You need to escape from the world right now? You may not be able to travel as much but reading uplifting stories that will warm your heart and put a spring in your step. Just the ticket to jumpstart your spring reading. So here are some favorite feel-good tales that will definitely bring that necessary smile to your face:
Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard
Sometimes you have to leave your life behind to find your place in the world…
Peyton King has always wanted to belong. She seizes the opportunity to start over at a new school and finally finds real connections with the friends she’s always dreamed of and even an actual boyfriend
But after flying high in her newfound happiness, Peyton comes crashing down when reality sets in and the ones she cares about let her down. Peyton’s friends can’t fix her and she can’t help them if they won’t let her. If she wants to find real, lasting happiness, Peyton will have to search somewhere else.
With nothing but her sketchpad and a backpack, she buys a one-way ticket and gets on a plane. How far will she go to change her story? (Credit: Simon & Schuster)
I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, I wish I had Sara Barnard’s books when I was a teenager. They really speak to the realistic emotions, feelings that I definitely had when I was a teen. This book isnno different! I had a hard time putting this one down! I was just so engrossed in the compelling writing that I found myself to be actually with Peyton. Peyton is also such a well-developed character, someone that anyone, particularly teen readers, would identify with. I kept telling myself, “I exactly felt that way!” with every internal thought she had. This is a must read for anyone. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel inspired and uplifted after you read the lats sentence. What we definitely need for the new year!
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself. (Credit: Corvus)
The Girl and the Goddess: Stories and Poems of Diving Wisdom by Nikita Gill
Meet Paro. A girl with a strong will, a full heart, and much to learn. Born into a family reeling from the ruptures of Partition in India, we follow her as she crosses the precarious lines between childhood, teenage discovery, and realizing her adult self. In the process, Paro must confront fear, desire and the darkest parts of herself in the search for meaning and, ultimately, empowerment. (Credit: G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
If you fall in love with this one like I did, then you should also read Gill’s latest book, Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing and Light.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some long-overdue rest.
Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.
So they decide to try a two-month swap.
Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.
But stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O’Leary’s The Switch, it’s never too late to change everything….or to find yourself. (Credit: Flatiron Books)
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Karaguchi
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .(Credit: Picador)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart. (Credit: Pamela Dorman Books)
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? (Credit: Viking)
I’m completely blown away at how poignant, inspirational, emotional and well written this contemporary novel. All the ideas that are portrayed in this book will be relevant to any reader. I found myself highlighting so many sentences but they were amazing words that just hit all the right places. This is one of the books that is unforgettable and will stay with you always.
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
A KIND OF SPARK tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard? A story about friendship, courage and self-belief, perfect for fans of The Goldfish Boy. (Credit: Knights of Media)
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan
As the person who cares for his terminally-ill mother, Bobby Seed has a lot on his plate. Add to that a responsibility to watch over his little brother (with his endless question about why their mother is in so much pain), keeping up at school, and navigating a relationship with a girl friend who wants to be a girlfriend, and he’s barely keeping his head above the water. Something’s got to give.
But then Bobby’s mother makes a request, one that seems impossible. If he agrees, he won’t just be soothing her pain. He’ll be helping her end it — and end everything. Angry, stirring, and tender, this bold novel tells a story of choice and compassion, exploring the lengths to which we’ll go for the people we love. (Credit: Bloomsbury YA)
The Boy At the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf
There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.
He’s eight years old (just like me), but he’s very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets – not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!
But the truth is, Ahmet really isn’t very strange at all. He’s a refugee who’s run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to be his friend.
That’s where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we’ve come up with a plan. (Credit: Hachette Children’s Group)