11 Best Fiction Books About Mental Illness Update 05/2022

Fiction Books About Mental Illness

Anxiety and sadness, or any sort of mental illness, is right up there with first love as one of the most common recurring themes in young adult literature. Why? Or maybe that’s why so many serious mental health issues begin in our teens. There are also the daily stresses of adolescence that can put anyone over the over.

The prevalence of mental health disorders among youth means that even if they don’t suffer from them, they probably know someone who does. If we don’t do this, we’re missing out on some of the most powerful and therapeutic components of our psyches, and we’re also missing out on some of the most healing and cathartic aspects of our lives.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

When you first see it, Turtles All the Way Down is about 16-year-old Aza, who is seeking to uncover the riddle of the whereabouts of a missing billionaire. A revelation is made in the narrative, though, about what it’s like to have anxiety and OCD (OCD). This is Green’s first novel in which he explicitly addresses the issue of mental illness. Writing with a safe distance from oneself was crucial for him, as he explained in an interview with TIME. As a result, Aza has a slightly distinct set of compulsive concerns and coping mechanisms.” “I’m still unable to openly discuss my personal fetishes.”

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

In Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson, the well-liked and award-winning author of Speak, does not shy away from difficult subjects. It can be difficult to read Anderson’s story because it deals with anorexia, cutting, and even suicide. Although Cassie, Lia’s best friend, succumbed to the same sickness, there is a cause to keep going for the 18-year-old Lia.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

By chance, three very different New York City teenagers, each dealing with their own narrative of loss, come together in Central Park in the Big Apple. We learn about the hardships they experience, from mental illness to the challenge of coming out, over the course of one day. According to Kirkus, these three “apparently disparate” teenagers form a “breathtaking empathy and camaraderie” within hours of meeting each other. This is not the first time the author has dealt with the more painful aspects of adolescence or the loss of a loved one. I Was Here, Forman’s tragic 2016 novel, was inspired by his own death.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

This work, according to Gayle Forman, is “the most accurate portrayal of the throbbing, cavernous hole left by a suicide” The story of grief, love, and redemption is told in a haunting and optimistic manner in this novel. Caitlin is devastated when her best friend, Ingrid, takes her own life. But the daughter left behind is closer to finding hope as she goes through Ingrid’s final days, which she left in a journal for Caitlin.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

One of the many themes explored in this debut novel is how it feels to suffer from clinical depression. Since then, there have been more publications about mental illness that treat it as part of the person rather than a crisis,” Khorram told Brightly. As a writer, Chimamanda Adichie is a master at conveying the pitfalls of focusing on one story. We’re finally seeing a variety of stories on mental illness for the first time, and I’m hopeful that this trend will continue.” Make sure you read the sequel, Darius the Great Deserves Better if you like this story.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Furthermore, This Song Will Save Your Life demonstrates that depression isn’t simply one facet of the condition.” Elise Dembowski, a lonely 16-year-old, is pushed to the brink of suicide by years of bullying. Then, by coincidence, she discovers that she can make a living as a DJ. In the New York Times, Jen Doll says, “The emotional resonance of Elise’s journey… feels very much of the present.”

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

The death of Griffin’s first love and best friend has left him on the verge of severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. Griffin’s OCD is 100 % a reflection of Silvera’s own, as she told Publishers Weekly. “I think it’s healthier for me to write about what I’m dealing with, rather than to carry around material and not look at it.” In every piece I write, there’s a therapeutic element, whether it’s about getting over a breakup or tackling a problem.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Kathleen Glasgow’s debut novel, Girl in Pieces, revolves around a teenage girl’s attempt at suicide through self-harming through cutting. Charlie, a 17-year-old teen, is the driving force behind the plot. When Charlie comes down and has to put herself back together, it’s an emotional and transcendent read like most issue books, according to Kirkus. How to Make Friends with the Dark, a 2020 novel by Glasgow, focuses with the same subject of coping with devastating bereavement.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Lisa Praytor wants to help Solomon Reed overcome his agoraphobia as part of a strategy to get into college. However, things aren’t quite that straightforward. According to Publishers Weekly, this is a lighthearted look at mental health issues: For all the seriousness of the subject matter, Printz Award–winner Whaley keeps his prose light and humorous while introducing us to a group of charming, realistically imperfect teenagers.”

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

As Biz, a 17-year-old coping with the loss of her father who committed suicide a decade earlier, navigates her teen years, she is soaked in grief, sadness, and untreated, intergenerational mental illness. With “raw, visceral sincerity,” Kirkus describes Biz’s mental health issue, which mostly manifests itself in hallucinations and dissociation.

A World Without You by Beth Revis

Scientist-turned-author Rachel Revis admitted to Publishers Weekly that her debut novel, A World Without You, was the book she had never expected to write. Bo, a 17-year-old with serious mental illness, meets his future love Sofia at Berkshire Academy in this, her first novel set in the present day. When Sofia takes her own life, Bo is sure that he can locate her by going back in time and finding her. At the same time, Revis’ A World Without You is an intensely intimate work of fiction and a psychological thriller. Having the mental health part in the novel “moved into extremely personal ground, requiring me to express the truths I had learnt growing up with a brother who had mental health concerns,” she explains.

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