As you all probably know, this week is mental health awareness week. And I will be posting every day this week and all of my posts will be themed around mental health and mental illness. Today I wanted to kick off the week by talking about my Top 10 Mental Health Books of all time. All the books that I am going to talk about today contain an element of mental health or illness. This is such an important topic to talk about and I am so grateful for the fact that it is becoming more and more mainstream in literature. But, without further ado, here are my top 10 mental health books.
Side note: these are in no particular order. All of these books are incredible and are well worth reading. Also, a lot of these books focus on depression, anxiety or PTSD as these tend to be the most common illnesses portrayed in YA books, although that does seem to be changing in the last couple of years.
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Grief and Anxiety
This is a heart-breaking story about losing a loved one and finding yourself. This story follows Griffin, a 17-year-old with sever obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, as he tries to come to terms with the death of his first love. This is such a moving story that will leave you completely heartbroken. It handles mental illness brilliantly and also contains LGTBQA+ representation. This is such a fantastic little book. if you are looking for an incredible mental health book, then you need to pick this one up.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Anxiety
You need to read this book at least once in your lifetime. In this book you follow 16-year-old Charlie as he starts high school and struggles to find his place in the world. You watch as he struggles with anxiety and depression, but without knowing what they are and eventually uncover that he is suffering from PTSD. This is a beautiful book full of friendship and finding yourself, family, love and high school. It is so stunningly written that you cannot help but fall in love with it.
When We Collided by Emery Lord
Bipolar Disorder and Grief
This book is a stunning young adult contemporary. It follows two main characters, Jonah and Vivi as they spend their summer falling in love with each other. Vivi whirls into town, this vibrant, bundle of energy and turns Jonah’s life upside down. All is not as simple as it may seem though. Jonah is still grieving his father, dealing with his mother’s break down and trying to play parent to his three young siblings and Vivi has plenty of demons herself, dealing with Bipolar Disorder. It is a beautiful story about love and loss, darkness and light. It is truly wonderful.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is one of my favourite contemporaries that I have read this year. It follows 18-year-old Cath, an avid fanfiction writer, as she navigates her way through her first year of college all while coping with anxiety. this book is full of brilliant characters, amazing relationships and complex storylines. You cannot help but fall in love with the characters and the storyline. It is sweet and funny, but also sad and so relatable. This story was so much more complex then I was expecting and I ended up really enjoying it.
Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Mathew Quick
Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
Follow 17-year-old Leonard Peacock as he makes preparations and plans to shot and kill his ex-best friend, and then end his own life. this is a really unique story that keeps you hooked till the last page. It is one of the few books involving suicidal thoughts that I have read that actually portrays the subject accurately and doesn’t fall into the usual trope of no adults noticing the obvious signs. I would highly suggest checking out this book.
By Your Side by Kasie West
This book contains one of the most honest and relatable representations of anxiety that I have ever read. the story follows Autumn, a teenager with severe anxiety. I can personally relate to this story as Autumn has told no one except her parents about her anxiety. Not a single one of her friends. She is determined to deal with it alone and not be seen as weak. Throughout this book you see her struggling to cope with her anxiety and eventually opening up about it. this is such a fantastic book that I enjoyed far more then I was ever expecting to.
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Anxiety, Depression and Grief
This YA contemporary is absolutely stunning. This beautiful story follows twins Noah and Jude as they struggle with the reality of being a teenager and all the struggles that come with it. Both twins struggle with elements of depression, Jude worse than Noah and both exhibit symptoms of anxiety. This book tackles some really difficult topics such as homosexuality, grief, bullying and so much more. This book is beautifully written and is such a beautiful story. You can’t help but fall in love with it. Even if you don’t like contemporary books, you will like this one. It drags you in from the first page and you won’t want to put it down.
Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
This is a stunning YA contemporary that follows two teenagers, Maggie and West, as they both struggle to come to terms with losing a parent. The pair connect over their joint experiences and slowly fall for each other. This is a beautiful story about loss and love, friendship and trust, and the idea that no two people experience the same thing, in the same way. It is honestly such a good book. It is beautifully written and you will instantly fall in love with the characters and the story. It is the first in a series of companion novels titled ‘The Field Party’ and they are well worth a read. In this story Maggie is suffering from selective mutism and anxiety as a side effect of PTSD.
We Were Liars by E Lockhart
Post-Traumatic Shock Disorder
Set on a private island, you follow Cadence as she slowly uncovers the events that scared her family. This young adult contemporary will break your heart. It grips you from page one, pulling you in. It handles the topic of PTSD with amazing care and attention and addresses everything amazingly. You will not be able to put it down. It is a truly stunning book with so many twists and turns it will leave you dizzy. This is one of my favourite reads ever. If you are only going to read one book this year, make it this one (although word of warning, do not read any reviews before reading it. Just trust me on that one).
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
This is the story of a 17-year-old girl’s suicide. After Hannah takes her own life, tapes suddenly start arriving on her classmate’s doorsteps, on them, Hannah’s reasons for ending her life. Throughout this book you see how people’s actions have consequences, how everything is all linked together and entwined. And how everything can snowball. This is a heart-breaking story and is well worth a read. You will laugh and cry and really connect with the characters. Throughout this book you get to see the devastating consequences of depression and the knock on effect of suicide. I would suggest the audiobook for 13 Reasons Why. The reason why I suggest listening to this one, is because of the format of the book. The book is told from Clay’s (one of the people who has received the tapes) POV but is primarily Hannah speaking. The audiobook is read by Debra Wiseman and Joel Johnstone how each take a POV. This just makes the story a lot easier to follow and much more enjoyable. There is also something about listening to this that just feels right. Plus, they are both amazing actors who really help to bring the story to life and to connect you to the characters. Plus, there is a really sweet surprise at the end of this audiobook.
All of these books handle mental health in really understanding and considerate way. I was impressed by how well each of these books handled the topics that they contained. I would highly recommend all of these books. Do you have any mental health books that you can recommend to me? I hope that you have enjoyed todays post and I will see you all again very soon.
Mind UK – 0300 123 3393 (or text 86463)
Smaraitans – 116 123
Crisis Helpline (USA) – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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