All the Feels: 27 Powerful Books That Move You


If you are looking for good books to read, try out these powerful books that will touch your emotions.  We’ve got books that move you to tears, make you afraid, surprise you, and all in all, give you all the feels.

Why do I love to read?

One thing I love about reading is the ability I get to escape my life and delve into the emotions of someone else. In my opinion, books that move you to feel deep emotions are some of the greatest books there are.

I love that I can experience powerful emotions through literature without actually having to live them. Like books that move you to tears when a dog dies, even though you don’t actually like dogs. Similarly, through the words of others you can read books that scare you without actually having to live through a cold blooded killing. Or you can fall in love or laugh or cry all over again.

For me, I find catharsis in reading books that move me. In a matter of a few hundred pages, I can feel all these heavy emotions, and then let them go.

From books that make you think to books that make you cry, today we have 27 powerful books that will move you to feel more.

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Books That Move You to Tears

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner

I was not expecting to like a young adult novel about three teenagers in their senior year of high school in rural Tennessee as much as I did. The main character Dill struggles to find his place in life. The son of a snake handling preacher currently imprisoned for child pornography, Dill does not exactly fit in at school. Luckily he has his best friends Lydia, a vintage fashion blogger, and Travis, a gentle-hearted giant obsessed with fantasy books. Teaching about friendship, love and the struggles of growing up, The Serpent King is a touching novel that will give you all the feels. Read more →


Grab the tissues because this book will definitely make you cry. You really ought to read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes

Our grandfather was a paraplegic, so this book hit close to home for me. I was in tears at the heartbroken man who felt he had nothing left to live for, not fully understanding that there is always something more. Will brings meaning into his nurse Louisa’s life and gets her to reach beyond what she thought she was capable of. In return, Louisa tries to bring meaning back into Will’s life before it’s too late. I promise, this is definitely one of those books that will make you cry. Read more →


I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell

I Am, I Am, I Am
by Maggie O’Farrell

We can’t begin to describe how incredible this book is. Instead of telling you her life story, Maggie O’Farrell gives you glimpses into her life through separate incidents where she brushed against death, which has occurred surprisingly often. From a childhood illness to near fatal accidents to miscarriage, O’Farrell gives you such an intriguing look not just at how she has almost died, but more importantly how she has lived. If you are really looking to listen to books that move you and love memoirs that will make you cry, the outstanding narration of the audiobook makes it a great choice.  Read more →

Related: 14 More Books That Will Make You Cry


Books That make you laugh

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

Occasionally, you find those books that move you to feel all kinds of emotions. If you are like us, you’ve seen the movie adaptation of The Princess Bride a million times and can easily quote it. But have you ever sat down and read the book? Because it is easily as brilliant and hilarious. Combining love, action, wit and humor into one fairy tale retelling, Goldman has written an instant and unforgettable classic that will certainly leave you laughing.  Read more →


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams

You have to enjoy a certain type of humor to love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – think Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Catch-22 or Napoleon Dynamite. Douglas Adams science fiction satire starts off with the destruction of Earth through eminent domain laws for the new galactic highway. At the last moment, Arthur Dent is saved by his friend Ford Prefect and off they go on an epic journey through the galaxy. You’ll either love it and think it’s the cleverest thing you’ve ever read or you’ll hate it. There seems to be no in-between. Read more →


The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett

I have to admit, I don’t think a book has made me laugh quite as hard as Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. A few of the scenes were just so side-splittingly funny that even thinking about them now still makes me chuckle. Which is amazing because The Help is not a humor piece. It’s a moving tale of the lives of women in the deep South in the 1960s. Between Aibileen and Minny, “the help” of the title, the women they work for, and Skeeter, a young 22-year-old writer who wants to tell their stories, you get a layered approach and character study of a tumultuous time in our history. Read more →


Books That Make You Think

We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai

We Are Displaced
by Malala Yousafzai

Amid our charged debate on immigration steps Malala Yousafzai’s new collection of stories of refugees. Starting with her own experience of being an internally displaced person, Malala then goes on to share stories of other refugees she has met. An eye-opening account of what it’s like to live in a war-torn country and then lose all sense of home, Malala’s latest book is one that we can’t wait to read. Read more →


Quiet by Susan Cain

by Susan Cain

If you aren’t really wanting to feel too deeply, Quiet is one of those books that move you to introspection. In today’s society, we seem to idolize the extrovert. Well-researched and though-provoking, Cain not only shows the power of introverts, but also addresses the struggles introverts face and how to overcome them. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, this will make you see people in a different light. Read more →


Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi
by Yann Martel

Growing up, Piscine “Pi” Patel loves spending his time at the zoo his parents own. When his parents decide to move their zoo from India to Canada, he finds himself on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, never suspecting that a storm will leave him stranded on a life boat in the Pacific struggling to survive for months at sea with a Bengal tiger as his only companion. As you near the end of this book, you’ll probably be wondering why I recommended it. Trust me, just push through to the end, for it’s the ending for this book that raises it above mediocrity. With just a few simple sentences, suddenly the author makes you pause and reevaluate everything you just read. Read more →

Related: 14 Incredible Books That Make You Think Differently

Books That Scare You

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote

Truman Capote was the founder of narrative nonfiction with his thrilling look at an unspeakable crime. On November 15, 1959, in the small farming town of Holcomb, Kansas, two men brutally murder the Clutter family in their home for no apparent reason. Through extensive interviews from the first days following the events all the way to the execution of the murderers, Capote suspensefully unfolds the whole story of exactly what happened and more intriguing of all, why it happened. Make sure you set aside a chunk of time to read this one because, I promise, it’s one of those books you can’t put down once you begin. Read more →


One Second After by William R. Forstchen

One Second After
by William R. Forstchen

Just imagine it: no electricity, no medicine and no food. In his eye-opening novel, William R. Forstchen warns of the all too real possibility of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) device detonating over the United States. In an instance, the electromagnetic wave destroys all technology, sending the US immediately back to the Dark Ages. Can one man save his small North Carolina mountain town from the fall of civilization? While Forstchen is far from the greatest novelist ever, with our outdated electrical grid and reality of EMPs, he will make you wonder what you would do if the lights went out. Read more →


I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
by Michelle McNamara

For over a decade, a violent serial rapist plagued Northern California and then went on to commit 10 sadistic murders, never to be caught. Thirty years later, journalist Michelle McNamara took on the cold case, obsessively determined to find the Golden State Killer. Posthumously published two years after her death, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is McNamara’s masterpiece of her search for the truth. Even more fascinating, only two months after this book was published, a suspect was formally charged in the murders. Honestly, this belongs to that category of books that move you to want to always sleep with the lights on. Read more →

Books That Inspire You

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

by R. J. Palacio

Sometimes children’s stories are the perfect example of books that move you. This story of a boy with a severely deformed face entering public middle school for the first time will make you ponder how you react to people who look differently. I know many of my choices have talked about the dark side of human nature, but this book will leave you with hope for mankind.  Read more →


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

There’s a good reason that practically every school makes you read this book. The story of young Scout and Jem watching their father Atticus Finch defend an innocent black man will make you want to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. A timeless classic that everyone should read, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those classic books that move you to want to be better than you are. Read more →


Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face
by Rachel Hollis

One of the most popular books of 2018, Rachel Hollis’s motivational book Girl, Wash Your Face, seems to be one of the most talked about books of last year. We even picked it for our February book club pick. Honestly, Hollis’s writing seems to provoke extreme reactions – you’ll either love it or hate it. Honestly, Rachael loved it. It was just what she needed to hear at the time. If you want to hear Jaclyn’s thoughts, you’ll have to join the book club discussion. If you ever feel like you aren’t enough or tend to be too hard on yourself, give this book a try. Read more →

Books That Keep You Up All Night

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

by Stephanie Garber

If you want a fun keep you up all night Young Adult fantasy, Caraval is the ticket. The story begins with young Scarlett Dragna imploringly writing letters each year for tickets to Caraval – a once-a-year performance/carnival where the audience gets to join in on the fun. When her sister whisks her away to enjoy just one night of Caraval, Scarlett is dragged into a journey of love, magic and mystery. Not exactly a deep book, but a fun ride nonetheless. Read more →


The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

The Woman in the Window
by A. J. Finn

Imagine the Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Rear Window meets the novel The Girl on the Train. This year’s hottest psychological thriller peeks into the life of Anna Fox, a New York City recluse who, spying on the family across the street, witnesses a shocking event. Did she really see what she thought she saw, or is she just making it up? With its unreliable narrator and layers of secrets, The Woman in the Window will keep you guessing to the end.  Read more →


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson

For some reason, I had low expectations for this Swedish thriller, so I was caught off guard when the entire series turned out to be the type of books you can’t put down. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist takes on the investigation into the 40 year old disappearance of Harriet Vanger, the teenage daughter of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. He teams up with Lisbeth Salander, a pierced and tattooed hacker whose troubled past has left her with a capacity for ruthlessness. It really is a thrilling read, but, be warned, there is quite a lot of violence and language. Read more →

Related: 19 Gripping Books You Can’t Put Down Once You Begin

Memoirs That Make You Angry

Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

Warriors Don’t Cry
by Melba Pattillo Beals

We’ve all seen the pictures of Elizabeth Eckford being screamed at as she tries to attend her first day of school at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. But did you realize how long it took to integrate? Melba Pattillo Beals tells her memories of being part of the Little Rock Nine, of her oppressing junior year protected at times by the 101st Airborne Division and at times left alone to face the horrors laid upon by the other students. Of all the books we’ve read, Warriors Don’t Cry will definitely make you angry at race relations in the 1950s and make you wonder about how we handle the same and similar issues today. Read more →


I Forgot to Remember by Su Meck

I Forgot to Remember
by Su Meck

In 1988, Su Meck, a young mother of two, was struck in the head by a falling ceiling fan leaving her with a traumatic brain injury. After only 3 weeks, she was discharged from the hospital and sent back home to take care of her kids – even though she had lost most of her memories – including, how to do basic functions, like read, or add or tie her shoes. Just thinking about how her doctors failed her and how her terrible husband mistreated her just makes my blood boil. Su Meck’s memoir might not be the best ever written, but she is definitely a true survivor. Read more →


Educated by Tara Westover

by Tara Westover

There is really no excuse to not read Tara Westover’s spectacular memoir. In our opinion, Educated is simply the best nonfiction book of 2018. Westover grew up in the rural mountains of Idaho with no formal education. Despite her extremist survivalist parents and violent older brother, Westover managed to make her way into college, eventually earning a PhD. Her amazing determination is inspiring while the circumstances of her childhood are incredibly sad. Definitely one book that will stay with you for a long time. Read more →

Books That Will Surprise You

Atonement by Ian McEwan

by Ian McEwan

One summer day in 1934, 13-year-old Briony Tallis misunderstands a flirtation between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, with devastating consequences. Now, as World War 2 rages, an older Briony starts to realize the reality of what happened and the full repercussions she has caused. Can Briony find atonement or is it too late? No matter what you do, make sure to read until the very end, because the ending is what makes this one of those books that move you to rethink everything you just read. Read more →


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

You will have to settle for a vague description for this book because I don’t dare risk spoiling it for you. As the protagonist Cadence slowly starts regaining her memory and all the details of what happened start becoming clear, half the fun is in trying to figure out what is going on. I really enjoyed trying to piece the mystery of this book together. All I can say is that at some point, this story will make you cry. But that is all the spoiler you will get from me. Read more →


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

Taking the same train to work every day, Rachel is fascinated by a woman who lives along her route. Everyday, Rachel gets a glimpse into this woman’s “perfect” life. Until one day, when Rachel witnesses something shocking. I think unreliable narrators like Rachel make for the best page turners because you can never figure out what is true and what is not. Love it or hate it, The Girl on the Train is definitely one of those books you can’t put down no matter how hard you try. Read more →

Books To Make You Fall In Love

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen the BBC miniseries or the Keira Knightley movie, you still need to read the book. Jane Austen’s witty novel is a fun reminder of the importance of marrying for love and not lust or security. For many, it’s one of the first books that move you to fall in love with a fictional character, because who can resist a gentleman like Mr. Darcy. Read more →


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

Two kids with cancer who fall in love. Well that’s a recipe for tears if I’ve ever heard one. Knowing that she will die someday sooner rather than later, Hazel is afraid to let anyone get close to her. In her selfless way, she wants her death to cause as little pain as possible. The true beauty of this story lies in the ending lines: “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you.” If you want an inspiring and emotional read, this book is for you. Read more →


Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Safe Haven
by Nicholas Sparks

Let me start by saying I know that Nicholas Sparks books all follow the same formula. Which just means that if you love one, you’ll love them all … and vice versa. For whatever reason, his books get me every time. I have to say, I think Safe Haven has a little more depth than most of his books. Kate appears in a small beachfront town in North Carolina, obviously with her guard up. But as she befriends her neighbor Jo and begins to fall for a local widower Alex, she must choose to risk letting others in and tell them of her dark past. Read more →

What powerful books that move you have you read?

27 Books That Touch Your Emotions. If you are looking for good books to read, try out these books that will move you to tears, make you afraid, surprise you, and all in all give you all the feels.

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  • Reply Patricia April 22, 2019 at 3:37 am

    Tall Oaks by Stephen Whittaker.One of the sweetest teenage boys in all the books I’ve read,a small town living through their own sadnesses AND an ending didn’t see coming.One of those rare books that made me sit quietly for a little while after I finished it!

    • Reply Rachael April 22, 2019 at 9:37 am

      Oh, I’ve never heard of this one. It sounds fantastic!

  • Reply CJ | A Well-Read Tart April 22, 2019 at 10:04 am

    A MAN CALLED OVE is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. It’s simple writing done beautifully, though the story itself is anything but simple. I laughed a lot while reading this book, and I also shed quite a few tears. It’s not a tear-jerker, but it gives you all the feels. It’s about love, anger, sadness, friendship, reluctance, and learning that there’s still a lot left to learn, even when you think life can’t surprise you anymore. I feel like everyone has an Ove in their lives, and it makes you see that person — and your behavior toward your “Ove” — in a new light.

    • Reply Rachael May 2, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      I have heard so much about this book. I really need to get around to reading it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Reply Sarah's Book Shelves April 22, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Holy moly – I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the scariest book I’ve ever read!

    And love that you’re featuring One Second After – I read that ages ago and really liked it!

    • Reply Rachael May 2, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      I’m so glad I already knew they had caught the GSK when I started reading it, or I don’t think I could have handled I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

  • Reply Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins April 24, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Love this list! Definitely ALL THE FEELS! A few of my favourites in here – In Cold Blood (so scary, but SO compelling!) and To Kill A Mockingbird (which just had my heart completely swollen). Plus a few from my TBR – I’m really looking forward to I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, and Atonement. Thank you, Rachael! ❤️

  • Reply Patricia April 25, 2019 at 12:46 am

    Just finished “Circe”.Another one I will buy so I can keep the characters close.Beautiful writing,beautiful story.

  • Reply Gayathri May 20, 2019 at 10:59 am

    This is a fabulous list and contains a lot of books that I love. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorite books ever.

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