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The world can be a strange and scary place, and now more than ever, so many of us are looking for new ways to take a mental break from reality. I love myself a good Netflix binge or getting my stress out with a little exercise, but I also think the right book can be the perfect thing to shift your mood and put a smile on your face.

Keep scrolling for eight feel good books that will give you an amazing mental break and whisk you into a new world.

8 Feel Good Books to Boost Your Mood

1. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan: Even if you don’t necessarily think of yourself as someone who’s “into” the royals, you’ve gotta admit — it’s a pretty fascinating world, and one that can definitely distract you from the mundane frustrations of your own everyday life. The Royal We is extra fun because it’s not about real royalty (though you might think you recognize some characters and situations from the news) and has a heavy dose of romance. It’s all about an American girl who finds herself falling in love with the future king of England who doesn’t necessarily want to stick to his family’s expectations for him (remember when I said you might recognize some characters and situations?). The sequel is coming out in a few months, so it’s the perfect time to give this one a try!

2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: If rom coms are your thing and you’re ready for a break from movies and TV, consider picking up The Rosie Project. Since it was published back in 2013, it’s become a bestseller around the world and has inspired a full series of other books you can check out if you love the first one. The star of the story is a genetics professor named Don Tillman who decides he’s ready to get married. He uses his scientific instincts to design a Wife Project that he plans to use to find his ideal partner. Although Rosie Jarman doesn’t seem to fit the bill initially, she and Don will make you spend many pages wondering — will they or won’t they?

3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: This number-one New York Times bestseller was recently adapted for Netflix, but even if you’ve watched it already, you won’t regret reading the book, too! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about as cozy as it gets, and I highly recommend pairing it with the most comfortable chair in your house and something extra delicious (dark chocolate almond butter cups, anyone?). It’s written in the form of letters, so it’s also a quick read.

4. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: This is definitely a feel-good book, but you will feel all kinds of feelings while reading it, so be prepared! The Time Traveler’s Wife is the story of an art student and librarian who fall in love across time and space. It’s the perfect blend of time travel (of course) and eternal love (swoon!) and will inspire you to pick up the phone and tell everyone in your circle how much you care about them. See? You’re going to feel all the feels.

5. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn: Looking for something on the sillier end of feel-good? Ella Minnow Pea is where it’s at. Imagine a world in which you’re banned from using certain letters. With each passing day, there are fewer and fewer words you can speak because of the bans. Ella Minnow Pea brings that situation to life through the eyes of a young girl living on a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina. It’s heartwarming and funny all at once, and since the book’s author eliminates certain letters as the book goes on, too, you’ll find yourself anticipating how he’s going to get creative from one chapter to the next.

6. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak: Technically, this is a young adult book, but I personally feel like pretty much everyone should read it and would enjoy it — even full-on grown-ups like us! It’s about a teenage boy who is mysteriously selected to follow a series of clues to complete random acts of kindness for people in his town. Honestly, what’s more feel-good than that?

7. The Ingredients of You and Me by Nina Bocci: I don’t think a feel-good book list could be complete without a book with a beautiful cake on the cover. The Ingredients of You and Me has a delicious-looking cover, but it has plenty of other elements of an uplifting read, too — a woman seeking a fresh start, a colorful cast of characters in a new town, and (of course) a hard-to-get love interest. Prepare to finish this one in just a sitting or two!

8. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey: We need another rom com to round out the list, and I can’t think of a better option than Kerry Winfrey’s Waiting for Tom Hanks. In it, main character Annie dreams of a life writing screenplays for romantic comedies like the ones she loves, and she figures if she can find her own Tom Hanks IRL, everything will be totally perfect. Will she find what she’s been looking for when she meets the handsome star of a movie that’s filming in her neighborhood? Pick up a copy of the book and find out!

What other feel good books would you add to this list?

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  1. I listened to The Time Traveler‘s Wife as an audiobook a few years back and loved it in that format. I hadn’t heard of any of the others on this list – thanks for the recommendations!