Mental illness is a touchy subject in young adult literature. I’m taking a class on psychological disorders in children and adolescents this semester and learning so much. I’ve heard some wicked – in a bad way – things concerning mental illness. I’ve heard people say they believe that it’s not real, even more horrible things about those that suffer from mental illness that don’t deserve to be repeated. Mental illness is real, but not everyone suffers from it. Every one of these books shows something different concerning mental illness, whether it be how it feels inside the mind, outside the mind, inside the situation, or deeply engrained.
The truth is, everyone is different. Some mental disorders don’t have names. Some people go through years of trying different medications just to feel normal. Some never know what normal feels like.
Books are a bridge to parts of the world that not everyone understands. Sometimes that bridge is into the human mind. Here are some of the books that do mental illness justice.
First up, Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier! This book is beyond phenomenal. The main character is not the one suffering from mental illness – it’s her boyfriend. It’s heartbreaking the things that April watches Jonah go through. I wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be all right. I wanted to be able to help Jonah, to help her, to help everyone involved. This book is purely tragic. It does not discuss what it’s like to have mental illness; it discusses what it’s like to be the one on the outside, the one that has to watch someone they love lose control.
Read my review of Your Voice is All I Hear here.
If you follow me on any social media – if you’re even reading this post – you know I adore Katie McGarry’s work. Pushing the Limits was the second book that I read by Katie McGarry, and I loved it. The main character, Echo, keeps the scars on her arms hidden and doesn’t talk about what or who put them there. What’s so glorious about this story is Echo hides the truth from Noah and from the reader. It deals with the horrors tormenting Echo in a beautiful way and proves that, while McGarry writes some of the best romance around, they have meaning to them.
Read my review of Pushing the Limits here.
One of the best books I’ve ever snagged on a whim was Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. I read it in less than a day and kept obsessing over the truthful quotes and insights into life the Stevens blends into the story smoother than silk. Alexi Littrell was raped, and you don’t know who her rapist is until nearly the end of the book – and it was a shocker. The thing about Alexi is that she doesn’t tell anyone about the rape and has been lying to her family for months about her change in disposition. Through her journey she has Bodee. It’s impossible not to love Bodee, and Bodee has horrors of his own that follow him when he moves in with the Littrells.
Read my review of Faking Normal here.
These are some of the best books that I’ve read so far dealing with mental illness. The one that I’m most looking forward to is Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. I was so impatient that I broke down and ordered the UK edition off of Book Depository because I simply can’t wait until January 3rd for the US edition. I just can’t. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and will most likely drop everything and read this book as soon as it arrives in my mailbox. So for the sake of my impatience and those out there that don’t mind waiting until January 3rd, I’ve put both the US and UK covers.
Under Rose Tainted Skies
(taken from Goodreads from the UK edition)
Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.
For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …
An important and uplifting debut from a British author, which tackles mental health issues such as agoraphobia and OCD.
Can’t you see why I cannot wait for that book?! I’m checking my tracking number like it’s a religious practice.
I know this a heavier subject for Monday, but it is a holiday! Read a good book, read a book that makes you think, read a book that makes you think about the things you believe in, strengthen your views, and build an opinion. That’s the power of books. They make us who we are.
Have you read any books that bring true awareness to mental illness and those effected?
And, as always, have a wonderful Monday, everyone!