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TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 19, 2022

20 Books That Can Read Your Every Mood

Today on Zoella, we’re exploring the books to add to your TBR pile if you’re feeling overwhelmed by emotion, be it positive or negative, and the go-tos you can turn to when feeling your feels is hard- be it love, loneliness, heartbreak or anxiety, we’ve got you…

A populated, colourful, busy bookshelf- pure joy! Saving you in moments of panic, keeping  you floating on a high in times of euphoria and providing the perfect escapism when life is too much, the past couple of years have seen a resurgence in public declarations of love for the simple pleasures of a good book and all it can offer no matter the emotions you find yourself experiencing on any particular day. Be it recommended by a friend, passed on by a sibling or frantically bought at the airport 10 minutes before boarding a flight, each book we read not only tells the story between its pages, but also the story of our lives at the point of reading- the relatability of a chapter seeing us in tears or finally feeling understood by characters we wish we could meet IRL.

Today on Zoella, we’re exploring the books to add to your TBR pile if you’re feeling overwhelmed by emotion, be it positive or negative, and the go-tos you can turn to when feeling your feels is hard- be it love, loneliness, heartbreak or anxiety, we’ve got you…

Books For When You’re Feeling Anxious

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The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary 

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Like a cup of warm tea on a rainy day, The Road Trip is as reliable as it gets for comfort 101 when anxiety is sky high. Author of bestselling reads The Switch and The Flatshare, The Road Trip follows exes Addie and Dylan as their cars collide on the way to a mutual friend’s wedding and the drama that ensues as they’re forced to reunite two years after their traumatic breakup. Flitting between past and present tense and told from the perspectives of both Dylan and Addie, the book revisits the height of romance during a hot and heavy summer in France, and the all-consuming, powerful and sometimes devastating intricacies of falling deeply in love. Addictive from the first chapter, The Road Trip will pull you deep inside its pages and leave you consumed with its messy secrets and complicated history. Get ready to fall in love!

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Themes and triggers: heartbreak, friendship, coming-of-age, toxic friendships.

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Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn 

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After years of feeling that love was always out of reach, journalist Natasha Lunn set out to understand how relationships work, evolve and shape us. Perfect for days when your anxiety is peaking and a slice of connectedness is what you’re seeking to feel truly grounded, Conversations on Love touches on vulnerability, accepting change, loneliness in loss, redefining romance and more. Fundamentally exploring what it is to be human, this book will ignite empathy, joy and sensitivity within anyone that reads it and reconsider what we truly need to be happy. With contributions from Dolly Alderton, Roxane Gay, Candice Carty-Williams and more, the experts and authors that make up this collection of experiences prove that love in its myriad of forms will so often touch us all in the same ways. For those lost in longing, look no further.

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Themes and triggers: heartbreak, grief, friendship, sex, loneliness. 

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The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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Between life and death, there is a library and when Nora Seed feels she has nothing left to live for, she finds herself right there, in The Midnight Library. With the help of an old friend she can now undo every one of her regrets, as the story follows her emotional journey to try and work out her perfect life after feeling nothing but despair, grief and loss in her real world. Emotional, heart-wrenching, fast paced and thought provoking at its core,The Midnight Library will light up a path of understanding for those who have ever struggled with feelings of hopelessness and ignite a warmth that can feel impossible to find in those moments of despair. For those that wonder “if only”, this book is for you.

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Themes and triggers: suicide, loss, depression, hope, love, fulfilment. 

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The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

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Birdy Finch has felt nothing but uninspired for as long as she can remember, so when the opportunity arises to step into someone else’s life and earn some extra money over the summer, she thinks why not? The life she’s run into, you ask? Her best friend, Heather’s.The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually, there are a few other problems too…

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This romantic, witty read will have you captivated with every page turn, with its beautiful Scottish setting and the endearing naivety of Birdy as a protagonist keeping you enthralled from start to finish. Transport yourself out of any anxious spells you’re feeling and into the Scottish Highlands for this refreshing, intriguing and relatable read, which paired with a glass of wine is guaranteed to soothe all. 

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Themes and triggers: alcohol, love, friendship, quarter-life crisis. 

Books For When You’re In Love

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When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

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“A mythic love story set in Trinidad and Tobago, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead.”

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Alluring, epic and tender, When We Were Birds may have a common theme of death, but you won’t feel anything but alive when immersing yourself in its world. The story’s dual narrative works beautifully with the dual themes of life and death, and this beautiful coming of age tale will have you believing in the idea of fate and destiny from the very beginning. Written in a colloquial Caribbean dialect, the lyricism of the book brings a vivid atmosphere in which you truly feel like you’ve stepped inside the pages of this poignant love story. 

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Themes and triggers: Crime, romance, fantasy, death.

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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang 

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(Very) sexy, smart and heartwarming, this debut novel will resonate with anyone who is experiencing the intricacies and complications of modern romance in all its shining highs and lows.  Stella Lane is on a mission to settle down, aggressively encouraged by her mother who thinks it’s about time she found a husband, but wealthy and intelligent Stella happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome, making the route to love a little more complicated. To overcome her lack of dating experience, Stella decides to hire a male escort to teach her how to be a good girlfriend, and things get steamy pretty quickly.

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Perfectly sweet and smutty, The Kiss Quotient will have you falling head over heels for its endearing and authentic characters and at times red faced and hot under the collar. Capturing the joy and thrill that comes from newfound love, it’s a perfect read for anyone newly smitten.

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Themes and triggers: autism, dating, sex, comedy.

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When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri

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When it comes to Cassidy, Katie can’t think straight. This gutsy tale explores the importance of women taking the reins when it comes to sexuality, pleasure, and finding love where you least expect it, and we guarantee you’ll be obsessed with the undeniable connection of two characters you just know are destined for one another. Cute, fun and fast-paced, the story follows twenty-eight-year-old Kentucky Katie Daniels who has just been dumped by her fiance when she finds herself seated across a negotiating table from native New Yorker Cassidy Price, a sexy, self-assured woman wearing a man’s suit. Sparks are destined to fly as you inhale this feel-good read in a sitting or two. 

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Themes and triggers: LGBTQ+, love, gender, sexuality. 

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Normal People Sally Rooney

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Need we say more? For those who are currently in the throes of love and haven’t experienced the emotional rollercoaster that is Normal People, may we encourage you to buckle in for the ride, ASAP. Meet Dublin livingMarianne, the intellectual wallflower and Connell, the boy everyone likes- unlikely friends, and later lovers, the intensity of their romance is felt in every word of Rooney’s storytelling. Intense, sharp and emotional in every way possible, the story of Marianne and Connell sums up everything it is to fall in love as flawed and damaged individuals, navigating a connection so magnetic neither will escape unscathed. Achingly tender, if there’s one book you buy after reading this post, let it be this.

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Themes and triggers: first love, sex, social class, viloence, shame, mental health, longing.

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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Love isn’t an exact science – but no-one told thirty-nine-year-old geneticist Don Tillman, who’s never had a second date. Feeling stuck, he devises The Wife Project in the hopes of securing a partner for life using an evidence based system guaranteed to secure him a wife. Yet whilst Rosie Jarman isn’t any of the things Don considers ‘musts’, he finds himself falling deeper into a chapter of his life in which love trumps science every time. Funny, endearing, original and poignant, The Rosie Project is everything you could want in a romance novel that pulls at your heartstrings and leaves you rooting for its quirky and addictively loveable characters. 

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Themes and triggers: autism, mental health, social norms and reason vs emotion.

Books For When You’re In Need Of a Good Cry

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A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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A Little Life took Japanese-American author Hanya Yanagihara 18 months to write and it may take you just as long to emotionally recover from. Profound, moving and difficult to read at times, the story follows a quartet of graduates as they embrace the seemingly limitless possibilities of New York City futures, before going on to explore toxic relationships, the far reaching scars of childhood trauma and explicit violence that will leave you fragile and wholly captivated. It’s powerful, complex, dark and not one for the fainthearted, but A Little Life will absolutely deliver on invoking tears if you’re in need of a big cry, and then some. A book that demands to be read.

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Themes and triggers: self-harm, physical, sexual and psychological abuse, drug use, rape.

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They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera 

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A love story with a difference, this book follows the journey of two young strangers who find they have less than 24 hours to live and the final great adventure they embark on during one single day. Heartbreaking, life-affirming and with ‘don’t read whilst wearing non-waterproof mascara’ written all over it, this read is powerful and intriguing at its core. Its flawed and relatable characters are a huge draw of this tale with its only downfall being you’ll likely race through at record speed and be left desperately seeking more. Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss.

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Themes and triggers: mortality, life, human connection, LGBTQ+.

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Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason

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Exploring long-term mental illness in a way that doesn’t feel depressing, Sorrow & Bliss touches on heavy subject matter with a lightness that is utterly captivating. Following the story of Martha Friel- someone whose loved ones see as clever, beautiful and a brilliant writer- she wonders why with seemingly ‘nothing wrong’ she finds being alive harder than most. Heart-shattering but beautiful all at the same time, Meg Mason touches on the hardest parts of being mentally ill with brutal honesty in a way that will help so many feel finally ‘seen’. Described as “for those who loved Fleabag and Normal People”, it’s a contemporary tale of female struggle, unlikely hope and the raw parts of being unwell we may rather squash down. Get your tissues at the ready.

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Themes and triggers: mental illness, depression, dysfunctional family dynamics, love and hope.

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A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

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A novel that explores what it truly means to be human, A Tale For The Time Being combines a contrast of cultures, loss, heartbreak and the familiar threads of what it means to be alive in a way that can only be described as profound. In the wake of the 2011 tsunami, Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home in British Columbia. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes, heartbreak and dreams of a young girl desperate for someone to understand her. Each turn of the page pulls Ruth deeper into the mystery of Nao’s life, and forever changes her in a way neither could foresee. Weaving across continents and decades, A Tale for the Time Being is an extraordinary novel about our shared humanity and the search for home. 

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Themes and triggers: death, natural disaster, cultural differences and impermanence.

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All My Mothers by Joanna Glen

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Between her emotionally absent mother and her physically absent father, Eva Martinez-Green is an only child full of questions about her beginnings. Eva is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why are there no baby pictures of her? Why do her parents avoid all questions about her early years? Her desire to discover where she belongs leads Eva on a journey spanning decades and continents – and, along the way, she meets women who challenge her idea of what a mother should be, and who will change her life forever. Immense, dimensional and beautiful at its core, All My Mothers is guaranteed to trigger ugly crying throughout- not one for the morning commute. 

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Themes and triggers: motherhood, friendship, neglect and coming-of-age.

Books For When You Need Pure Escapism

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Breathless Amy McCullough

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Need to escape reality? Breathless is for you. Set on Mount Manaslu, the eight highest mountain in the world situated in Nepal, journalist Cecily Wong finds herself out of her comfort zone and seriously far from home on a quest for a story that could change her career forever. As their small team starts to climb, things start to go wrong. There’s a theft. Then an accident. Then a mysterious note, pinned to her tent: there’s a murderer on the mountain. The higher they get, the more dangerous the climb becomes, and the more they need to trust one another. And that’s when Cecily finds the first body…

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Intriguing from the first chapter, Breathless is a captivating, intensely intriguing and chilling thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last moment. 

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Themes and triggers: mountaineering, murder, deceit and personal struggle.

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Diary of A Film by Niven Govinden

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A passionate director is at a prestigious European festival to premier his latest film when one morning at backstreet café he strikes up a conversation with a local woman who takes him on a walk to uncover the city’s secrets, historic and personal. As the walk unwinds, a story of love and tragedy emerges, and he begins to see the chance meeting as fate: her story must surely form the basis for his next film. Smart, sexy and cinematic, you’ll find yourself transported to the streets of Italy as Govinden explores the intricacies of life as a creative storyteller and the rights we have to take liberties with somebody else’s story.

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Themes and triggers: artist obsession, LGBTQ+, love and misunderstanding. 

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Within the black and white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements known as Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. A sparkling tale of the impossible made possible, The Night Circus follows two young magicians, Celia and Marco, and a battle in which, unbeknownst to them, only one can win. An intricate, complicated but undeniably magical love story, this achingly beautiful tale will transport you away from the worries and complications of real life thanks to Erin Morgenstern’s enchanting words that feel like sun on the skin on the first day of Spring.

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Themes and triggers: child abuse, death, love, rivalry.

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Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang

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As a staff writer at a prestigious tech publication, the 24 year old Days of Distraction protagonist reports on the achievements of smug Silicon Valley billionaires and insufferable start-up founders while her own request for a raise gets bumped from manager to manager. And when her longtime boyfriend, J, decides to move to a quiet upstate New York town for grad school, she sees an excuse to cut and run. Moving is supposed to show her commitment to J by way of a grand gesture, but in the process of uprooting she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors and other Asian Americans in history, she must confront a question at the core of her identity: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you? A story with belonging at its core, Days of Distraction is intriguing, witty and daringly original- you won’t be able to put it down.

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Themes and triggers: interracial relationships, sexism, identity, culture, love and loss.  

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Miss Jane by Brad Watson

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Inspired by the true story of his own great-aunt, Watson explores the life of Miss Jane Chisolm, born in rural, early-twentieth-century Mississippi with a genital birth defect that would stand in the way of the central “uses” for a woman in that time and place – namely, sex and marriage. This bittersweet tale explores the brutality of the human experience and shines a light on the women in history we should be celebrating, who survived and redefined womanhood against the odds. Feel yourself sucked into Miss Jane’s world the beauty there is to be found in being unapologetically yourself. 

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Themes and triggers: women’s health, stigma, injustice and sexism. 

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