Me What To Read”

2 Comments Share:

About the Contributor

Nick is one of Booktopia's Senior Content Producers. He spends his days running Booktopia's Podcast and YouTube channel, 𝑻𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝑴𝒆 𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑻𝒐 𝑹𝒆𝒂𝒅. Known as the '𝘗𝘰𝘥𝘤𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘎𝘶𝘺', he also spends his time embarassing himself on TikTok, writing novels, and chatting sport on Twitter under @Nick_Wasiliev. His debut novel, WHEN MEN CRY, was published in 2019 and reissued in 2020 through Breathe Art Holdings.


  • Lynda Parry

    January 23, 2023 at 9:03 am

    Thanks, Nick. Another book that made me cry was The Good Mother by Rae Cairns. It’s her debut novel and I couldn’t put it down.

  • Jacky John

    October 2, 2023 at 9:48 pm

    This post is a breath of fresh air. You’ve managed to explain complex concepts in a simple and understandable manner. For more details, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *