Mental Illness in YA — A Reading List


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition.  This is a scary number but even scarier is being a young person who is experiencing signs of a mental illness.  The following is a list of books that highlight mental illness in a young adult’s life.  Read and share.





It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned VIzzini It’s Kind of a Funny Story
By: Ned Vizzini

A humorous account of a New York City teenager’s battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital.  Ages 14 and up

Mosquitoland by David Arnold Mosquitoland
By: David Arnold

Enduring a dysfunctional existence with her father and new stepmother, snarky Mim learns that her mother is sick and hops a bus to visit her, experiencing a journey filled with unexpected revelations.  Ages 12 and up

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
By: Teresa Toten

Adam not only is trying to understand his OCD, while trying to balance his relationship with his divorced parents, but he’s also trying to navigate through the issues that teenagers normally face, namely the perils of young love.  Ages 13 and up

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whatley Highly Illogical Behavior
By: John Corey Whatley

Agoraphobic sixteen-year-old Solomon has not left his house in three years, but Lisa is determined to change that–and to write a scholarship-winning essay based on the results.  Ages 14 and up

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone Every Last Word
By: Tamara Ireland Stone

Consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off, a girl coping with Purely-Obsessional OCD learns to accept herself and take control of her life through her experiences in poetry club.  Ages 12 and up

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
By: Matthew Quick

A day in the life of a suicidal teen boy saying good-bye to the four people who matter most to him.  Ages 15 and up

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman Challenger Deep
By: Neal Shusterman

As he struggles with schizophrenia, a teenage boy believes he is on a journey to reach the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest place on Earth.  Ages 14 and up

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay The Sea of Tranquility
By: Katja Millay

Two and a half years after an unspeakable tragedy left her a shadow of the girl she once was, Nastya Kashnikov moves to a new town determined to keep her dark past hidden and hold everyone at a distance. But her plans only last so long before she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the one person as isolated as herself: Josh Bennett.  Ages 15 and up

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella Finding Audrey
By: Sophie Kinsella

Fourteen-year-old Audrey is making slow but steady progress dealing with her anxiety disorder when Linus comes into the picture and her recovery gains momentum.  Ages 12 and up

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Wintergirls
By: Laurie Halse Anderson

Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friend’s death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.  Ages 13 and up


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Read & Shine