I read two fantastic books recently that both happened to deal with mental health issues. Both were thoughtful and realistic portrayals of the challenges people with mental illness face.
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Winner of the National Book Award for Young People
The novel explores the experience of 15-year-old, Caden Bosch, as he experiences a psychotic episode and is sent to a mental hospital for treatment. The author does a fantastic job intertwining the two worlds of Caden as he struggles with what is real and what is a delusion. Realistic and heartrending the reader feels as confused and lost as Caden at times. MS/HS Schizophrenia, Mental Illness, Family
The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Mikey and his friends are not Indie kids; they are the background characters in the fantasy "chosen one to save the world" stories. While random weird stuff is going on in their town; they are just trying to graduate high school and figure out the whole life thing. But Mikey and his friends are pretty extraordinary in their own ordinary way. I liked the conceit of the story: the story of the ordinary background people usually found in the fantasy stories. I liked how the mental health issues (OCD and anorexia) were a part of the characters' lives but not their whole lives. I liked how there was conflict but also conversation. They talked to each other and were multifaceted characters. HS Fantasy, High School, Coming of Age, Relationships, Diverse, Mental Illness, GLBT
If you liked these books you might try some of the following books. Also check out the 616 section in nonfiction for some great informational books on mental illnesses.
Get Happy by Mary Amato
Ok so now I have the Partridge Family song in my head..."c'mon now and meet everybody" (which for some reason I though included "get happy" but it doesn't but it should). I guess it is appropriate because this is a very musical book. The story opens with Minerva on her sixteenth birthday. She is hoping very much for a ukulele but she gets a sweater instead. She also gets a package in the mail from her long lost father. She realizes that he --her father - is back in the area and he wants to get to know her but her mother has always maintained that he is a Bad Guy. Her friend Fin, talks her into auditioning with him for a job entertaining at birthday parties where she meets Hayes and Cassie. And things are going well but secrets and lies are exposed and Minerva must deal with the past one way or another. The book includes original songs with lyrics and chords. You can also hear the songs from the book on the author's website.
Other books you might enjoy:
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Beige by Cecil Castellucci
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Fererle
Fame by Mariah Fredericks
Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John
And because I still have the song in my head after writing all this...
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