As St. John’s wraps up Mental Health Awareness month, it is more important than ever to discuss the stigmas surrounding mental health conditions. Although fictional, the books below are good places to begin learning more and start the difficult conversations about living with a mental health condition.
Editorial Note: some books may contain topics that are triggering to some readers)
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Insecure Molly Suso is struggling to push past her social anxiety and put herself out there. She and her 26 unrequited crushes go through a journey of self-acceptance and finding love. This book is set in the same universe as Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda (the book that the movie Love, Simon was based on).
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
This novel focuses on 16 year old Aza Holmes, a high school student struggling with OCD and anxiety as she grieves the loss of her father. This book offers an unflinching and sometimes uncomfortable perspective about what it is like to be living in a brain that feels out of your control.
When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis
Gifted high school senior Devon has had her heart broken by the mysterious Ashton. When he walks back into her life they decide to give their relationship another shot. As Ashton’s depression worsens Devon must confront the difficult fact that it is not her job to save people from themselves.
This Is My Brain In Love by I.W. Gregorio
Teenage Jocelyn recruits Will to help save her family’s Chinese restaurant and discovers that romance may be in store for her after all. However, Will’s anxiety and Jocelyn’s growing depression threaten to derail their relationship before it has even begun. Together they must fight through family prejudices and mental health stigma to get everyone’s lives back on track. 4.5/5 Stars
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
Caught on the opposite sides of a comic book store rivalry, Ridley and Jubilee should definitely stay away from each other. Once they meet at a Comic Con, they can’t help but fall in love. Sadly, as Ridley’s mental state deteriorates, Jubilee finds herself torn between wanting to help Ridley and protect herself at the same time. The story does not shy away from discussing the challenges of being with someone who is dealing with mental illness.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is a lonely boy going into his freshman year. His life is changed for the better with the help of his teacher and new friends but his past traumas start to bubble to the surface. This book deeply explores how much trauma and shame can affect your life and all of the damage it creates.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Audrey is a teenager who has become trapped in her own mind due to her social anxiety disorder. With the help of her new friend Linus, she begins to break out of her shell and try to start loving the life she was always meant to live.