4 Books to Read On a Cold Winter’s Night // My Top Heartwarming + Emotional Recs!

I say I don’t cry at books much, but that is an absolute lie.

I actually cry because of books more often than I’d like to, ranging from tearing up to full-on sobbing. I’m very soft okay :3

I’ve recently discovered some books I just wanted to talk about, and all of these have emotionally wrecked me in one way or another 💖 I hope you’ll find a book (or five) to add to your TBR!

Also I know winter’s almost over but I’m just scrambling to get these seasonal posts in before spring is here!!

starfish by akemi dawn bowman

I just love this book so much. I read this a few weeks ago, and it broke me so many times in so many ways.

The story follows Kiko, a biracial Japanese-American teen who has to deal with her abusive uncle, narcissist mother, and a crushing rejection from her dream art school.

Kiko is a character that really resonated with me; she’s resilient, and the way she overcomes the traumas of her past is so well depicted. As she learns that she’s beautiful in her own, unique way, she also heals from the abuse and trauma she’d endured. The journey had its ups and downs, but ultimately, she discovers her true identity and who she is as a person, and I loved reading every part of it.

berry 2 I draw a girl with arms that reach up to the clouds, but all the clouds avoid her because she’s made of night and not day.

Her relationship with her childhood friend, Jamie, is so complicated and nuanced and I just loved their romance (it’s a slowburn friends-to-lovers (-to-friends?) which I now love, because of them!).

I lost track of how many times I broke down while reading this. It’s absolutely heartbreaking in a completely beautiful way. It describes the haunting parts of Kiko’s life, but also captures the small, meaningful moments occurring between her and Jamie, creating a captivating balance of darkness and lightheartedness.

darius the great is not okay by adib khorram

I can feel the tears already.

This was such an beautiful, cultural contemporary that wove the coming-of-age trope within its threads while simultaneously hitting me right where it hurts.

Darius, a boy who has never really been in touch with his Persian identity, visits Iran for the first time under less-than-ideal circumstances; the family is only traveling to meet his sick grandfather, and even while they are there, it isn’t a trip full of great experiences.

This story carries themes of family and friendship and that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s about self-acceptance, mental health, and learning to embrace your culture.

It was also so refreshing to see two queer boys in a platonic friendship!! And that just being friends is enough!! I actually picked this up expecting an m/m romance, but I loved it nonetheless.

I can’t even explain my love for this book, and I feel very sure that if you read it, you would also love it? I cannot recommend this enough!!

i’ll be the one by lyla lee

I have to say, this is one of the cutest contemporaries I’ve ever read, and it’s literally serotonin in the form of a book.

It’s honestly one of my favorite books ever, and perfect for reading during the winter because it’s absolutely adorable and heartwarming!!

Skye, the MC, is genuinely one of the best people I’ve read about, and the way she doesn’t care about what other people think of her makes her so likable. Her mom believes she shouldn’t be able to follow her dreams because she’s fat, but Skye, who I absolutely adore, doesn’t care and chooses to anyway.

There’s also: friends-to-lovers. K-pop rehearsals. A taco truck date. Female friendships at its finest. A starry night visit to the Griffith Observatory. An adorable white dog. Really, what’s not to love??

This practically radiates positive energy, and it’s so cheerful and cozy! And not to mention, it’s getting its very well-deserved movie adaptation that I hope will not disappoint!!

the weight of the stars by k. ancrum

Where do I start. From found family to sapphics in space, this one had everything I wanted and so much more.

I thought this was just going to be a cute and quick read about two girls falling for each other, but I was not prepared in the slightest for the emotional rollercoaster it ended up becoming.

It was just SO. GOOD?? I usually don’t enjoy space-y aspects in contemporary books, but I was pleasantly surprised! It was the perfect combination of some of my favorite tropes and Ancrum executed them in such a compelling way.

It was also really great to see a diverse cast of characters with character development that just blew me away. They are so imperfect and so flawed and I loved that they pursued happiness that they completely deserve. I’m so soft for them.


have you read any of these books? what are some of your comfort reads?? do you have any other emotional recs for me??

24 thoughts on “4 Books to Read On a Cold Winter’s Night // My Top Heartwarming + Emotional Recs!

  1. Omg, this is such is such a wonderful list, Katie!! I also just recently read Starfish and oof SO GOOD. Not exactly what I expected but it’s such an important read and my heart broke. I haven’t read any of the ones on this list but I’ve been so desperate to. I own Darius and it’s one I’d like to get to this year. I’ve only just added The Weight of Stars to my tbr but I CAN’T WAIT!!! Such a lovely list of recs <3<3

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  2. I have never cried reading a book but maybe I wasn’t choosing the right book/s🤔 Adding Starfish to my TBR! I’ve heard a lot about Darius the Great, I’ll be the One and The Weight of the Stars but didn’t know they were emotional! I have got to pick one of these soon! Great list, Katie! 💖💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. katie, this post was so great to read through!! i love heartwarming and emotional novels, so all of these books have gone straight to my tbr *faints after looking at how big her tbr has grown* everyone’s talking about how full of serotonin i’ll be the one is – so i need to get myself a copy of it soon!! ahh starfish sounds like such a moving read, and since i’m asian too, it’ll be relatable, and i’m sure it’s going to break me 🥺😭 thank you so much for this wonderful post full of amazing book recs!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read any of these books at all. I am also someone who cries (ALOT) of books and characters! I get too engrossed into them! Im currently reading Me Before You and i just know that there will be endless tears over it

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  5. starfish made me SOB so bad it literally hit so close to home i CANNOT. the other books are high on my TBR and I cannot wait to read them this year!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The list is wonderful, katie! The book ‘Starfish’ sounds really heartwarming and I have (maybe) added it my tbr pile… I hate crying over books but Starfish will probably make me cry even more since I just ‘feel’ the emotions radiating off the book❤️ And ‘I’ll be the one’ sounds so interesting to me! Since I’m a kpop fan, it would be nice to have a quick read (;
    But I have to say, YOU ARE MAKING MY BOOKS OF TBR GROWING! It’s quite frustrating, you know *wink wink*

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  7. Katie, stop making my tbr grow! But seriously, this was such a lovely recommendations post and it felt so special reading about how much each of these books meant to you… Truly, characters that we can resonate with are some of the realest and I am incredibly happy that you managed to do so with Kiko, the quote there was so breathtaking ahh, I really loved how you wrapped up Starfish in that last paragraph, this one is definitely going onto my priority tbr! Thank you so much for sharing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. this is such a great post, Katie!! i read Starfish in 2017 (so quite a while ago, haha) and i 100% agree that it is such an emotional and impactful book. Kiko was such a relatable character for me and her story and struggles with social anxiety really hit me hard 😭 i’m really excited to read I’ll Be the One – it sounds like it’s full of joy and i love that!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have not read ANY of these books and I don’t know how/why? I mean I’ll Be The One is on my TBR, as is Darius The Great Is Not Okay. But STILL!!! (i think starfish is on my tbr as well?)
    Oooh there’s a platonic queer kids relationship in Darius the Great??? That’s awesome
    Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I LITERALLY STAYED UP TILL MIDNIGHT LAST NIGHT READING DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER (2nd Darius) AND OH GOSH, I WAS SO CLOSE TO TEARS
    (I’m sorry for screaming but that book gave me ~feelings~)

    I’m also about to start the weight of the stars! But now I’m scared, I don’t want to cry….(I’m sure I will though)

    Liked by 4 people

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