Thursday, September 20

Books That Get Mental Illness Right

I have severe depression and anxiety, so reading books that cover mental illness can be a real mixed bag. Sometimes its super comforting and makes me feel like I'm not alone. Sometimes, its just straight up triggering. These are some of the books that made me feel so very seen and I want to promote the heck out of them! 

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter
At times this felt like I was actually reading an account of my own school days. This is one of the few Middle Grade novels I've read as an adult and loved. I did get stressed out reading it at times, but only because the descriptions of anxiety were so spot on. As long as I took regular breaks, reading it wasn't upsetting and actually made me feel so much better by the end. 

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
This is one of my absolute favourite books of all time. Whilst the description of mental illness wasn't, like Being Miss Nobody, exactly what I have experienced it was still so real and accurate. I especially loved how the author never ever used romance as a "cure" for what the main character was experiencing. And it's always wonderful to read a story where the person with a mental illness is unconditionally supported.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
This was a book about a schizophrenic main character. This is something I've never experienced so obviously do look for own voices reviews. But for me this was such an informative book. As part of depression I have a tendency to get very self-involved and it was good for this book to really push me to learn more about other mental health problems. Her second book - Eliza and Her Monsters is also brilliant.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
I know for a lot of people this isn't the best Ness book. But for me it is truly my favourite. Because everything from the friendships to the family to the perfectly described mental illness rang true for me. Some of it was hard to read but ultimately very rewarding.

Do you have any favourite books about mental health? Let me know so I can check them out! 


  1. I recently read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman, and I loved it. The main character is schizophrenic, and Neal loosely (?) based him on his own son. This was the mini-review I wrote after reading it (I plan on writing a long one eventually): "A raw and yet poetical (though not romanticised) look at a young boy's descent into the pits of mental illness, with a strong (though not sugarcoated) message of hope. The two different narratives come together beautifully - and smartly - without sounding forced, and paint a vivid, harsh but sympathetic image of Caden you won't be able to shake your mind free of. Of course, this is an author's version of his son's plights - creating order (sort of) out of chaos. But even then, that chaos looks you in the eye, and you stare back at it, and if for a moment, you understand what it's like."
    Of course, I can't say if it's triggering or not - but if you're interested, I'm sure you can find many reviews that can help you make up your mind! 👍

    I used to have Made You Up on my TBR list once, but then I started reading reviews that stated the schizophrenia rep wasn't...accurate, to say the least...🤔

  2. Omg I LOVE The Rest of Us Just Live Here. It’s actually my favourite Ness book as well! I have yet to read Under Rose Tainted Skies, but everyone tells me it’s really good.

  3. I tend to mostly avoid books dealing with mental illness because of trigger potential, but I'm glad that you have found some that are great. What I struggle with often gets misrepresented or stereotyped based on a few well-known symptoms, which are not what I I can find it hard to find something I relate to.

  4. I found The Rest of Us Just Live Here odd, but it was entertaining, and there was a lot of attention paid to the OCD, anxiety, and eating disorders.

  5. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is on my tbr list, I'm glad it's one of your favourites!

  6. These are fabulous choices! Made You Up is one I always recommend, it is so good. I *need* to read Under Rose Tainted Skies, too. I have heard so many great things. And I loved The Rest of Us Just Live Here because of course, it's Patrick Ness! I will definitely need to check out Being Miss Nobody, too- I don't read a ton of MG, but I bet my daughter would love it (and could use a good MG about mental illness, tbh). Lovely post, thanks so much for sharing these!

  7. I saw that Roberta already mentioned this one but, Challenger Deep was such a powerful read about schizophrenia and written with Shusterman's son - he did the artwork - showing what it felt like during his manic episodes.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth


Your comments are what keep us going so we take the time to reply to each and every one you leave for us. We'll always try our best to visit your blogs and leave a comment for you in return. :)