5 Best Books About Self Harm Update 05/2022

Books About Self Harm

For Self Injury Awareness Day, look through my reviews of these young adult books about self-harm and cutting. You can find a great book for the occasion by reading them.

Family and friends often don’t understand nonsuicidal self-harm, which can make the person who harms feel even more alone, ashamed, and hurt. If you’re looking for a way to deal with your pain, reading young adult books about self-harm and cutting can help. People who love someone who self-harms can also benefit from reading these books. Telling a story can be a bridge that leads to trust and a better understanding.

The Cutting Edge of Friendship by Khristina Chess

The Cutting Edge of Friendship by Khristina Chess

Inside hurts so bad that I need to make the outside hurt even more so that the inside doesn’t hurt any more. “Sadie” says that. Khristina Chess, from the book The Cutting Edge of Friendship: How to Make and Keep Friends.

It’s very dangerous for Sadie and Elana to keep secrets.

When the fireworks went off, Sadie had a terrible accident that she hasn’t told anyone about. She can’t even say it to herself. To deal with the pain, she’s been cutting.

Elana has a secret of her own. She’s texting Hunter and making plans for a secret meeting with him, but no one else knows about it. She doesn’t know what he did or why he wants to keep their relationship a secret from her.

To end this dangerous cat-and-mouse game, Sadie must get her courage back and save Elana before the rapist attacks again.

You won’t want to miss this exciting story about friendship, cutting, and the aftermath of sexual assault. It’s good for people who like Girl in Pieces and Speak.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

People should know who we are. Girls who write on their bodies about how they feel. ~Louisa”

A quote from Kathleen Glasgow’s book Girl in Pieces:

This wonderful book about self-harm was the kind of story that kept pulling me away to a quiet room where I could curl up with a cup of tea and a lamp until I was done. I kept having to go back. I had to know what was going to happen to Charlie because I cared about him so much. I had to know if she was going to be okay at the end. This guy in her life wasn’t the best choice for her, even though she seemed to be making progress. When her friend from the hospital shows up, it doesn’t look like she’s the right direction either. And if you’ve ever been addicted or seen someone who was trying to get clean, you know that the line is so easy to cross.

Crossing the line could be very bad for Charlie, because she has her tender kit, which is full of glass, and she could hurt herself. It’s not soft, but it cuts and slashes.

That’s what I did, too. I read about this young girl, who was so alone and hungry and on the edge of the world. A person should help her. A good person.

Willow by Hoban

Keep a secret when you write it all over your body. – Julia Hoban says that.

In this complicated book about self-harm and grief, I met Willow, a lovely person. She is an orphan with a lot of bad things to hide. Pain. Guilt. Love, too.

I can’t say for sure if Willow has a deep mental illness that makes her self-harm, or if she’s just a teenager who doesn’t know how to deal with the bad things that have happened in her life. Cutting might be a good idea. She is lonely and sad. However, the book made me cry and be honest. I loved reading her story and connecting with her pain as she went through the process of becoming whole.

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne

It might be a good idea to be vague about what the character does. It’s been a while since I read Holly Bourne’s The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting, which is about a girl named Bree who cuts herself. I remember the book focusing more on Bree’s thoughts than on her actions. (Bree’s story could also have the opposite effect of the Werther Effect, because it ends with her taking steps to get better.) Nina LaCoeur’s book Hold Still, which is about a teenager dealing with the aftermath of her best friend Ingrid’s suicide, follows the guidelines’ advice not to make suicide into a simple, easy-to-understand problem. Instead, Ingrid’s death is shown to be complicated, hard to understand, and linked to her long-term depression, which avoids making suicide into a simple problem. In A Dark, Dark Wood, the author mentions that a major character died after taking a paracetamol overdose. However, the book’s emphasis on the fact that this method is not “easy and peaceful” could scare away a reader who is vulnerable.

Stand in Your Power by Rachael Smith

Some small press and indie books are now including trigger warnings in their books, but they aren’t standard for traditionally published books. Hopefully, the SoA/Samaritans guidelines will help more publishers start including them as standard. One of the main arguments against using trigger warnings in fiction and narrative nonfiction is that they will be “spoilers,” which will make the story less interesting. However, I think that having a non-vulnerable reader know that a character will die by suicide at some point in a novel is better than having a vulnerable reader come to the scene and deal with trauma that they haven’t prepared for. Comic book writer and illustrator Rachael Smith does this with her autobiographical comic Stand in Your Power, where she flags up the section that talks about her history of self-harm in advance and prints it on green pages that readers can easily see and skip.

When you read the SoA and Samaritans guidelines, you should keep in mind that they are just that – guidelines, not strict rules. There are some literary tropes that seem more dangerous when some of the rules are taken into account. For example, the “heroic self-sacrifice.” ‘Suicide for a good cause, with a good outcome’ could be seen as very dangerous to vulnerable readers. In The Amber Spyglass, Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel died, Dumbledore died in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Jasmine Hadley died in Checkmate, all of which could be seen as examples of this. If a character dies heroically, most of the time, it happens in a very unusual and extreme setting. This could be in a fantasy world, or in a situation that most people are unlikely to ever face, like when they die. It’s important that none of the characters believe that their death is good for the people around them, and it’s clear that if it were possible, they would have killed the villain in a different way. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that this trope can’t be used in a bad way. It just means that it is less likely to spread harmful social contagion than dangerously portrayed and easily imitated scenarios, where a death itself has positive effects for the other characters.

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