8 Stress-Free Books // for anxious readers like me who cannot take one more second of angst

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I’ve reached the point in my life that conflict in all forms takes me completely out & my soul is too weak from college to handle it.

AT ALL. Physically, emotionally, book characters??????? It’s a v sad sight to view a Anxious Malanie in her natural habitat, Reading A Book.

And recently I made the outrageous decision to read Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. And holy MOLY. it was a gorgeous book????? But effing STRESSFUL??????

Here is actual footage of me, miserably trying to cure myself after reading STTS:

Dr. Malanie Hello I am here to talk to you about Book Stress. Which I understand you’ve been experiencing?

Anxious Malanie: ………book stress? Do you mean like–

Dr. Malanie: Yes, exactly. Now, how do you handle stressful situations in books?

Anxious Malanie: *demonstrates*

Dr. Malanie: Ah, I see. So you literally curl into the fetal position on the actual floor. That’s extremely immature.

Anxious Malanie: *shrugs* I guess so.

Dr. Malanie: well don’t worry. You may be the absolute worse case I’ve ever seen. in my entire career. But there’s still hope! You know what I’m gonna prescribe?

Anxious Malanie: um. well? Maybe I should try–

Dr. Malanie: TOTAL AVOIDANCE. This way, you’re guaranteed! to never! encounter stress in books! You’ll be back to enjoying your Reading Experience in no time. 🙂

So, this post is specifically made for those like me who would like books with minimal emotional turmoil.

We’re talking all conflict is resolved within two pages at MOST. General angst/sadness/miscommunication between characters = almost nonexistent.

Because Book Stress is a real thing and help is out there, from your cute friend Malanie c: c:

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1. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

This is 673 pages of pure WHOLESOME value. It’s neutral acquaintances-hate-friends-lovers,,,,,,which, yeah, sounds v stressful. But I promise, I’m a neurotic mess and I never felt an ounce of stress.

You constantly know that everything’s going to work out, and I think it’s because the main character, Van, is never really upset about anything????

Whenever life gets her down, she just adorably and hilariously Takes Charge and Deals With It.

It was comforting and quality slow burn.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

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2. Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka

what an extremely cute book!!!!! The cover does not deceive you, this is pastel af.

Even though Megan is constantly getting into trouble of some kind, and meddling in her friends’ romances, she’s very quick to fix things and get it together.

Angst is kept at bare minimum. Warning: you may feel sad that you can’t be a person in this story because it’s so Shakespearean and it gently tucks you into bed.

Always Never Yours

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3. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I loved this so much and no one is more surprised than I am. I loved it even more than Cruel Prince.

Gavriel > Cardan. Which is a tremendous thing to say but it’s true.

furthermore, these characters are complete idiots, every last one of them (except Gavriel,,,,he’s instead a psychopath). So, you’re going to watch them flail and feel a sense of peace????

because you know they’ll NEVER react appropriately or responsibly to danger, so from the start we don’t set the bar high.

You can settle in for the ride and smile fondly at the characters as they fumble along.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

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5. First & Then by Emma Mills

This is the only Emma Mills book I don’t own, but out of all her books this one has the least amount of stress. It’s about this girl who has a new teenage brother & the BOND they slowly form.

Her little brother looks up to her and her alone????? He pretty much hero-worships her, and forgives everything she does immediately, and she feels immediately like shit every time she treats him badly.

+ Like every Emma Mills heroine, Devon is intensely lovable. So, how can you be stressed when she’s standing *right there* being adorable????

First & Then

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6. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This book is meant to carry you far away on a boat of flowers, playing on the harp “I Get To Love You” by Ruelle.

I felt absolutely NO stress from this book. It’s just fantasy worlds! And aesthetic conversations! And everything ends so well?

I highly recommend for the //I’m Numb to All Joy and Want to Feel Whimsical// crowd.

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

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7. Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

Not enough people know and love Anyta Sunday, but she’s one of my favorite authors and deserves your attention!!

This series especially is SO SOFT and slow burn. There are four books so far, and each one pairs up the star signs into CUTE little soulmates.

Also it’s gay, which is commonly known to get us through any stress.

Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love, #1)

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7. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Words cannot do justice to how I feel about this book. If you need a reprieve from endless inner turmoil, this is the book for you.

Hilarious, Percy is a Brave Adventurous Soul, and a pile of Greek gods.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

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8. Death Note by Tsugumi Ōba

You may be thinking: WHAT ON EARTH? i’m trying to chill myself out not receive Death Notes. *gestures*

But in this story, the worst thing that can happen to the main character is prison &/or losing his soul, and if you think about it,,,,,,,it’s kind of fine if these things happen. I mean, he’s a pretty bad person.

Also, he’s TOLD that these consequences are waiting for him and he’s still like “okay but i don’t give a f*ck.”

So, that leaves us with a stress-free journey! You can just sit back and watch Light Yagami commit murder + lowkey cheer for L, the boy trying to catch him.

Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)

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These are some of my most stress-free books, for when you’re overwhelmed and need something emotionally safe. I’m calling it the Soothing Books For When You Can’t Take The Drama Anymore: aka chilleading w Bob “YA Lit” Ross.

What are some of your favorite calming books? if you make a post sharing your most soothing reads, pls share w me, I need comforted at all times ❤ ❤ 



83 thoughts on “8 Stress-Free Books // for anxious readers like me who cannot take one more second of angst

  1. Loretta @ The Laughing Listener says:

    MAL. I LOVE THIS IDEA SO MUCH???? Because book stress is TOTALLY an actual thing that I suffer from on a regular basis *I say to you while weeping into a pint of ice cream on a rainy day watching the sappiest rom coms I can find* Some of these are already on my tbr, but I’m so surprised by The Coldest Girl in Coldtown?!? I never hear anything about that one, so now I’m SUPER curious and must read it asap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      oh god I suffer so much due to books, especially when my little moonbeams are hurt in any way???????? I want characters to experience nothing but happiness so that I can ignore all my my issues and their issues and all the issues 😭

      + Coldest Girl In Coldtown is so much better than The Cruel Prince, I stand by this bold statement


  2. Caro @ bookcheshirecat says:

    Ohhh this is just the post for me! I love soft and stress-free books, especially when I’m anxious or stressed myself! I do love getting my soul destroyed by books, but sometimes I really need a break with something fluffy 💖 You really make me want to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      slkdjflksdj i’m so happy u liked it Caro!!!! ❤ ❤ same, i need to make a post about books that destroy our souls, bc that's enjoyable sometimes, especially after I've been nurtured by stress-free books. if a book destroys your heart, it's TRULY AMAZING because that means the characters were precious and fragile and sldkfj

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jamie says:

    I definitely didn’t expect to see Death Note on a chill stress-free list, but when I thought about it I can see why. While Light is a megalomaniac, he’s a *fun* megalomaniac and reading the cat and mouse game between him and L is just a pure joy ride. Every Heart a Doorway and The Lightning Thief have been on my TBR for ages now, so it’s good to see them on this list as well, it gets more more excited to read them! Thank you for the list, and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      oh gosh, only after publishing this post i realized Death Note wasn’t the best choice, but then againnnnn, he IS a cute? fun? megalomanic ❤

      + i hope you love The Lightning Thief, it's SO MUCH HAPPINESS and sunshine, i'm just about to start book 2 (i hope w my entire heart that the series doesn't get angsty, i cannot handle this possibility sldkfj)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Malka @ Paper Procrastinators says:

    Just reading the title made me happy. There are many times when I cannot take stress of any kind and I’m so glad to see that there’s someone out there like me!

    First off, I loved so many on the books on this list, and I’m now going to look into all the rest on here! Always Never Yours and First & Then were so relaxing!

    I also have some books to recommend that I found to be blissfully happy, and minimally stressful. The Kiss Quotient is amazing and just makes me happy when I think about it. Again, there’s resolution within a chapter or too, so the plot doesn’t suffer, but neither does your heart. I love Crazy Rich Asians as well because even though it’s dramatic and over the top, it never made me anxious or stressed out!

    I really hope you do a part 2 to this post sometime soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      thank youu Malka!!! i’m so happy there are other people who feel the same abt stressful books, sometimes it’s so hard for me to DEAL with emotionally investing in a character’s problems when i’m already crying into my herbal tea bc of college and stuff

      also SKDJF I LOVE KISS QUOTIENT SO MUCH????? i’m currently reading book 2, The Bride Test, and so far it’s a little bit??? sad??? it starts out w a funeral. ////so that’s the tone we’re going with book 2//////

      + now i really want to read Crazy Rick Asians, i was feeling kind of hesitant bc the hype was so big, and i missed it, but now i’m feeling more excited

      ++now you’ve inspired me and i want to make a part 2 post!!!!! + maybe a post for “when u want to be feel v stressed over Irresponsible but Adorable and Angsty characters”


  5. Nimika @ wordhaven says:

    Okay, first of all, the idea of this post is SO GREAT. Like, sometimes you just want to read stressfree books and it’s so hard to judge when you haven’t read them??? And this is so specific and soft and I’m in love with this post.
    The Wall of Winnipeg is such a special book omg. Van is honestly my role model when it comes to dealing with anything stressful bc she just wings it and makes it seem like nothing was wrong in the first place. And every soft Van & Aiden interaction where he helps her with her panic attacks is my ultimate fave.

    Okay, I’ve immediately added Leo Loves Aries to my TBR and the reviews are so staggeringly good, I shall read this book v v soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      I am so glad u love it, i wanted to do something v soft and nice bc sometimes i cannot handle the angst and i was just at the point where: “i hope other ppl also need soft book recs bc i need to be validated, i am a stressed out puddle”

      ALSO YOU ADORED VAN ALSO? WHAT IS THIS? JOY? I FEEL SO HAPPY??? I adored her, she is the ultimate chill person, it was so comforting

      +I cannot believe i haven’t already rec’d Leo Loves Aries to you !!! i have no doubts at all u shall love it, it’s a Nims Book™️ 100%

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ayunda says:

    Yes I totally agree about The Lightning Thief! For me it’s not only a stress-free and lighthearted book, but also funny and nostalgic. A wonderful read, both as rereads or first-times 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kat @ Novels & Waffles says:

    Okay, first off: HOW ARE YOU SO DANG FUNNY???? I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, laugh when I read your posts. TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, DOCTOR MALANIE! Hahaha. Also, I totally needed this list because recently I’ve been in the mood for SOME FLUFF and this delivered.


    I recently tried reading Every Heart a Doorway and had to put it down for a bit (maybe I’ll pick it back up later??). WHy you might ask? UM CAUSE THEY POUR ACID ALL OVER A DEAD BODY AND DECOMPOSE IT. THEY MELT THAT DEAD GIRL’S SKIN RIGHT OFF. JUST STRIP IT DOWN TO THE BONES. IN A BATHTUB!!!! THIS IS NOT THE STUFF OF CUTE FLUFF. But then again, I have a weak stomach for things like that so maybe I’m just weaksauce ??? haha. Also, maybe the ending is way more chill than the initial murders make it out to be???? Asking for a friend who is me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      OMG THANK YOUUUUU i’m just so happpy u think i’m funny bc u are the only person to feel this way in the history humans and I LOVE YOU

      also i almost forgot about the **pours acid over dead body to decompose it*** incident,,,, those were SOME BRUTAL ACTIONS and it was done so casualllyyyy???

      (((((idk why but in books these things don’t disturb me but if i see so much as a paper cut on someone’s finger irl, i freak out and gag and it’s an entire ordeal. HELP WHY AM I LIKE THIS sldkjf)))))

      also i remember the ending being v fluffy and surprising and generally happy and chill ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Olivia @ Purely Olivia says:

    This post is adorable and I love it so much!! Oh my gosh, Salt to the Sea was an amazing book but I cried SO much and parts of it were so so hard to read?? (& yet it was so good that I’ve read it twice…but it was hard)

    I love Always Never Yours and I liked First & Then too! *basks in the glory of non-stressful books* AND THE LIGHTENING THIEF. Thank goodness there are so many Percy Jackson books because I could fill my days with Percy and Annabeth and Grover and everyone else and be perfectly content. The only other book I’d add to your list is Harry Potter because it’s just so nostalgic and adorable and heartwarming?!

    Lovely post as always! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      ahhhh Olivia thank youuuuuuu c: c: c: c: c:

      that ending to Salt to the Sea, how EMILIA’s STORY GOES SLDKFJ i’m still internally crying, i was in a state of shock, she was honestly the most precious moonbeam

      also i am basking in the glory of Emma Mills books gosh, i wish she would publish a book approximately every two months, i feel like that’s the most fair thing for everyone

      + i am so ashamed bc to this day, i’ve only read up until book 4 of Harry Potter, but HOW CAN I AFTER THE GOBLET INCIDENT??? CEDRIC,,,,,,,,THAT SUNSHINE HUFFLEPUFF.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Olivia @ Purely Olivia says:

        I KNOW, Emilia didn’t deserve that, and I couldn’t believe it actually….happened. BUT, Joanna and Florian, can we take a moment and adore how that ended up?!?

        Oh my gosh, I agree, can that be a thing?

        OH NO MALANIE. Well, I understand your fears and I can’t lie, more and more sunshiney characters die from that point forward…BUT HARRY, DO IT FOR HARRY.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sapphire says:

    This post is SUCH a life saver because I can NOT take anymore angst 💖
    Also, Always Never Yours and the Lightning Thief are both perfect for this list?? The cutest contemporary ever and Percy, my chaotic cinnamon roll? Like I said, PERFECT.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Winged Cynic says:

    “furthermore, these characters are complete idiots, every last one of them (except Gavriel,,,,he’s instead a psychopath). Hahahahaha I always laugh reading your posts (they themselves are good for anxiety!)

    Also, I can’t believe you had the guts to put Death Note on this list. 😂 I mean, the utter distress I felt when a certain beloved character died halfway through the series shot my blood pressure right through the roof, and the ending…talk about angst girl!

    (Though for reals, I do get you – as far as murder and deception goes, you know everyone’s going to hell anyway, so might as well sit back and chill. LOGIC. 😂😂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      ahhhh thank you so much????? this is one of the best things i’ve ever heard about my posts &&&&& i’m so FLATTERED and ILYSM ❤

      lolololllll i was just expecting everyone to lose their souls in surprising ways, so i felt v relaxed and accepting about everything that happened to them XD

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Meeghan reads says:

    I genuinely LOLed at your description of The Coldest Girl in Cold Town. I’ve been side-eyeing it for quite some time now, and you have sold me on it. Mostly with the sentence “furthermore, these characters are complete idiots, every last one of them (except Gavriel,,,,he’s instead a psychopath)”. I’m now off to buy this. THANK YOU MALANIE!! (Also, my non-stressful rec for you is The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding. Cute contemporary, and lots of burger eating. Win win!

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      YAY THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY, I HOPE YOU LOVE IT SLKDJF (holly black did so well with it and i just really love Gavriel, i hope u love him toooooo)

      + Jordi Perez is on my tbr!! but now that i know you think it’s amazing, i’m going make it a priority bc burger eating is my favorite thing + los angeles???? IT JUST SOUNDS SO NICE c: c: c: c:

      Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      that’s so true, it’s hard to relate to YA books sometimes when the character’s have so many problems???? AND I HAVE SO MANY PROBLEMS??? i’m already stressed out & then the characters are stressed out & i need them to be calm and fluffy sldfkjlskjf

      i hope u love Every Heart a Doorway! someone rec’d Magicians to me but i’m still not sure what it’s abouttttt


  12. Destiny @ Howling Libraries says:

    Oh my gosh, I NEEDED THIS. ♥♥ I just… sometimes I need stress free books and I need to know I’m not alone in this?!?! 😭💗 Also, yes to Percy, holy hell is he just the cutest little cinnamon roll and those books are so comforting to me EXCEPT I’m reading the last PJO book right now and I haven’t been spoiled for much of anything so I’m like…. yo the stress is SO REAL right now? But the first 4 books were the coziest warm blankets and I adored them ♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      slkdjflskj u are so not alone, i crave stress-free plots with my entire soul, but there is always so much conflict and I can’t handle it sometimes c’:

      i just need soft, funny characters being adorable and the most lowkey, solvable problems possible. I think if I read one more ***miscommunication** between characters i’m going to break down

      + Percy is JUST COZY AND DELIGHTFUL AF, i’ve only read book 1 and it felt so nice and lighthearted, lord how is Rick Riordan so damn good at writing????????

      (*is already stressed for Percy after book 4* HOW DARE rick riordan give that buttercup angst???? i’ve never been more outraged in my life)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Norrie says:

    Love the list!
    I think books should defo have a stress rating on them, haha 😀
    I read Death Note a few years ago, and i agree. It was pretty cool.
    I love post apocalyptic stories, but they do stress me out a lot 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      oh god yes, we DESERVE stress ratings upfront, preferably rated by v anxious ppl so we know for sure

      Death Note is so artistic and COOL, I love how calm and collected all the characters are even though the background is chaotic, they’re so Spock-like sometimes and i love them

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    Ahhh, this is perfect, since I’ve been reading so many stressful books lately! Based on the books on this list that I’ve read – Every Heart a Doorway and Percy Jackson – I’m betting all the rest of these are fantastic! I’m especially interested in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      thank youu Margaret!!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Coldest Girl in Coldtown was so surprisingly good & calm????? and everyone loves Holly Black's Cruel Prince but i'm just sitting in the corner alone, quietly wishing for a Coldest Girl in Coldtown book 2


  15. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Oh I know the book stress stress all too well. 🙂 It’s almost funny I read to escape from the stress of everyday life but then I come across so much book stress. I’m stuck in a never ending cycle.
    I haven’t read all of these but yeah I need more stress-free books on my TBR list. Every Heart a Doorway is a great story to have on this list; it’s so beautifully written that it’s kind of hard to feel stressed while reading it, the writing just comes across as calming in my mind (have you read the other books in the series that have been released yet?)
    Also YA contemporaries are my go-to when I want something stress free. I mean it doesn’t always work out that way but sometimes I need a fluffy and cute romance story, so that’s what I’ll reach for.
    Great post, and great book recs too. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      lolollll this is so true, it’s like stress JUST NEVER ENDS bc our adorable characters also have to go through problems, and i want to protect them but at the same time i’m drowning in my own stress, and why do i do this to myself?????

      + that’s such a great way to describe it, the writing in Every Heart a Doorway was so gorgeous that it was calming ❤ i haven't read the other books but GOSH i want to so much. i'm currently on the waitlist and i just want to leap in front of everyone in line and run away with the series XD

      and YA contemporaries are so much easier for me to read than fantasy!!! i feel so dumb w fantasy books bc w fantasy i need to *apply by brain* to new politics & cultures & i need to be spiritually ready for all that commitment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Don’t get me wrong I know the story would be kind of boring if nothing happened, but it hurts seeing what my favourite characters have to go through. 😦
        I’ve only read the first three, the fourth has just been released but it’s still on my TBR list at the moment. They’re both amazing though.
        Ha, yeah I know what you mean, sometimes when I can’t get into a certain fantasy book I wonder if it’s because my mind just can’t apply my brain to thinking too much. Normally it means it’s too early in the morning! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. thebookishskies says:

    You have no idea how much I needed this post. I’m currently waiting on my college entrance exams results and I’m so anxious all the time??? Which is probably why I’ve been avoiding the stressful books on my TBR. I still have to read Obsidio and Crooked Kingdom, and I was planning on doing it this month, but I have so much in my mind that I just want to sit down with a stress-free read and enjoy it. I’m absolutely taking some of these recommendations! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      i’m so glad you liked it!!!!! + oh god i relate to stress about college exams, it’s so cruel and horrible?????? what evil sorcerer created them and wanted to watch us slowly lose our souls dlskjf

      i’ve been avoiding so many books but i no longer feel bad about it (crooked kingdom was so stressful but ❤ Kaz ❤ )

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ says:

    ok I might possibly need this because though people like to say reading is relaxing, it’s not so for us! 🙂 I’ll have to give the books a try!!

    A feel-good read for me is probably something like The Secret Garden or the Ramona Quimby books – so far, much of the YA I’ve read have been kind of stressful lol! Extra reason to grab a book from your list when looking for something nonstressful.

    Liked by 1 person

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