Mental illness is one of my favorite topics in books, whether it is the main theme of a novel, or one of the supporting characters' issues, if it's done properly, I'm going to love it.
Here are the top five books from my bookshelf who have done mental illness really well. So well, in fact, that they have helped me on my way to overcoming some major issues of my own.
Willow by Julia Hoban
is a book about a girl who blames herself about something really major and tragic that happened in her life, and starts hurting herself.
It's ultimately a book about love and hope and overcoming one's worst demons.
It played a major part in my life, but be careful. It might be HIGHLY triggering.
However, if there's someone in your life going through a similar thing, there's no better way to try to understand the psychology behind self-harm than this gorgeous young adult novel.
I recommend it heartily.
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
is hot (lol). It's also a book about major social and mental issues, panic attacks and tortured memories being one of them. I love the lyricism of this novel and how accurately it described how fragile someone going through panic attacks might feel, while at the same time possessing the strength within themselves to fight for happiness.
What's interesting in this novel, although it is basically a love story, is that it doesn't take the romance to rescue them from their issues. They rescue each other, yes, but more importantly they rescue themselves, facing their fears, confronting -and ultimately overcoming- their weaknesses.
I love that.
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
is the second book in the Mara Dyer trilogy, but it is my favorite because it largely takes place in a mental institution. While being a paranormal romance/mystery, it also deals heavily with really messed up issues like loss of memory, madness, hallucinations,
schizophrenia and other lovely stuff like that.
I, being someone who's drawn to anything dark and messed up, adored it.
But it's more than the story of a tortured girl and the guy who is trying to keep her sane. The realism of her situation and feelings hit me from the first book, and in this one, my favorite in the series, Mara has to face the truth of who she is becoming and I was impressed by her courage and clarity.
Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines
is one of my top favorite young adult novels ever. It features a heroine that has had a really messed up childhood, leaving her with serious psychological scars, unable to deal with the memories to the point where she blacks out. It takes a lot of love, patience and devotion to pull her out of the darkness.
While not entirely realistic, this book is what escapism is all about: a hot guy snapping out of his careless string of casual sex, to devote himself to a tortured girl, who has a heart of gold inspite of what people did to her -and it was really bad what she's been through. Like, crazy bad.
That's what always captivates me in this book, in the end: her kindness despite the pain.
Black Box by Cassia Leo
is a book about suicide. Plain and simple. It takes guts to just read it, that's what I think, especially if you have had experience with suicidal thoughts and attempts, or someone near you is dealing with it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again.
If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favor. Educate yourself.
This is how you deal with a person who doesn't want to live anymore.
And this is how you get over it.
Just a perfect book for this serious mental illness issue.
Have you written a post on the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads Thread? Leave the link below, and I'll check it out!