Wednesday, 16 September 2015

TOP FIVE WEDNESDAY: Top five books on mental illness

(Top Five Wednesday was created by GingerReadsLainey. Find out more at the Goodreads group!)

I've read a lot of novels focusing on mental illness, and I've read some amazing ones - it's been hard to cut it down to only including five books.

5) 'Looking For Alaska' by John Green
I really wanted to put 'Looking For Alaska' higher up this list, but there's actually a lot of debate over whether it features mental illness or not - I'll won't give spoilers, but one of the characters exhibits behaviours that I think show depression, but it's rather controversial.  

4) 'Stolen' by Lucy Christopher
In 'Stolen', Gemma gets kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian outback. She starts to empathise with her kidnapper, making this one of the only - if not the only? - YA novel that deals with Stockholm Syndrome. At the end of this book I was so infuriated with myself: because we hear the story through Gemma's voice, we get just as conflicted as her, so it really does feel as though you start to exhibit the symptoms - Lucy Christopher is a very clever author.  

3) 'Entangled' by Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke's debut novel is probably my favourite debut of all time. 'Entangled' is Grace's story - after she tries to kill herself, she wakes up in a completely white room with nothing but paper and pens, and she tells her story. It's a poignant look at the struggle of depression - when I read it I finished it in one sitting, then cried for about two hours afterwards. It's certainly an emotional one. 

2) 'Wintergirls' by Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson's beautiful novel, 'Wintergirls', focuses on a teenager suffering with anorexia nervosa. This is a topic extremely close to my heart, and I think that Laurie wrote it so beautifully, in a way that didn't promote the illness or attack sufferers - it was handled very delicately, and it's a must read. 

1) 'It's Kind of a Funny Story' by Ned Vizzini
'It's Kind of a Funny Story' is definitely my favourite novel featuring a mental illness - focusing on depression. Craig, the protagonist, nearly jumps off of the Brooklyn Bridge, but he realises he doesn't really want to die so gets help and willingly goes into a mental hospital. 

I hope you enjoyed my Top Five Wednesday! Please post your links below - I'm always interested to discover new novels about mental illnesses, so I'll check them all out.


  1. I agree with Wintergirls, Looking for Alaska, and Stolen. Stolen in particular because I just can't get my head around Stockholm Syndrome, and even though I knew Gemma had it I just got mad. A very thought provoking read. However, I really disagree with It's Kind of a Funny Story. In my opinion, it was one of the worst books about mental health and I hated it with a passion. Great post, though. :)

    Charlotte @ Bookmarks and Blogging

    1. I did love Stolen - I just think it's one of the most unique YA books I've ever read, because it's such a disturbing subject matter. I've heard that a lot of people don't like It's Kind of a Funny Story, but I really enjoyed it - there were aspects that I disliked, but I just thought Craig was very easy to relate to which meant I sped through the novel.