The best books to read if you need a dose of serotonin

Lisa Aldin Author Of One of the Guys
By Lisa Aldin

Who am I?

I have anxiety and depression. While obviously not a replacement for therapy and/or medication, reading books that somehow make me feel good is an important part of my self-care. They can be silly or witty or charming or whatever, but a book that makes me smile or giggle or just swoon is one I’ll reach for when I’m feeling down.

I wrote...

One of the Guys

By Lisa Aldin,

Book cover of One of the Guys

What is my book about?

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a "lady" while the guys move on without her. Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service. The business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends – the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Anna and the French Kiss

By Stephanie Perkins,

Book cover of Anna and the French Kiss

Why this book?

This book is a classic. I fell in love with it when it first came out and recently bought the special edition because it’s so beautiful. This is one of those rare books I’ll reread. This book transports me and brings a smile to my face. It’s full of so much warmth and swoon and wonderful characters and a gorgeous setting. The food descriptions alone (drool) induce happiness.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built

By Becky Chambers,

Book cover of A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Why this book?

Becky Chambers is an auto-buy author for me. I loved her Wayfarers series and this novella didn’t disappoint. A lot of science fiction can be dark, but this little book was full of so much loveliness and hope and beauty. It’s about a tea monk searching for their place and when they encounter a robot in the wilderness, there are plenty of funny and sweet moments to get your serotonin levels up.

You Should See Me in a Crown

By Leah Johnson,

Book cover of You Should See Me in a Crown

Why this book?

This book has one of my favorite romances in recent memory. Liz and Mack have amazing chemistry and I looked forward to their interactions. Oh, man, and the ending of this book? My serotonin levels skyrocketed. I hope Hollywood makes this into a film because it has so many fantastic cinematic moments. Liz Lighty is a character you really root for. This book is a delight! 


By Weike Wang,

Book cover of Chemistry

Why this book?

I devoured this book. It’s charming and funny, but this is one of those books where I loved it because of the main character. I’ve struggled with indecisiveness in my life and found that part very relatable. We really get inside her head. The voice is unique and the sentence structure is short and choppy. A quick wonderful read. 

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

By E. Lockhart,

Book cover of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Why this book?

The first time I read this book, I thought: I need to give this to my daughter. My daughter, at the time, wasn’t born. And she’s still not quite old enough for it, but I can’t wait for her to read it. Frankie is a smart and fun character and someone I love to hang out with. This book is full of wit. My copy is worn from the rereads.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in bildungsroman, school, and friendships?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about bildungsroman, school, and friendships.

Bildungsroman Explore 159 books about bildungsroman
School Explore 159 books about school
Friendships Explore 327 books about friendships

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Letters to My Lover from Behind Asylum Walls, Redwood and Ponytail, and The Stars and the Blackness Between Them if you like this list.