Mental Health in Books – Recommendations #MHAW16

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental illness has many forms and is something that we need to discuss and represent widely to be heard. Below I’ve put together a list of nine books that I think start to expand and discuss the spectrum of mental illness. They are a mix of books that I have read personally and books that have come highly recommended to me. I welcome further suggestions in the comments.

Am I Normal Yet


Am I Normal Yet? By Holly Bourne

This amazing book by Holly Bourne deals with topics such as medication, and tackling school social interactions while having obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Throw a potential relationship into the mix and things get complicated.

Reasons To Stay Alive


Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive is a biographical recount of Matt’s experience of anxiety and depression. His raw and uncompromising account of his confrontation is imperative to giving a voice to living with mental illness. He speaks of living better, loving better and understanding ourselves and our needs.

13 Reasons Why


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I read this book many years ago. Jay Asher depicts bullying and how this can affect a teenager’s life leading to suicide (TW). This is the story of Hannah Baker and the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide and the people who caused it.

The Time In Between


The Time In Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope By Nancy Tucker

This is the story of how Nancy developed anorexia and eventually bulimia. Her memoir charts her experience and how this effectd her school life, her mental health and her thoughts and feelings in retrospect.


We Were Liars


We Were Liars by E Lockhart

There’s not much I’m going to say about this book as I don’t want to spoil the twist. This book emphasises the power of a lie. Whether that to something that is told to another person or the air of prestige that creates an atmostphere for continuous lying. Lying to yourself. Lying to your friends and family. This book will confuse you until you’ve read it you won’t quite be able to appreciate the complexity and delicacy with which it was put together.



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A story of twin sisters discovering their own paths. Wren is a social butterfly and takes to college like a fish to water, but leaves behind her sister, Cath, who’s social anxiety disorder prevents her from forming the same instant connections as Wren. This Cath’s story of self-belief, first romance and fanfiction.

Panther David Owen

Panther by David Owen

“I wrote Panther to highlight the dangers of not talking about depression. By failing to speak openly about these issues, we can’t improve the level of understanding and empathy necessary to change the perception of mental health illnesses. By failing to speak openly, we give these illnesses power.”

Quote originally published on Atom Blog.


All The Bright Places


All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This book deals with two intertwining battles of mental illness. While Violet is dealing with the grief of her sister’s death, Theodore considered the ramifications of following through with his contemplations of suicide (TW).



Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornell

A book that I recently picked up the proof of, Under Rose Tainted Skies, follows Nora who has agoraphobia and OCD. She attempts to form a friendship (possibly more?) with Luke, who catches her trying to bring groceries inside without stepping outside.



If you know of any books that could be added to this list please comment below or tweet me @HowlingReviews

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  1. A great list, thanks for sharing! Will be adding ‘We were liars’ to my To read pile. Sounds really interesting. I’ve heard good things about Panther too.
    Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allan is a good one to add to the discussion about mental illness.

  2. What a great list of books. I’ve read a few, heard of a few others but I’ve found another couple of books to read sometime soon. It’s wonderful that there are so many books now out about mental health to help raise awareness because it’s still something people just don’t like to discuss. Under Rose Tainted Skies and Am I Normal Yet? Both sound like books I should be reading so thank you for bringing them to my attention.

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