** Triger warning – This post contains information on Mental Health and may trigger some unwanted emotions. **
Hey Beauties!! Welcome back for another episode of Cuppa&Chat 🙂 Hope you’re all well!!
Firstly let me just appologise for not posting an episode last week!! I had some personal health issues going on so had to put off blogging but I’m back in action!!
This week the focus is on Mental Health Books, especially one’s for teenagers. Our guest post will be hosted by Christy and Clare from I’m All Booked Up who share recommendations and reviews on books. Below they have listed 7 books that they recommend with abit about each story and what the book covers in general to do with mental health ect.
You know the drill boy’s and girl’s.. Get the cuppa’s and munchies out!!
YA Books That Raise Mental Health Awareness
1. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman Trigger warning: Schizophrenia and Depression Shusterman wrote Challenger Deep because of his son’s battle with mental illness. In fact, Shusterman’s son did all of the artwork for the book. Caden’s story is told through a metaphor. He’s on a ship headed for Challenger Deep, part of the Marianas Trench. He serves as the resident artist for the ship, capturing the journey. Caden is torn during his journey between remaining loyal to the Captain or participating in mutiny. The other half of the story is Caden’s normal life. He’s a high school student struggling with schizophrenia. The unique story is told through the perspective of someone who understands mental health. Shusterman avoids stereotypes and understands that 1 and 3 people suffer from a mental illness. His goal: to portray Caden as a complex individual to show that everyone’s struggles are different and mental health isn’t black and white. Plus, Caden has a super supportive family that stands behind no matter. Overall, this book is a heart warming and complex story from an author who wanted to break a stigma surrounding mental health.
2. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini Trigger warning: Suicide and Depression Craig Gilner wants to be perfect. He accomplished his goal of getting into one of the top high schools in New York City. Once he arrives, it’s harder than expected and the pressure to be the best increases every day. Craig stops eating and sleeping until one day he thinks about killing himself. Instead, Craig checks himself into a mental hospital, where he meets people he never expected. His journey and the people he meets change his perspective on life. While there, Criag makes a group of friends that he can relate to and does self-reflection in order to understand where his fears and anxiety come from. Vizzini’s book was inspired by his own time in a psychiatric hospital. He touches on the theme of teenager’s desires to be perfect. There is a high amount of pressure to succeed at everything and coping with setbacks is something that schools tend to ignore. His writing is both emotional and funny. It’s obvious to the reader that the story is semi auto-biographical. Vizzini does a good job of creating a likable and relatable MC.
3. By Your Side by Kasie West Trigger warning: Anxiety, panic attacks, and child neglect Autumn Collins never expected to spend the weekend locked inside the library…especially not with bad boy Dax Miller (who may or may not have gone to juvie). Thinking her soon-to-be boyfriend, Jeff, will come save her, Autumn puts on a brave face and tries to cope with her growing anxiety over being trapped in the library overnight. Soon, she realizes that not only is Jeff not coming to save her, no one is. As Autumn and Dax grow closer, they realize that their perceptions of each other couldn’t be more off. Will their newfound connection end once the weekend is over? The sweet romance story tackles more issues than usual for one of West’s contemporaries. Autumn suffers from an anxiety disorder and being trapped overnight in the library is, quite frankly, her worst nightmare. Throughout the book, Autumn has a number of panic attacks that arise from high-pressure situations and social interactions. West does an excellent job of showing that YA characters do not have to be “perfect,” shedding light on the fact that anxiety is a real-world issue that many suffer from. Her depictions of panic attacks were realistic and allowed the reader to truly empathize with Autumn. Moreover, Autumn had an incredible support system in her family, who always encouraged her and promoted good mental health practices, like self help.
4. Looking For Alaska by John Green Trigger warning: Depression and Death Myles “Pudge” Halter leaves his boring life in Florida to attend boarding school in Alabama. He goes to seek the “Great Perhaps.” While there, he meets a groups of friends, including the beautiful and destructive Alaska Young. Being around Alaska is addicting for Pudge and he quickly falls for her charming and unpredictable personality. But Alaska has been struggling for years with a secret that keeps her from being truly happy. Pudge wants to do everything to save her, but unfortunately he learns he can’t control the world around him. “So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.” John Green broke into YA with this book and frequently discusses his own mental health. We can honestly say it’s one of the most powerful books that you’ll ever read. While there will always be things we never truly know about the ending, its satisfying in the self-reflection Pudge is able to do. Green tells Alaska’s story through Pudge beautifully. He understands the helpless feeling of watching someone else suffer. While we don’t want to spoil the book, we will warn that while the ending is emotional, this story will completely draw you in.
5. Hate List by Jennifer Brown Trigger warning: Violence, School Shooting, Bullying and PTSD. Valerie and her boyfriend Nick wrote a list of all the people they hated. It was just to blow off steam, Valerie thought. Then one day Nick brings a gun to school and tries to shoot all the people on the list. Then Nick’s gone and everyone points the finger at Valerie. It doesn’t matter that she was shot while protecting a classmate. All people care about was that she dated Nick and helped write the list. Valerie deals with life after the tragedy and how to move forward with the PTSD she has from the day. This unique story feels relevant for the time. It discusses the aftermath of horrible traumas and what happens to the victims after the news stops reporting. Valerie could never forget what happened to her, but she tries to move on and realizes she could not have prevented Nick’s actions. Brown portrays an MC who struggles to fit in and had to experience trauma from a person she loved. it’s both heart-breaking and full of hope.
6. When We Collided by Emery Lord Trigger warnings: Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Death. Jonah and Vivi don’t have much in common. Yet, everything changes when these two collide and start up a summer romance. Vivi and her mom move to a small town in California. Jonah’s dealing with the loss of his dad and working to help support his younger siblings. When Jonah meets Vivi, he’s drawn to her free spirit and outgoing personality. She bonds with his family right away and helps him with his younger siblings. Vivi doesn’t tell Jonah right away about her struggle with Bipolar Disorder and how she won’t take the treatment because it changes her too much. the medicine makes her sluggish and lack any motivation. The reader gets inside Vivi’s head to understand her episodes and how she tries to cope. Vivi and Jonah’s relationship put a new spin on YA summer romance. Both have to deal with more than most teenagers and Lord did a good job of portraying realistic characters. The supportive family dynamics make this story even more enjoyable.
7. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout Trigger warnings: Child Neglect and Abuse, Anxiety The Problem with Forever is a standalone novel about a teen named Mallory, who, after years of homeschooling, decides to take the plunge and attend public school. All her life, Mallory has kept her head down, developing into a quiet and shy teen. While at school, she reconnects with Rider Stark, her childhood friend and protector from her days in foster care. But Rider has dark secrets, secrets that risk changing Mallory’s life forever. Mallory’s adoptive parents hardly approve of her budding romance with Rider, but Mallory is determined to help him no matter the cost. This is one of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s most serious books, as Mallory and Rider were part of the foster system and are dealing with the ramifications of years of child abuse and neglect. Both Mallory and Rider experienced horrific conditions while in foster care, including beatings. After Rider is removed from her foster care, Mallory is eventually adopted by a kind and loving family, though she now suffers from extreme anxiety and a stutter. Mallory was conditioned to be silent out of fear of being beaten in her foster home. Armentrout’s book does a fantastic job of showing Mallory’s growth as she comes to terms with her anxiety, overcomes her fears, and learns to find her voice again. Similarly, Rider learns how to better control his anger and comes to terms with his past. The story tackles the stigma of anxiety and emphasizes the importance of promoting positive mental health.
So beauties what do you think?? I do love reading and the stories behind these book’s all seem very relatable and helpful. I never knew about this topic of book’s when I was a teenager just starting my mental health journey but I wish that I did as I think they really would have helped me understand my emotions alot more.
Have you read any of these or do you have a book that helped you with your mental health?? Please let us know in the comments as every little bit of info helps!!
See you next week!!
Much Love – Mrs Slee-Jones xx
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Our names are Christy and Claire and we are based in the D.C. metro area. For the past decade we have loved to read and discuss Young Adult books. We started I’m All Booked Up to share our love of great books and to provide recommendations and reviews. If you want to be the first to see our posts, sign up for our mailing list. You can also follow us on social media! | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Instagram |