Courtesy Taylor Smith/Facebook
Tim Nudd
January 25, 2014 09:10 AM

Amid all the celebrity antics this week, the quieter stories about real people really struck a chord with PEOPLE readers.

The tales ranged from the uplifting (Taylor Smith) to the frightening (Gerald and Alice Uden) to the simply stupefying (Annelise Forbes). But all of them got a strong reaction.

Below are the five stories that had the biggest emotional impact on readers this week, from happy, sad, laugh out loud, and angry – to wow. Let us know what you think of every story we write by clicking on the icons at the bottom.

Bittersweet yet heartwarming was the story of Taylor Smith, a 12-year-old girl from Johnson City, Tenn., whose parents discovered an incredible letter she had written to her 22-year-old self just months before she died last year.

The award for the week’s most precocious youngster went to Annelise Forbes, a 9-year-old from Ontario, Canada, whose rendition of the song “Let It Go” from Frozen was just amazing. Someone get her a recording contract!

The Uden Family

Readers were angered this week by our cover story about Gerald and Alice Uden, both recently arrested and charged with murdering their former spouses decades ago – shocking everyone they knew, including their youngest child, Erica Hayes, who spoke exclusively to PEOPLE.

The week’s saddest news was a story about paradise lost – the tragic murder-suicide in Hawaii involving Boaz “Bo” Johnson and his pregnant girlfriend, Brittany Royal.

Finally, a celebrity story did break through to make this list, though it took a bit of characteristic tomfoolery from Blake Shelton, who sent Adam Levine, his nemesis on The Voice, a giant copy of Levine’s PEOPLE Sexiest Man Alive cover.

Check back again next week for another must-read roundup. Until then, see what readers are reacting to every day by clicking here.

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