Books That Have Changed Lives

As 2019 has been going and resolutions are being enacted and lives are changing in huge and subtle ways– I’ve realized that a lot of who I am is because of the books I read. This train of thought had me wondering what books could I pin point to say have changed me the most? Which lead me to wondering what books have changed the lives of others?
Enter in this post.
I want to highlight the books that have inspired those to lead a better life, whether that be inwardly or outwardly. I want to give those books a moment to change others lives and let them shine just as they have done with the people below. With this in mind, I took to Social Media and Discord asking book bloggers and book lovers from everywhere to share their books and their stories. With that said, thank you to everyone who wrote in and shared their stories with me! It meant so much to me to read all of your responses and see the different books that shaped you and your life!
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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women
“I think I just picked it up because it’s a classic and a pretty hyped one, but it really reminded me that there are so many different ways to be true to yourself and they’re all valid – I found parts of myself in each March sister and even in Marmee, and realized that they could coexist peacefully.” — Isabelle

Jacqueline Wilson’s Collective Works

The Jacqueline Wilson Collection“Honestly, so many books have shaped me, changed me and made me who I am today. I’m sure every other book I read this year, and in future years will shape me a bit more, change me and make me question things.
I wouldn’t say any ONE book drastically altered my life, nor drastically changed me, I will say that a particular author made me realise I wanted to write. Books are able to shape us as people, make us think about others lives whether fictional or real.
As a child (6-12) I really enjoyed reading Jacqueline Wilson’s books, I also got my grandma to buy her magazine when it first came out. And I have hoarded a ton of the magazines now. This author made me realise that I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to write as an escape and write to help others realise they’re not alone. As books and words have that power, to make you feel like you belong, which is a powerful thing.
So whilst this went down a different route, the author, me finding her books allowed me find what I wanted to do as a career. They led me to find my other love, which is writing.” — Clo

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)“I was first introduced to the series in the first grade, and I think I was interested in it mainly because of all the hype surrounding it (plus, it was fantasy, which has always been one of my favorite genres). My mom bought the entire series from a Scholastic book catalog one month and I started reading it whenever I had free time. I was instantly hooked. Those books were so magical (as was the story of JK Rowling, who I came to admire so much that I asked my parents to buy my one of her biographies for Christmas that year) that they made me want to be a writer myself. Ever since, one of my lifelong goals has been to become a published author, and I’ve been working on writing my own novels and short stories. I haven’t published anything yet (or even come close, if I’m being honest) but I’m really hopeful for the future! One of my 2019 resolutions is to finally finish an entire manuscript, and I’m determined to pull it off, so we’ll see how that goes :)” — Alex

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Fairest“I found Fairest at a library and decided to pick it up because it was written by the author of Ella Enchanted. The book is a Snow White retelling where Aza (the Snow White character) is actually considered hideous, and it follows her journey as she tries to save her kingdom. The kingdom she lives in values singing above all else, and although she isn’t beautiful, her voice is. In the end of course she gets her happily ever after and ends up with the prince, who looked past her looks and loved her for who she is.
This book came to me at a time when I was starting to take other’s negative comments to heart. I was bullied for practically everything about myself, but especially my looks. Music and singing has always been important to me though, so having a book where the main character may not be conventionally beautiful but has her music, and where the love interest doesn’t care about beauty and only cares about her really meant a lot to me. It made me feel better about myself and was the first book I could really see myself in. And it’s been years since I found it, but it is still my favorite book and it still means a lot to me.” — Nox

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1)“I encountered this beautiful book February 2018 after hearing about a film adaption being released in March. Simon Vs. opened my eyes to books where characters aren’t just straight and that it’s OK. This was a normal YA contemporary novel that didn’t stereotype anyone or cliche and that’s what makes Simon even better. As a teenager in general, Simon felt so real to me and like he understood things like how awkward talking to a crush is or just struggling to be who you are. Being a straight ally this book made me want to become a stronger ally for people struggling like Simon. Reading this book got me back into reading which without I wouldn’t be writing this post and I made amazing friends because of this book. Simon vs. definitely changed my life for the better by helping me realize that there will be people who see for me and appreciate that.” — Joy
“I saw people talking about the release date for the Love, Simon movie trailer and found out it was a book about a kid being outed. It was the first queer book I heard of. It was definitely for the better. I was having a hard time coming to terms with having to coming out to people because I didn’t want them to see me differently and this book really changed my mind set and help me think that it was going to be OK (especially since I saw my family in there as well in different ways.) Simon Vs. really helped in telling me that I’m still me just a more true and honest version of me.” — Savvy

The Golden One by Deborah Chester

The Golden One (LucasFilm's Alien Chronicles, #1)“One of my absolutely best friends from childhood who has had a HUGE impact on who I am today lent [The Golden One] to me with a couple of other books I cherish now and will for the rest of my life. This book changed my life, I had no idea that characters could have such depth of feeling, that sci-fi could have such an impact on me (I read this the same time as Ender’s Game which was a tie for this). But more than this, it was the story of the friendship, of the loss and heartache felt through our main protagonist in this book that tore my heart to shreds and yet filled me with this indiscernible feeling of having read something beautiful. Few books have had such an impact on me and this was before I read Harry Potter to be fair, haha. Overall though it was realizing that the beauty of a book didn’t need to be happy or glossy to completely earn my heart and soul.” — Haley

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help
“I think my mom or sister wanted to read it so we got it at the library and I read it too and I was just amazed by how amazing the book was. Later on, I read it again (the original English version that time) for English class, and then bought it for myself. As a white woman, it was so good to read this book and understand how long all of this has been going on. It really represents a time where those things were normal, and I was just so baffled. I consider it a classic that I’d recommend anyone to read, because I personally think everyone should read this book.” — Luci

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven“I read this book about 11 years ago, when I was 19 or 20. I picked it up at a book con from the “sales” shelf of one of my favorite Romanian publishing houses because of the title. There’s a scene there that stuck with me that shows how our actions can influence people’s lives, even people we don’t know, people that just happen to pass us by on the street. I used to be in my own bubble back then, but reading that book made me realize that even if I want to pretend I’m living in a bubble and nothing can touch me, I may somehow determine certain events for other people. That scene is stuck in my head even now, and it’s one of the most important lessons I’ve ever gotten from a book, that sometimes it’s important to think first and act later, rather than do what I was doing at the time and not stop and think how my actions can impact other people around me, strangers or people I know.” — Ruby Jo
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What Book Changed Your Life?



  1. Remy Lux

    March 14, 2019 at 10:58 am

    R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, The Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark trilogy, and SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson were all pretty life changing for me.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 14, 2019 at 11:44 am

      oooo I haven’t read any of those yet! May have to waddle to goodreads soon! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. TheCaffeinatedReader

    March 14, 2019 at 11:38 am

    How heartwarming to see what others had to say about the books they spoke about <3 I hope Alex gets that manuscript written and I am a glutton for Little Women, everyone had such great things to say, thanks for sharing Sam <3

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 14, 2019 at 11:45 am

      <3 <3 <3 Thank you for sharing!!!!

  3. Isabelle @ BookwyrmBites

    March 14, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    first 😜
    (that was meant to be a play on the dumbest Youtube comments and the fact that mine is the first one on your list – yay!!! 💕 – but would’ve been even better if mine was the first comment 😕)
    in all seriousness though. this is such an amazing post idea, Sam, and so inspirational to read. I recognize a few books that I’ve also loved or that made me think (HP, Simon, 5 People) and now want to revisit ….. maybe someday when I get the TBR down to a more manageable level? (also, geez, how is every post containing books a threat to my TBR? it’s a problem.)

  4. Kristina

    March 14, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Ohh I really love this concept, that’s awesome !
    apart of Harry Potter, Simon VS and The five people you meet in heaven, thoses are all new to me.
    mmmh- okay let me think .. out of the top of my head i’d say “Sweet Thing” by Renée Carlino because that’s what gave me the push to wanting to share my story and start my own book blog ! Also gave me a regain of confidence that I can indeed finish books again and get what mental health took away from me in term of reading.
    I can also say “reasons to stay alive” from Matt Haig, as some things really “pinged” in my brain that what I felt WAS exactly a part of that, and wasn’t just something I went through.

  5. Kara

    March 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    This such a good post. For me – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was the first time I had read a book about WWII from the German perspective rather than a British or American perspective.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 15, 2019 at 8:15 am

      Thank you! I actually haven’t read anything by Zusak before, but I’ve heard nothing but astounding reviews on the book thief, so that may just be waddling onto my TBR soon!

      1. Kara

        March 15, 2019 at 3:12 pm

        Hope you enjoy it when you read it!

  6. Jayati

    March 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Ah, this is such a great post, Sam!
    Reading through how these books changed someone’s life just fills my eyes up with tears. Books have had such an impact on me as well and they are the ones that brought me back from a dark place when no one else could.
    I can’t just pinpoint one book that changed my life but I think all the books I have read have shaped me into the person I am today and the ones I read as I grow older will keep adding to my personality and changing it.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 15, 2019 at 8:35 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and that books have impacted you so deeply. I completely agree with you on all books playing a part in shaping us. For me I feel like each book that I read and love takes a little piece of me and in turn gives me a piece of itself and the cycle continues until I am just a conglomeration of different stories told and different lives lived, if that makes sense. <3

      1. Jayati

        March 16, 2019 at 1:44 am

        Yes, that makes so much sense! It’s the best possible way anyone could’ve said it.

  7. Jordyn

    March 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    This is a beautiful post!! I can’t think of any books that definitively CHANGED my life… but I’d say the Junie B. Jones books definitely shaped my life in that I could. not. stop. reading them as a kid. So I’m sure that stuck with me in some way and is the reason I continue to read now!

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 15, 2019 at 8:14 am

      I absolutely ADORED that series growing up, it was always Junie and the American Girl series that I constantly had in my arsenal 😂. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  8. BiblioNyan

    March 14, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    I feel Dune by Frank Herbert had the most impact on me and definitely changed my life in many, many ways, especially as a consumer/creator of the arts. It’s so near and dear to my heart that words cannot express. A close second would have to be The Blade of the Flame Trilogy. It’s not a masterpiece or special in the ways Dune can be, but it really pulled me into fantasy and the world of Eberron, which then sucked me into D&D. All of that also changed my life and perceptions as an artistic individual.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 15, 2019 at 8:37 am

      Dune was such an amazing book! I’m so happy to hear that it impacted you on such a deep level as it is one of my favorite Science Fiction novels! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  9. Jennifer Pletcher

    March 15, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Harry Potter and “The Help” “Five People”- for sure. Amazing books. and my eldest daughter said “Simon” was her all time favorite read. I cannot pinpoint one book that I felt like “YES – life changing” – but there are several I always recommend to others. For younger kids – “Savvy” (amazing), and for adults “Shadows of the Wind”.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 15, 2019 at 8:38 am

      oooo I don’t think I have ever read either of your recommendations, but I will be waddling to check them out soon! Thank you for stopping by and sharing!

  10. pratikc003

    March 15, 2019 at 10:02 am

    There are some books which are very close my heart and they surely have changed me.
    I can only of these three here.
    The perks of being a wallflower, A man called ove and Veronika decides to die 🙂

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 16, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a literary gem! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Gerry@TheBookNookUK

    March 16, 2019 at 6:26 am

    This is an absolutely wonderful idea for a post and I hope you don’t mind if I steal it just to do a blog post on books that I feel have changed my life? I will link back to you!
    Little Women is actually one of the books that I would consider has changed my life oddly enough. When I was younger I had an appalling temper and because both my parents were also rather volatile people and lost their tempers quite a bit I thought that it was ok for me to do the same. A case of you learn what you observe from.
    When I read Little Women as a young girl I was really struck by the section where Jo loses her temper and Marmee explains to her why learning to control your temper is a good thing and that there are unintended and harmful consequences to other people if you just let your temper fly. Marmee then explains that she has a foul temper and Jo is surprised because Marmee never shows it but Jo then realises that it doesn’t have to disappear it just needs to be managed.
    Damn if that wasn’t relevant and hard hitting and I actually started to apply temper management from that point onwards. I now realise I got parented by a book!

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      March 16, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      Omg I don’t mind at all! I would be honored if you did!
      Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is amazing just how much the written word can teach and show us in the most simplest of ways. I think that is what I so love about literature–that it has the power to change and teach us when we weren’t even looking for it.

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  13. Michelle

    March 16, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    I wanted to tell you what book changed my life, but I don’t think I could think of one that really completely changed it.. Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda though, I criend in the theater. My coming out was also forced but I didn’t have the backup Simon did. Sure I had friends, but it all went to hell at 18 in my case. It just all felt so real, watching Simons story and even though it didn’t change my life per se, I hope it changes a lot of other peoples lives. I know people have already said it before, but this is an amzing post Sam. I continue to be amazed by your thoughts and ideas for posts and how you get other readers to participate in order to convey such powerful messages. I absolutely loved this post and I hope you continue to make many more like this one

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