Top 7 Books With Mental Health Representation

May is mental health awareness month, and this is a topic that is so important to me. In the past, I have helped run (and participated in) a mental health book bingo, I have done many posts dedicated to this topic, and I constantly look for new books to read with MI rep. I am someone who has dealt with anxiety and OCD my entire life, so it is definitely something I relate to, and I think good representation in books is extremely necessary.

Today, I wanted to share with you my top 7 favorite books with good* mental health representation (sorry, I couldn’t narrow it down to 5).

*Everyone experiences MI differently, so what may be an accurate representation for me might not be the same experience you’ve had. Please be kind and keep an open mind.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

First off, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook of this one because it is incredible! This book has the BEST anxiety/OCD rep I have ever seen. I truly mean that. When I first read it, I was in so much awe of how well crafted the main character, Aza’s, thought spirals were. They so accurately depicted what I was feeling. I will say this one doesn’t have the best plot ever, but if you are looking for good representation, that is exactly what you’ll get.

It is very difficult to read, though, so please keep that in mind!

TW: anxiety, OCD, thought spirals/panic attacks

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

I just recently finished reading this entire series, and let me just say- it is SO GOOD. What I love about the representation in this one is that the main character, Stevie, has anxiety and takes medication for it. We don’t often get books where MI is normalized, let alone have medication be normalized. I really appreciate that this book did that, and I think this is so important to see in YA novels.

TW: panic attacks, murder

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

This book is so beautiful. I adore Akemi Dawn Bowman’s writing, and Starfish was such a  great novel. This one does such a great job of representing anxiety. Kiko, our main character, is so well-written and throughout the novel, her character really develops. I love seeing how Kiko progresses and overcomes her anxiety (obviously it never fully goes away, but she learns how to live with it).

TW: rape, sexual assault, abusive parent

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

I think oftentimes, books don’t really show just how much school affects teenager’s mental health. We all know that school can really cause stress and anxiety, but this never get represented. When I read this book, I felt so seen. I think it’s so important to acknowledge just how much pressure there is on students because adults often neglect it.

Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu

This book was actually recommended to me by Emma from Emmmabooks, and I had never heard of it prior to her suggestion. I’m so glad I picked it up, though, because it was incredible! I talked about it more in-depth in a post I did where I read 5 books with OCD/Anxiety Rep!

TW: depression, OCD, anorexia, suicide/self harm, narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, panic attacks

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

This one is one I’ve talked about many times, but it was the first book I read with OCD representation, and it was the first time I felt seen in a book. I related to the main character so much, and this book has stuck in my mind for years. I definitely give this book credit for bringing me out of a bad place, so it means so much to me. It also has a really good twist at the end, so if you want a shocking book, I recommend it a lot!

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

This book is very dark and it deals with very difficult themes. It made me cry. A lot. But I think it is so important. This book follows a main character who was in a treatment facility after struggling with depression and PTSD, I believe (I may be wrong about this, I can’t really remember so please let me know). It was really well-written, and I think it is worth reading!

TW: suicide, self-harm, alcohol abuse, sexual assault, rape, PTSD

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If you are looking for even more recommendations, Marie recently shared her top 5, so I highly recommend checking her post out!

Also, if you have any recommendations of your own, please share them with me- I want to find more novels to add to my list!

Jessica