Diversity is something that needs to be talked about a lot more in the book community, specifically in YA novels. Today, for my first Friday Favourites, I wanted to talk about some of my favourite books that talk about mental health. Be sure to check these books out if they interest you in any way, and comment below if you can recommend any to me.
Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is a socially awkward freshman who has never really had any friend. But when he meets Sam and Patrick, this all turns around. Charlie is learning what it's like to love, get through the last years of school, and what it's like to be a good friend, brother and son. As the story continues to unfold, we learn more about Charlie and his troubled past, and how it's affecting him still today.
I read this book when I was in the middle of high school which I think was the perfect time and it definitely reassured me about a lot of things. I thought Charlie's story was a perfect representation of what it's like to be going through a really hard time in your life, and not knowing whether to live it or run from it.
I Was Here - Gayle Forman
This story follows the story of Cody months after her life-long best friend's suicide. As Cody tries to figure out the reason why Meg would end her life, she realises that she may not have known much about her best friend after all. Along the road, Cody finds out more about herself, love, loss and the sad issue of suicide and self-harm.
This book sounds hard to read, and at times it was, but I really liked the way that Forman covered the topic. She talked about it in an honest, yet unique way that I haven't read depression about in any other novel. I also loved how the story was told by the friend of a suicidal teen, rather than the teen herself as we are given a different perspective.
The Pause - John Larkin
Declan appears to have the perfect life, yet know one knows what he's really feeling deep inside. One day, when it all gets too much, Declan decides to end it all. He jumps in front of a train, and just before the train is about to hit him, a version of Declan's life is revealed showing what would have happened if he didn't jump in front of that train.
This is an Australian book that I won in a competition and had been sitting un-read on my shelf for about a year before I decided to pick it up, and as soon as I started the first chapter I wished that I had picked it up sooner. I was emotional the whole book knowing that even though everything was going well, it was only a pigment of Declan's imagination and that this book would have a tragic ending.
The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
When Lennie's sister suddenly dies, she doesn't know who she is anymore after spending her whole life in her sister's shadow. Struck with grief, Lennie finds herself falling for two guys; Toby, her dead sister's boyfriend, and Joe, the new kid at school. Along with this, Lennie is pushing away the only family she has left as she struggles with the loss of her best friend.
I read this book the first time in high school from the library, and then picked it up from the book store and read it again last year. Although the mental health in this book isn't as "heavy" as the others I'm talking about, it still touched me in a way that no other book has. TSIE remains one of the best books I've ever read, and one of the few that have made me bawl my eyes out.
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven
Theodore is constantly thinking about death, but every time he is close to killing himself, something or someone is there to stop him. Violet has been through a lot recently and wants nothing more than to graduate school and escape her home and her grief. This is the story of how two sad teens save each other and discover more about themselves through their journey together.
I read this last year around the same time that I read 'I Was Here' and I didn't know that either books would be this deep and raw. I cannot explain the feelings I had when reading this book, and how raw they were. It made me smile, cry, and really think about what we don't know about others.
Girl Online - Zoe Sugg
Penny is a teenage blogger who goes under the alias of Girl Online. She talks about school drama, boys, friends and her crazy family. When she is whisked away with her family to New York where she meets Noah who makes her feel like no one has made her feel before. Who is Noah? And who is Penny?
Although the main focus of this book isn't on mental health, something that we discover about Penny when reading Girl Online is that she suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. I haven't read many books that talk about anxiety, and I loved how even though this book is a contemporary set for younger readers, it was still able to talk about a serious topic. Zoe Sugg has suffered from panic attacks throughout her life which made Penny's story even more raw.
When We Collided - Emery Lord
Jonah and Vivi are both going through a rough patch in their lives. Jonah's dad has just passed away leaving his mum in a deep stage of depression, so he and his older siblings are left to look after the younger ones a long with looking after his dad's store. Vivi's story unfolds as the book goes on, but we know from the beginning that something just isn't right with her.
This book focused on a range of different mental health issues including depression, anxiety and grief, and they are experienced by a range of the characters. I loved how this book had a touch of mystery to it as Jonah and Vivi's stories are slowly uncovered as the book goes on.
Breathing Under Water - Sophie Hardcastle
Grace has grown up in her twin brother's shadow; Ben has always been one step ahead of her. Until one day when something happens that changes Grace's life forever. She has to learn to be her own person, and someone more than just Ben's sister.
This was such a deep and moving book for me, and I didn't realise how hard it was going to hit me. I literally could not put this book down once I started and finished it in a couple sittings in one day. The way that the characters were written and the things that they went through were hard to read, yet so accurate.
Running Like China - Sophie Hardcaste
From the same author as 'BUW', Sophie's first published book was her memoir where she talks about her struggle with anxiety and depressions from a young age. From a bubbly, talkative and overall happy child, to a moody and sad teenager, Sophie talks about the transitions she went through in her life, and the many ups and downs.
This book was really hard to read, however I think it is one of the best books I've ever read that covers mental illness. It was hard to read knowing that this is a memoir and realising that someone has been through this and that this is a real story. However, this book also inspire me to live the best life that I can. If Sophie could pick herself up, then anyone can.
Whisper to Me - Nick Lake
This book is told through a letter that Cassie is writing to the boy whose heart she broke. She tells the boy (who we never find out the name of) to tell him why she did and retells events from before she met him until now. As Cassie's emotional story is told, we find out the real reason of WHY.
This books is amazing and I really want to reread it again because I haven't been able to get it out of my head since I finished it. As we discover early on in the book, Cassie hears a voice in her head that's telling her to do crazy things and if she doesn't do it, then something bad will happen to someone she loves. This was hard for me to read, yet I was so intrigued in what was going to happen. I have never read a book that talks about Schizophrenia, and it was really interesting to learn more about.
Those were my ten favourite books that cover mental health. If you can suggest any more to me, comment below, because I would love to read more. And don't forget to check out the one's I mentioned if they interested you!