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Up Lit: 15 Feel Good Fiction Novels

Posted 5 months ago by April S

Welcome to our appeal series.

If you're looking for reading recommendations beyond the best seller lists - you've come to the right place. The appeal series includes a variety of books that share similar appeal factors (or story elements) like genre, storyline, tone, writing style and/or characters.

In recent years, a new trend has emerged in the literary world and it's called Up Lit.

What's Up Lit you ask?

Uplifting and life-affirming stories chock full of humor, hope, kindness, compassion, empathy, love, joy and so on ... you know ... all those things that make you feel good inside.

The novels in this blog post fall under more than one genre, but all could be categorized as Up Lit (also known as "feel good fiction").

Enjoy!

Up Lit / Feel Good Fiction

The Helpline by Katherine Collette

1. The Helpline by Katherine Collette

An eccentric woman who is great with numbers—but not so great with people—realizes it’s up to her to pull a community together.

Appeal
  • Genre: Australian Fiction / Humorous Stories
  • Character: Awkward / Flawed / Quirky
  • Tone: Upbeat
  • Writing Style: Engaging / Witty

When you read this by Mary Adkins

2. When You Read This by Mary Adkins (2019)

After his friend, Iris, dies from a terminal illness at age 33, PR genius Smith Simonyi teams up with Iris’ sister, Jade, to make Iris’ final request—to get her blog posts published as a book—a reality.

Appeal
  • Genre: Mainstream Fiction
  • Character: Authentic / Likeable
  • Storyline: Character-Driven
  • Tone: Bittersweet / Moving / Sardonic
  • Writing Style: Engaging

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

3. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

The host of NPR's "Pop Culture Happy Hour" podcast presents a heartfelt debut about the unlikely relationship between a young widow and a major league pitcher who has lost his game.

Appeal
  • Genre: Contemporary Romances
  • Character: Authentic / Flawed / Likeable
  • Themes: Bouncing Back / Love in a Small Town
  • Tone: Heartwarming
  • Writing Style: Engaging / Well-Crafted Dialogue

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

4. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

Entering a flatshare arrangement with a man on an opposite work shift, a heartbroken woman begins exchanging notes with the roommate she has never met and becomes his best friend, and possibly soulmate, through their correspondence.

Appeal
  • Genre: Romantic Comedies
  • Character: Likeable / Quirky
  • Tone: Funny / Heartwarming / Moving
  • Writing Style: Engaging / Well-Crafted Dialogue

Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry

5. Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry

Banking analyst Allegra Cobb plans to quit the minute her year-end bonus hits her account, finally pursuing her yoga career full-time; but an intense relationship with the Instagram guru throws a wrench in her plans.

Appeal
  • Genre: Mainstream Fiction
  • Character: Sympathetic
  • Theme: Go Your Own Way
  • Tone: Funny

Hotel Silence by Audur Olafsdottir

6. Hotel Silence by Audur Olafsdottir

A lonely handyman discovers new meaning in his life when he visits a dilapidated hotel in a war-torn country.

Appeal
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Character: Sympathetic
  • Tone: Bittersweet / Heartwarming / Hopeful
  • Writing Style: Engaging / Witty

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

7. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Part coming-of-age story, part mystery, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a quirky and utterly charming debut about a community in need of absolution and two girls learning what it means to belong.

Appeal
  • Genre: Mysteries
  • Theme: Child Narrator
  • Tone: Offbeat / Upbeat / Whimsical

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

8. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

When an accident on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life lands her in the hospital with a very uncertain future, Margaret struggles to come to terms with family secrets, heartbreak, and starting over before discovering love in an unexpected place.

Appeal
  • Genre: Contemporary Romances
  • Character: Likeable
  • Theme: Bouncing Back
  • Tone: Upbeat
  • Writing Style: Engaging

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern

9. Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern

A head librarian trying to forget the painful realities of her suburban past unexpectedly bonds with a teenager performing community service, a disgruntled former Wall Street high flyer, and other offbeat regulars who encourage her out of her self-imposed isolation.

Appeal
  • Genre: Mainstream Fiction
  • Character: Well-Developed
  • Storyline: Intricately Plotted
  • Theme: Unlikely Friendships
  • Tone: Heartwarming
  • Writing Style: Engaging

Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

10. Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

An artist reeling from her husband's unexpected death and an engineer recovering from his divorce follow the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail from France to Spain, tackling challenges and their own difficulties along the way.

Appeal
  • Genre: Australian Fiction
  • Pace: Leisurely Paced
  • Tone: Amusing / Upbeat
  • Writing Style: Richly Detailed

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

11. You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

A decade after leaving the disinterested father of her baby, Jessica is convinced by her terminally ill mother to make room for the child's father in their lives and embarks on a summer-long trip to France, where she visits the hotel her ex runs and endeavors to make him love his son, in an American debut from England.

Appeal
  • Genre: Contemporary Romances
  • Character: Well-Developed
  • Storyline: Character-Driven
  • Writing Style: Engaging / Witty

Professor Chandra follows his bliss : a novel / Rajeev Balasubramanyam

12. Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam

Follow the completely infuriating, utterly charming Professor Chandra as he tries to answer the biggest question of all: What makes us happy?

Appeal
  • Genre: Humorous Stories
  • Storyline: Character-Driven
  • Tone: Funny / Moving
  • Writing Style: Engaging

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

13. The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

A secretly heartbroken woman who prefers books to people finds her world upended by the arrivals of a poet, a lover and three suspicious deliveries that reveal that someone has found out about her mysterious past.

Appeal
  • Genre: Contemporary Romances
  • Character: Authentic / Snarky
  • Storyline: Character-Driven
  • Themes: Books about Books / Bouncing Back
  • Writing Style: Engaging

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

14. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

A man with a secret rare condition that has enabled him to survive for centuries moves to London to become a high-school history teacher and considers defying his protective guardians' rule against falling in love when he becomes entranced by a captivating colleague.

Appeal
  • Genre: Adult Books for Young Adults
  • Character: Sympathetic
  • Theme: Go Your Own Way
  • Tone: Moving / Romantic
  • Writing Style: Engaging

Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One / Raphaëlle Giordano

15. Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One by Raphaëlle Giordano

A best-selling novel from France depicts the haphazard efforts of a 38-year-old woman to achieve happiness as well as success before breaking free from stagnant routines to find true fulfillment.

Appeal
  • Genre: Mainstream Fiction
  • Character: Relatable
  • Pace: Fast-Paced
  • Tone: Heartwarming
  • Writing Style: Engaging

But Wait, There's More ...

Dear Mrs. Bird / a novel [by] AJ Pearce
The Freiend by Sigrid Nunez
The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller
The Lido by Libby Page
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick
The last days of Rabbit Hayes / Anna McPartlin
The light we lost by Jill Santopolo
Meet me at the museum / Anne Youngson

Looking for more Up Lit novels?

If you love the selections in this blog post and find yourself wanting more ... Novelist is a great place to start.

Use the appeal mixer to combine elements like character (authentic, likeable, quirky or relatable) and tone (upbeat, moving, heartwarming, amusing, hopeful or whimsical) to find more great reads.

Appeal Combos - Novelist

You May Also Enjoy

10 Genuinely Funny Funny Fiction Books You're Sure to Love

10 Books With Delightfully Odd Characters You're Gonna Love

10 Entertaining Novels That Will Put a Smile on Your Face

10 Character-Driven and Upbeat Books to Put You in a Good Mood

10 Fast-Paced and Upbeat Novels to Perk Up Your Day

Further Reading

Meet Up Lit, The Book Genre Designed To Lift Your Spirits - Refinery 29

Up Lit: The New Book Trend with Kindness at its Core - The Guardian

Up Lit: Newest Writing Style Shines Light on Darkness but People Struggle to Define It - Independent

What's Up Lit? - LibraryAware


Featured Image Credit: Image by christels from Pixabay.

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