Let’s be honest: Sometimes you just want a book that’s going to put you through the entire range of human emotions. The kind of read that has you laughing one minute and bawling your eyes out the next, or restores your faith in love but also reminds you that heartbreak is the pinnacle of devastation. …Basically the written equivalent of an Adele album.
When we heard that Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were teaming up to co-write a novel about two boys who (may or may not!) fall in love, we couldn’t help but wonder what sort of feels we should expect from this collaboration. Will we be ugly crying, like we were at the end of literally all of Adam’s novels, or swept away by another one of Becky’s adorable romances? We’ll have to wait to read What If It’s Us to know for sure, but in the meantime, we’ve rounded up the ten books that gave US all the feels!
Ready? These emotional books for teens will give you ALL the feels!
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Honestly, we just saw the movie and the feels are TOO FRESH. Just thinking about this story gets us so worked up. You will cry, you will rage, and you will laugh at the lighthearted moments between. You’ll be inspired to make the world a better place. Read this book!
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
If “all the feels” were a genre, this book would be deemed a modern classic. With an epically quotable romance, some of the wittiest secondary characters in YA, and that TWIST, you should know that even thinking about this book is enough to choke us up.
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
3. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
From the very first page, this book demolished our emotions. Literally, from the first line, we knew what we were in for. And we read it anyway, because it had so much depth, such heartbreaking friendships… Carver dealing with loss and trauma was an emotional ride we needed.
“Where are you guys? Text me back.” That’s the last message Carver Briggs will ever send his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. He never thought that it would lead to their death.
Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation.
Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a “goodbye day” together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.
Soon the other families are asking for their own goodbye day with Carver—but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these goodbye days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?
4. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Family, friends, and a food truck! This book was equal parts funny, romantic, and relatable. It had us grinning at the adorable budding romance, cheering for two frenemies finding common ground, and wanting to give our parents a hug for everything they do. In short, we loved the way this book made us feel!
Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined.
But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business.
What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?
5. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
There are happy AND heartbreaking feels in this one—think This Is Us for your bookshelf. This read is all about family. It’s about the ones we choose, and the ones who choose us. About how family defines us, and how we define ourselves. Prep the tissues for this one!
Being the middle child has its ups and downs.
But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—
Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.
And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.
6. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Willowdean’s journey to gan back her confidence and show the world what makes her a star will have you cracking up one minute and tearing up the next. There’s love, loss, friendship drama, and those inspiring one liners that make us want to frame every sentence Julie Murphy writes. This book gave us all the feels, PLUS some motiviational wall art!
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, and Dolly Parton songs, Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
7. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Between the title and author, you should have a pretty good idea of what emotions are in store. An epic journey through an unforgettable last day on earth—and a reminder that it’s never too late to truly live, or truly love. Also, we might have started tearing up just writing about this one.
We here at Last Friend Inc. are collectively sorry for this loss of you. Our deepest sympathies extend to those who love you and those who will never meet you. We hope you find a new friend of value to spend your final hours with today.
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
8. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Another YA classic that set the standard in ugly crying. This is, oh, you know, just a casual story about what really makes life worth living. And second chances. And goodbyes. And never judging a book by its cover. There’s a reason this book’s quotes are all over Pinterest.
What if you only had one day to live?
What would you do? Who would you kiss?
And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
9. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Full disclosure: Lord of Shadows gave us even MORE feels than this trilogy opener. But the entire dynamic between the Blackthorn family, Julian and Emma, Cristina and the Rosales brothers… these characters burrowed their way into our hearts, and we’re sure that Queen of Air and Darkness is going to absolutely wreck us.
It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?
10. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
With the romance that made us swoon, the mother and daughter relationship that broke our hearts, and Xiomara’s own journey to find her voice, this book really drove the point home that we should never give up on our dreams.
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.