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On Wednesdays I post my “Top 5” which comes from a Goodreads group that creates topics for bloggers to write about. This week the topic is “Books featuring mental health” in honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month!
This is probably one of my favorite topics to date because I love reading books with mental health rep and I’m glad to get a chance to shout a few of my favorites! I could honestly give far more than 5 recommendations but since I’m limited to that number, I thought I’d share 5 books that represent five different types of mental illness to give a little variety (because I think far too often mental health rep in books is limited to depression and while that is important and valid on its own, there are a great deal of other types of mental illnesses that don’t get talked about nearly enough in literature). I’m also going to try to talk about some lesser-known novels since I often see the same few being recommended.
Note: This post briefly references some heavy illnesses and topics. Please only continue reading if you’re comfortable! Take care of yourself ♥
Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone
Every Last Word is a story of a teenage girl, Sam, who lives with severe OCD that she wants to keep hidden from others in school. While the story does focus on that a lot, there is also a lot of importance placed on Sam’s relationships with other people, specifically a group of “misfits” who hang out in the “Poets Corner” at her school. This is honestly one of my favorite mental health rep books and highly recommended.
A Danger to Herself and Others – Alyssa Sheinmel
I cannot tell you what mental illness Hannah (MC) suffers from without ruining the story for anyone eager to read it, but I will say that it is one that I’ve personally seen represented very little in the YA genre. I would like to note, however, that since a vast majority of this book takes place in a mental institution, there are a lot of different disorders referenced and one should go into this carefully to avoid triggers.
The Girls at 17 Swann Street – Yara Zgheib
The Girls at 17 Swann Street is a very heavy, very good book about eating disorders. It also references self harm and mood disorders. The novel does not sugarcoat or filter things, so it can at times feel like a lot (especially if you’ve struggled with an ED yourself) but if you’re comfortable with that type of content, I’d highly recommend it. This is an adult contemporary, instead of YA, so it can get a little less than PG-13 sometimes.
Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
This is admittedly a well known novel, but Speak offers a very heartbreaking look into PTSD after sexual assault. Melinda’s story has been experienced by so many and I think that Laurie Halse Anderson did a magnificent job in showing the effects that trauma can have on a human being. The book is a very quick read and sometimes offers humor to lighten the mood, but is overall very heavy.
All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
I have not yet read All the Bright Places (though I do own it and attend to soon) but it has Bipolar Disorder representation and comes fairly highly recommended with a 4.18 star rating on Goodreads. It’s surprisingly difficult to find YA literature with Bipolar Disorder rep (especially considering that it is the 6th leading cause of disability in the US) so if you’re on the look out for some, I’d check this out!
Do you have any favorite books with mental health representation? Talk to me (: