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

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Anna and the French Kiss

Lisa Aldin Why did I love 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.

By Stephanie Perkins,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Anna and the French Kiss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Can Anna find love in the City of Light? Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her co-worker at the movie theatre, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Etieene St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken - and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic…


Book cover of A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Lisa Aldin Why did I love 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.

By Becky Chambers,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Psalm for the Wild-Built as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honour the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of 'what do people need?' is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They're going to need to ask it a lot.


Book cover of You Should See Me in a Crown

Lisa Aldin Why did I love 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 Leah Johnson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked You Should See Me in a Crown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed mid-western town. But it's okay-Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down... until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom King and Queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but…


Book cover of Chemistry

Lisa Aldin Why did I love 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. 

By Weike Wang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award 

A Washington Post Notable Book

One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Ann Patchett on PBS NewsHour, Minnesota Public Radio, PopSugar, Maris Kreizman, The Morning News

Winner of Ploughshares’ John C. Zacharis Award

Winner of a Whiting Award

A Belletrist Amuse Book

At first glance, the quirky, overworked narrator of Weike Wang’s debut novel seems to be on the cusp of a perfect life: she is studying for a prestigious PhD in chemistry that will make her Chinese parents proud (or at least satisfied), and her successful, supportive boyfriend has just…


Book cover of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Lisa Aldin Why did I love 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.

By E. Lockhart,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

The hilarious and razor-sharp story of how one girl went from geek to patriarchy-smashing criminal mastermind in two short years, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud.

* National Book Award finalist *
* Printz Honor * 

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:

Debate Club.
Her father's "bunny rabbit."
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks.

No longer the kind…


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Touching the Surface

By Kimberly Sabatini,

Book cover of Touching the Surface

Kimberly Sabatini Author Of Touching the Surface

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Mom Coach Chocolate connoisseur HSP

Kimberly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she can't remember her past, is getting the cold shoulder from her best friend, and has no idea why she keeps repeating the same mistakes across her previous lives. Elliot just wants to move on, but first, she'll be forced to look at her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. She'll also have to face the person she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her previous lives, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most…

Touching the Surface

By Kimberly Sabatini,

What is this book about?

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn't remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she'd rather keep buried. Memories of people she's hurt, people she's betrayed...and people she's killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of…


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