Books We Reach For When We Need To Destress

This time of year can be very stressful. With exams, graduation, and summer on the way, here are our favorite books we reread to destress.

Fantasy Fiction Graphic Novels Just For Fun Pop Culture Recommendations Romance

To say we live in stressful times would be an understatement. You’ve got a hundred things on your to-do list, they all should’ve been done yesterday, and your heart is racing just thinking about everything going on in your life. You’re stressed. Luckily, it’s scientifically proven that reading can help lower stress levels. That said, sometimes it can be difficult to pay attention to a book when you’re worrying about other things. One way we at Bookstr fix this dilemma is by reaching for our favourite re-reads. Follow along to discover some books that may become your go to read to help you destress.

The Lost Continent Series by Catherine Asaro


I’ve probably read this series a few dozen times, at least once a year since the first book was released in 2004. I was a sophomore in high school when I picked this book up and was immediately able to escape into the fantasy world that Asaro created. It literally has it all: magic, far off lands, romance, action, and each book interconnects with one another while bringing into focus a new set of protagonists and their journey to finding friendship and love. At this point it’s such a comfort because I know what will happen, and I still get emotionally invested in the story. 

– Kristi Eskew, Editorial

The Secret Sakura Shares by Akira Hagio


When it comes to manga, I usually read them then donate to others so that I can make room for more, but not this one. The trope of “pedigree vs new money” doesn’t feel overdramatized to me like some stories may do and the comedic dynamic between the MC and male lead always gives me a good laugh. Furthermore, Hagio doesn’t bring too many unnecessary characters into the mix so the story doesn’t feel overcrowded. I have reread this manga a multitude of times so I know what happens with the plot, but that’s perfect for me who usually gets stressed when faced with unpredictability.

– Jhade Gales, Graphics

Canterwood Crest Academy Series by Jessica Burkhart


I love the horses, cute boys, a little bit of romance and drama at the equestrian boarding school. I relate to so many of the characters even though they’re younger than me. The books make me laugh, smile, and sit on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next. They provide an escape from reality for a little while. The fictional “initiation ice cream”- mint chocolate chip with caramel sauce sounds delicious. If there had been an equestrian boarding school that included middle school and high school near me, I definitely would have attended.  

– Christina Hardesty, Editorial

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


It is a fact universally acknowledged that all people of an anxious disposition must be in want of a Jane Austen novel. Whenever I’m stressed, I often find myself reaching for one of my copies of Pride and Prejudice (as I own several). Escapism at its finest, Austen shines in her prose that expertly weaves witty social commentary of Regency England with swoon-worthy romance.

The character development and eventual connection between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy is surprisingly modern and healthy for the time, and they are the blueprint for enemies-to-lovers everywhere. Besides, reading about characters being socially awkward and panicking at seeing someone they don’t like when they deliberately go to that person’s house is cathartic in the best way possible.

– Cara Hadden, Editorial

Eighteen Years by Madisen Kuhn


Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed and need to consume something light and easy to follow and connect with, I automatically reach for poetry. Madisen Kuhn uses beautiful imagery and playful language to accentuate topics of romance, self-image, mental health, and the ebb and flow of finding yourself. Eighteen Years is a nostalgic 2013 Tumblr-era, lying on the grass on a warm summer day, cozy coffee shop vibe all in one. I’ve read this collection dozens of times, and these poems comfort and inspire me every time. And there are pretty line art doodles to enjoy throughout the sections!

– Olivia Mason, Editorial

Favourite Sherlock Holmes Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle


Favourite Sherlock Holmes Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle is my go-to book whenever I’m stressed and overwhelmed. Reading about how Sherlock Holmes solves his cases using deductive reasoning, regardless of how complicated it might be, eases me and reassures me that I, too, can find a way out of that state. It encourages me to take a step back and reassess my situation. Also, I enjoy Sherlock’s personality because he doesn’t take himself or his life too seriously.

– Joyce John Aliche, Social

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi


Under the Never Sky was one of the few books I remember finding in my high school library, and I decided to check it out randomly because I was drawn to it for some reason. When I read it initially, I could feel the stress that the main female lead, Aria, felt when she accidentally found herself locked in this world that operates completely differently than her own society and with people that she was taught were dangerous.

Whenever I myself feel overwhelmed back in high school, I tend to come back to this book and escape my own problems and go through this stress with Aria as she navigates back home with an enemy of her home. Now when I look at this book on my personal shelf, it gives me nostalgia and it calms me in an almost strange way.

– Jaiden Cruz, Graphics


If you want more recommendations from the Bookstr staff, click here!