21 Books to Read During Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we find that books can not only help us understand or sympathize, but can often help us talk about difficult topics. Here are 21 books to add to your reading list and help start a conversation.
Where to Start from Mental Health America
A comforting and useful resource for anyone who’s struggling emotionally and looking for help―from the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit that addresses the needs of those living with mental illness
The Memory Eater by Rebecca Mahoney
A teenage girl must save her town from a memory-devouring monster in this piercing exploration of grief, trauma, and memory, from the author of The Valley and the Flood.
The Quiet and the Loud by Helena Fox
A heartbreaking, hopeful, and timely novel about facing family secrets, healing from trauma, and falling in love, from the award-winning author of How It Feels to Float
Chasing Pacquiao by Rod Pulido
Experience the extreme joys, sorrows, and triumphs of a queer Filipino-American teenager struggling to prove himself in an unforgiving world. A poignant coming-of-age story, perfect for fans of Patron Saints of Nothing and Juliet Takes a Breath.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. Turtles All the Way Down is an intimate portrait of what it’s like to live with anxiety.
Daris the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same when he visits his grandparents in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Adib Khorram’s brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough—then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay.
Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour
A modern ghost story about trauma and survival, Watch Over Me is the much-anticipated new novel from the Printz Award-winning author of We Are Okay.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
16-year-old Solomon hasn’t left his house in three years: He’s agoraphobic. When Lisa and Clark enter his life, Solomon’s journey into love, tragedy, and the need for connection reveals the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world.
How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox
A deeply hopeful YA novel about living with mental illness that’s perfect for fans of Girl in Pieces. This lyrical, profound contemporary novel takes an honest, mesmerizing look at the effects of grief and living with mental illness.
Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a Historically Black College, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family—and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to seek her place in this new world. As she stumbles deeper into the world of dance and explores her sexuality, she also begins to wrestle with her past—her mother’s struggle with addiction, her Nigerian father’s attempts to make a home for her. Ultimately, Ada discovers she needs to brush off the destiny others have chosen for her and claim full ownership of her body and her future.
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir comes a brilliant, unforgettable, and heart-wrenching contemporary novel about family and forgiveness, love and loss, in a sweeping story that crosses generations and continents.
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
“A deep dive into first love while learning to manage significant mental health challenges.” —School Library Journal
They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Lia is a high school senior who has struggled with an eating disorder for years, and her painful path to recovery hinges on her desperate attempt to hold on to the most important thing of all: hope.
Micah: The Good Girl by Ashley Woodfolk
Micah Dupree had always liked being the “good girl.” She was happy painting, going to church, and acing her school projects. After all, she had a perfect older brother to live up to. But when he unexpectedly dies, Micah’s world is turned upside-down. With her anxiety growing, a serious boyfriend in the picture, and new feelings emerging, Micah begins to question what being the “good girl” really means…and if it’s worth it, anyway.
The Edge of Being by James Brandon
A tender and heartfelt queer YA novel about the multiplicities of grief, deeply held family secrets, and finding new love.
The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez
The Lovely Bones meets Celeste Ng for teens in this gorgeous, haunting, and tragic novel that examines the crippling–and far-reaching–effects of one person’s trauma on her family, her community, and herself.
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
The Girls I’ve Been is about Nora O’Malley, the daughter of a con-artist who finds herself trapped in a bank during a robbery with her girlfriend, Iris and her ex-boyfriend, Wes and as the situation worsens, Nora only sees one safe way out for all of them: the con.
Ever Since by Alena Bruzas – Coming 23
An intense, beautiful debut about the power of finding your voice and sharing your story after trauma. Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Kathleen Glasgow.
Always Isn’t Forever by J.C. Cervantes – Coming June 6
Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.
Forty Words for Love by Aisha Saeed – Coming August 22
In this luminous young adult novel by New York Times bestselling author Aisha Saeed, two teen protagonists grow from friends to something more in the aftermath of a tragedy in their magical town.
The Meadows by Stephanie Oakes – Coming September 12
A queer, YA Handmaid’s Tale meets Never Let Me Go about a dystopian society bent on relentless conformity, and the struggle of one girl to save herself and those she loves from a life of lies
The Night Fox by Ashley Wilda – Coming October 10
This luminous, haunting debut, alternating between now and then, reality and magic, tells the story of a girl confronting heartbreak while at a mysterious recovery program in the wilderness.