The best books that will tug on every one of your heartstrings

Who am I?

Not only am I the author of seven women’s fiction novels, I’m a voracious reader who believes she was raised by Judy Blume and Sidney Sheldon. In our broken home, reading was an escape, a salve for the wound, a place where I felt heard and understood. My novels touch on deep emotions—real and relatable. If I don’t capture that feeling when I’m reading through my drafts, I dig deeper. And that’s the thing about a great book, that gut punch, that slide under my skin, I get you. There’s no better read than the one that pulls the heartstrings and gives you all the feels.    


I wrote...

When We Let Go

By Rochelle B. Weinstein,

Book cover of When We Let Go

What is my book about?

When Avery Beckett is proposed to by Jude Masters, a widowed father and the man she loves, it should be a time of great joy. Instead, Avery is on edge. She’s wary of the idea of family, doubtful of happy endings, and too afraid to take the leap. It’s the kind of fear that comes from having secrets.

Before Avery commits to a new life, she must reconcile with the one she left behind. When Avery returns to her childhood farm in the North Carolina mountains, she’s surprised to be saddled with a companion: Jude’s teenage daughter, Elle. Avery and Elle form an unexpected alliance on a path of mending wounds and breaking down walls. And for Avery, everything she needs to confront the past.


The books I picked & why

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The Paper Palace

By Miranda Cowley Heller,

Book cover of The Paper Palace

Why this book?

Every page of The Paper Palace is moving and evocative—the quintessential love triangle that had me torn between young, innocent love and mature, adult love. I’m a sucker for these tropes, so I sunk inside this story of then and now, shuffling through a range of emotions, just like the protagonist, Elle. That’s the best kind of book. When you feel alongside the characters. And the secret longing kept me turning pages until the climactic, tender ending. And that ending. It will keep you guessing. And discussing. And thinking about it. I still think about it.  

The Paper Palace

By Miranda Cowley Heller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Paper Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak,

Book cover of The Book Thief

Why this book?

As the youngest of four in a single-family home, I spent a lot of time alone while my mother worked and my older siblings had extracurriculars. Books raised me. They were my salvation, literally saving me, much like they saved Liesel Meminger in The Book Thief. A foster child in 1939 war-torn Germany, Liesel stole books to feed her broken soul. There’s so much loss in this book—and the novel is narrated by Death—but at the same time, I learned about hope (sprinkled with a touch of humor), survival, and the redemptive power of the written word. 

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph
___

HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT…


The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Why this book?

Achy and angsty and spanning time, this story follows two vibrant lovers back and forth through the ages, teasing readers just enough to leave them wanting and needing a touch more. I fell in love with the provocative longing—felt it deep in my gut—which is what I try to accomplish when I write my own love stories. Emotions have to be authentic and real. They have to conjure up our own memories—however painful or nostalgic. That’s the magic of a story. The vulnerability and heartache that makes us relatable and human. This beautiful, affecting read has all the feels.

The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Pact

By Jodi Picoult,

Book cover of The Pact

Why this book?

The Pact was one of those books that made me want to become a writer. Picoult captured a controversial topic amongst young lovers and friends, and she did it with compassion and heart. I felt in my bones…I need to write a book like that. And that’s what I strive to do: to make readers feel. To make them think. To leave them wondering: what would I do in a similar situation? And mostly, opening their eyes to all the different sides to a single story, and seeing themselves…and the growth that’s possible. The Pact tells a great story, but the complexities of our lives are the real takeaway. 

The Pact

By Jodi Picoult,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pact as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
'Picoult is a master manipulator, weaving gripping, dramatic plotlines. We defy you not to be gripped.' Glamour

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from takeaways to school drop-offs. So it's no surprise when teenagers Chris and Emily, soul mates since they were born, start dating.

When the late-night call comes in from hospital, no one is prepared for the appalling truth: Emily has died from a gunshot wound to the head as part of an apparent suicide pact. The gun holds a single unspent bullet…


A Little Life

By Hanya Yanagihara,

Book cover of A Little Life

Why this book?

When a book makes me miss the characters long after the last page (I bought a T-shirt with their names on the front), and when I sob, uncontrollably, at the end, that’s a book to remember and recommend. A Little Life wrecked me in the best possible way. Yanagihara captured friendship and its tenuous bonds exquisitely. As an observer of the human condition, someone who likes to dig deep beneath the surface and explore emotionally charged, layered stories, I was drawn to the raw pain and sensitivity of these broken characters. A good book makes you smile, but a great book changes you, leaving you richer and wiser. This one did just that. Keep the tissues handy.

A Little Life

By Hanya Yanagihara,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Little Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2015
Shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction 2016
Winner of Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2016
Finalist for the US National Book Awards 2015

The million copy bestseller, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.

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,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in sagas, time travel, and World War 2?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about sagas, time travel, and World War 2.

Sagas Explore 28 books about sagas
Time Travel Explore 179 books about time travel
World War 2 Explore 1045 books about World War 2

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Outermost House, Alone in Berlin, and Anne Frank if you like this list.