100 books like We All Want Impossible Things

By Catherine Newman,

Here are 100 books that We All Want Impossible Things fans have personally recommended if you like We All Want Impossible Things. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Girl with the Louding Voice

Daisy Buchanan Author Of Pity Party

From my list on break your heart, then put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that books have saved my life. When I was a child, I was often depressed and anxious, and I instinctively found refuge in reading. I sought books acknowledging that the world can be a painful and difficult place but showed that it was also filled with happiness, love, and joy as long as you knew where to look. My passion for reading has stayed with me, I host the You’re Booked podcast where I talk to iconic authors about the books that have brought them comfort and joy. And whenever I feel anxious, I still reach for a book–because reading heals my heart. 

Daisy's book list on break your heart, then put it back together again

Daisy Buchanan Why did Daisy love this book?

I think Adunni might be one of my favorite heroines of all time. She’s so brave, loveable, and vulnerable. This book opened my eyes to what it’s like to live in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable, but it made me so hopeful, too. Adunni’s rebel spirit propelled me through the pages.

In a way, this book made me feel ten years old again–when I was reading, it was as though nothing beyond the book existed. Every time Adunni triumphed, I wanted to stand up and cheer. Most of all, it made me feel I could do my bit to change the world. I know that there are real children facing forced marriage, like Adunni. This book made me want to raise my voice and help.

By Abi Daré,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Girl with the Louding Voice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most uplifting debut of 2020

'Unforgettable' New York Times 'Impressive' Observer 'Remarkable' Independent 'Important' Guardian 'Captivating' Mirror 'Luminous' Daily Mail 'Sparkling' Harper's Bazaar 'Beautiful' Herald

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE FOR FICTION
___________________________________________________

I don't just want to be having any kind voice . . .
I want a louding voice.

At fourteen, Adunni dreams of getting an education and giving her family a more comfortable home in her small Nigerian village. Instead, Adunni's father sells her off to become the third wife of an old man. When tragedy…


Book cover of Dinner with the Schnabels

Nicky Pellegrino Author Of P.S. Come to Italy

From my list on all the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written fourteen novels about family, friendship, food, and love; stories that I hope transport people so completely and utterly, that they almost forget they are reading and instead find themselves walking in the shoes of the characters. That’s what I’m aiming for anyway. As a reader it’s what I want also – to laugh and cry, and feel the characters are people that I know and feel sorry to leave them behind when I turn the last page. 

Nicky's book list on all the feels

Nicky Pellegrino Why did Nicky love this book?

This novel is elegantly written and emotionally authentic, and while it is a light and zippy read, the more you think about it, the more it seems to say. 

It is about a week in the life of Melbourne man Simon Larsen. Things are not going very well for Simon. He was a successful architect but during lockdown his business failed and his beautiful home had to be sold. Now Simon has moved his family to a tiny flat, and he is unemployed, broke, and can hardly get off the sofa. 

While Simon seems hopeless, the family he has married into are formidable, from his beautiful wife Tansy to his terrifying mother-in-law Gloria. I loved the Schnabels but still, I’m not sure I would want to be related.

By Toni Jordan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dinner with the Schnabels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I loved every page of this funny, warm, delightful novel!' LIANE MORIARTY

'A smart, funny novel about love, marriage and family.' Weekend Australian

'With sharply observed characters and comic set-pieces to make you laugh out loud, Dinner with the Schnabels is great fun to read and casts a more mature and acerbic eye on modern masculinity.' Sydney Morning Herald, Fiction Pick of the Week

You can marry into them, but can you ever really be one of them?

A novel about marriage, love and family.

Things haven't gone well for Simon Larsen lately. He adores his wife, Tansy, and his…


Book cover of Dog Days

Daisy Buchanan Author Of Pity Party

From my list on break your heart, then put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that books have saved my life. When I was a child, I was often depressed and anxious, and I instinctively found refuge in reading. I sought books acknowledging that the world can be a painful and difficult place but showed that it was also filled with happiness, love, and joy as long as you knew where to look. My passion for reading has stayed with me, I host the You’re Booked podcast where I talk to iconic authors about the books that have brought them comfort and joy. And whenever I feel anxious, I still reach for a book–because reading heals my heart. 

Daisy's book list on break your heart, then put it back together again

Daisy Buchanan Why did Daisy love this book?

I loved how different the three main characters are. They’re unlike anyone I’ve met in real life, all at different ages and situations, but I could relate to them immediately. My heart broke for grumpy, widowed George, pushing everyone away, and Lizzie, coming out of an abusive relationship and wondering if she dares to feel love again.

This book filled me with hope. It gave me the courage to think about some of the more painful relationships I’ve been in and consider how far I’ve come. I was also seduced by the beauty of the writing; I kept wanting to go back and reread paragraphs because the descriptions were so perfect. And it made me laugh!

By Ericka Waller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dog Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant...Definitely one of my favourite novels of 2021' AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully

'A charming, surprising and moving story of three troubled characters' encounter with love, grief, healing...and dogs' Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures

'Funny, sad, gritty and beautifully told.' Hazel Prior, author of Away with the Penguins

_______________________________________________

George is angry at the world. His wife has died and now all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking…


Book cover of Early Morning Riser

Daisy Buchanan Author Of Pity Party

From my list on break your heart, then put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that books have saved my life. When I was a child, I was often depressed and anxious, and I instinctively found refuge in reading. I sought books acknowledging that the world can be a painful and difficult place but showed that it was also filled with happiness, love, and joy as long as you knew where to look. My passion for reading has stayed with me, I host the You’re Booked podcast where I talk to iconic authors about the books that have brought them comfort and joy. And whenever I feel anxious, I still reach for a book–because reading heals my heart. 

Daisy's book list on break your heart, then put it back together again

Daisy Buchanan Why did Daisy love this book?

This book had me laughing from the first page. I could see the town immediately and hear every character’s voice clearly in my head. I found it incredibly easy to read. Before I knew it, I was halfway through the story and I loved Jane, Duncan and Jimmy as though they were members of my own family.

Because this book is so funny, I found that the sad, serious parts affected me deeply. But ultimately, I found it hugely uplifting. It reminded me that the worst events can bring out the best in me and the people I love. I can’t think of anyone I know who wouldn’t love this book. 

By Katherine Heiny,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Early Morning Riser as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, a wise, bighearted novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family—from the acclaimed author of Standard Deviation, who has been called the "literary descendant of Jane Austen, sharing Austen's essentially comic world view" (NPR).     

Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere—at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.

While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes…


Book cover of The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding

Nicky Pellegrino Author Of P.S. Come to Italy

From my list on all the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written fourteen novels about family, friendship, food, and love; stories that I hope transport people so completely and utterly, that they almost forget they are reading and instead find themselves walking in the shoes of the characters. That’s what I’m aiming for anyway. As a reader it’s what I want also – to laugh and cry, and feel the characters are people that I know and feel sorry to leave them behind when I turn the last page. 

Nicky's book list on all the feels

Nicky Pellegrino Why did Nicky love this book?

This gently-paced and richly atmospheric story is a real experience to read.

It is filled with myths and wonders, raw sadness, and exquisite beauty. The main character Esther is not always easy to like. She can be self-centred and destructive. But her journey over the course of this novel is deeply moving.

Esther is grieving for her elder sister Aura who is missing presumed drowned. The story begins a year after her disappearance as Esther returns to her childhood home in coastal Tasmania for Aura’s memorial. There her parents ask her to do something she isn’t sure she can manage.

They want her to travel to Denmark, where Aura spent time before she died, to find out what happened there and why she returned home such a different person.

By Holly Ringland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From international bestselling author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland, comes a haunting and magical novel about joy, grief, courage, and transformation.


'On the afternoon that Esther Wilding drove homeward along the coast, a year after her sister had walked into the sea and disappeared, the light was painfully golden.'

The last time Esther Wilding's beloved older sister Aura was seen, she was walking along the shore towards the sea. In the wake of Aura's disappearance, Esther's family struggles to live with their loss. To seek the truth about her sister's death, Esther reluctantly travels from Lutruwita,…


Book cover of The Secret World of Connie Starr

Nicky Pellegrino Author Of P.S. Come to Italy

From my list on all the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written fourteen novels about family, friendship, food, and love; stories that I hope transport people so completely and utterly, that they almost forget they are reading and instead find themselves walking in the shoes of the characters. That’s what I’m aiming for anyway. As a reader it’s what I want also – to laugh and cry, and feel the characters are people that I know and feel sorry to leave them behind when I turn the last page. 

Nicky's book list on all the feels

Nicky Pellegrino Why did Nicky love this book?

This novel totally swept me away.

Often while I was reading, it felt like I was right there, in the Australian town of Ballarat, a part of a small community as everyone’s lives are being reshaped by a war raging across the world.

Connie Starr is a watchful misfit of a child who lives in a dream world. But this is as much a story about the people who surround Connie – parents and siblings, neighbours and friends – and the way their lives intertwine. We rarely witness any violent acts of war in this novel.

Instead, it is focused mostly on the people left behind at home, on their heartbreak and loneliness, the friendships that sustain them, and the determination that gets them through the toughest times.

By Robbi Neal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A stunning evocation of Australian life through the war to the 1950s, this novel is intimate and sweeping, immediate and dreamlike - a magical rendering of darkness and joy, and the beauty inherent in difference. For readers of Sarah Winman's Still Life, Trent Dalton's All Our Shimmering Skies and Rosalie Ham's The Dressmaker.


Connie Starr was always a difficult child. Her mother knew as soon as Connie entered the world that day in Ballarat in 1934 and opened her lungs to scream, there was more chaos in the world than before and it wouldn't leave until Connie did. From the…


Book cover of Leonard and Hungry Paul

Daisy Buchanan Author Of Pity Party

From my list on break your heart, then put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that books have saved my life. When I was a child, I was often depressed and anxious, and I instinctively found refuge in reading. I sought books acknowledging that the world can be a painful and difficult place but showed that it was also filled with happiness, love, and joy as long as you knew where to look. My passion for reading has stayed with me, I host the You’re Booked podcast where I talk to iconic authors about the books that have brought them comfort and joy. And whenever I feel anxious, I still reach for a book–because reading heals my heart. 

Daisy's book list on break your heart, then put it back together again

Daisy Buchanan Why did Daisy love this book?

This book totally took me by surprise. I had no idea what to expect–and I certainly didn’t expect to be completely captivated by the story of the friendship between two awkward, single men. I found this achingly tender, unexpectedly funny, and so love-filled.

This is a really hopeful book because it made me think about how much love there is in the world and how everyone has a story. I’ve given this book as a gift countless times. Everyone is a bit confused initially–and then a week later, they’ll call me and say, ‘Oh my goodness, that book you gave me is magical!’ 

By Ronan Hession,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A disarming novel that asks a simple question: Can gentle people change the world?
 
In this charming and truly unique debut, popular Irish musician Ronan Hession tells the story of two single, thirty-something men who still live with their parents and who are . . . nice. They take care of their parents and play board games together. They like to read. They take satisfaction from their work. They are resolutely kind. And they realize that none of this is considered . . . normal.
 
Leonard and Hungry Paul is the story of two friends struggling to protect their understanding…


Book cover of When the Moon Was Ours

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Author Of Thief Liar Lady

From my list on fantasy by Latine authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a half-Mexican author who grew up in a tiny Alabama town, where I spent my summers playing with sticks in the woods and exploring such distinguished careers as Forest Bandit, Wayward Orphan, and Woodland Fairy Princess. After college, I ran away to New Zealand for seven months and only pretended to be a character from Lord of the Rings on special occasions. Nowadays, I live and work in South Carolina with my clingy (and, unfortunately, non-magical) cat. 

D.L.'s book list on fantasy by Latine authors

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Why did D.L. love this book?

McLemore’s prose is basically poetry, and this YA novel is a gorgeous combination of magical realism and Latine folklore. It is a modern fairy tale about forbidden romance, poisonous jealousy, family secrets, and the power of truth.

I fell in love with the lush atmosphere, complex characters, and exquisite storytelling. This one stayed with me for a long time after I’d closed the book. 

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked When the Moon Was Ours 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?

From the author of The Weight of Feathers comes a young adult novel about a girl hiding the truth, a boy with secrets from his past, and four sisters who could ruin them both.

Recipient of a Stonewall Honor and longlisted for the National Book Award, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known…


Book cover of Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

Laurie Morrison Author Of Keeping Pace

From my list on middle grade novels with romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved books, movies, and shows that feature swoony, satisfying romances. As a middle school teacher and upper middle-grade author, I know it can be tricky to find novels with romance for the middle-grade set. But I also know firsthand that there are many kids who crave these kinds of stories–and that there are major benefits to giving kids a chance to read and hopefully talk about crushes and relationships in all their complexity. I’m always on the lookout for realistic stories with just the right amount of romance to delight middle-grade readers, and these five are some of my favorites.

Laurie's book list on middle grade novels with romance

Laurie Morrison Why did Laurie love this book?

This book is an absolute delight! Debbi Michiko Florence is a master of middle-grade romance, and I love the way she explores all the giddy, awkward, confusing excitement of a middle-school crush.

The romance in this book is especially juicy because sweet, people-pleasing Keiko develops feelings for the one boy she’s sure she shouldn’t have a crush on–her best friend’s older brother!

In addition to the sweet romance, there are plenty of relatable and thought-provoking friendship dynamics in this story, too. And as a bonus, there’s a companion novel, Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai, that’s every bit as fun!

By Debbi Michiko Florence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Keep It Together, Keiko Carter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Fans of Judy Blume and Jenny Han are sure to fall head-over-heels
for this sweet story about first crushes, friendship
drama, and finding the courage to stand up for yourself.

Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks
she's got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna
by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot,
and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her
trio is ready to tackle life as they always have... together.


But when Audrey decides they need
boyfriends before Fall Ball,…


Book cover of My Best Friend's Exorcism

Jaq Evans Author Of What Grows in the Dark

From my list on people who are unsure of horror genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a horror and speculative fiction author who reads everything but who is tired of strict genre definitions and loves introducing people to work they might not have considered—especially the spooky stuff, and especially when I’m asked about horror recommendations for non-horror lovers. I think dark fiction gives us a way to process painful emotions in a safe space; it offers catharsis for being alive in a difficult world; it can definitely be a lot of fun while also giving you a way to empathize with people outside your own direct experience. I’ve tried to hit on all of that in this list!  

Jaq's book list on people who are unsure of horror genre

Jaq Evans Why did Jaq love this book?

This was my first Grady Hendrix book, and it had everything that makes his work an instant buy for me now: the characters are well-realized and imperfect, with their relationship at the forefront of the horror; it’s incredibly funny; the scary scenes are burned into my brain to this day. I love the ‘80s vibes of this novel (it has a certain Heathers flair)—from the outfits to the TV evangelist exorcist.

I really enjoy feeling grounded in place and time, especially with horror and speculative fiction, where you need to suspend your disbelief. This book manages to walk the perfect line between being way over the top yet also having a very relatable and emotionally resonant story of friendship.

By Grady Hendrix,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked My Best Friend's Exorcism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act different. She s moody. She s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she s nearby. Abby s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend s…


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