Top 5 Wednesday #13 | Books about Mental Health/Illness

I can’t believe this is my 13th T5W post. It feels like I only started this blog yesterday. Time flies.


As always, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. For a complete list of Wednesday-ers and topics, please visit the Goodreads group!

This week’s topic is “Books with Mental Health/Illness,” which is a very important topic, especially in Young Adult fiction.  Not only does it add some diversity to the characters we read about, but it brings attention to some dark topics that the targeted demographic should be exposed to.

These dark topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Physical Illness
  • Physical or Intellectual Disabilities
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I am definitely taking physical illness into consideration while building this list because it is something that is mentally challenging for anyone to go through, especially young adults.

Without further adieu, here are my top five books dealing with mental health and/or illness:

#5 – Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – physical illness (and a smidge of mental illness)

This book has been getting a lot of buzz since BEA and its release earlier this month. This YA novel is about a young girl named Madeline who has SCID, a disease that unfortunately causes Madeline to be allergic to everything.  She has lived in her own disinfected world for her entire sixteen year old life, and she is completely okay with it. When a cute and mysterious boy moves in next door, Madeline has a sudden desire to leave her safe home and risk her life for some adventure.

This book has obvious themes of physical illness, but there are also some slight themes of mental illness that you’ll have to read on your own!

Read my review HERE.

#4 – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – physical illness

This one is a no-brainer for this list. The main characters of the novel deal with having cancer and building relationships with others when they have no idea how much time they have left.

It is a beautiful book, even though it is quite sad. It’s also extremely popular and the only reason I’m including it in the list is because I think that young adults, its targeted demographic, can learn a lot from reading this book.

#3 – Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern – physical and mental illness

This novel is about two high school seniors. One of them has cerebral palsy and requires technological tools to communicate. The other is dealing with the realization that he has OCD.

While I had some issues with how the teenagers dealt with the mental illness side of things, I understand that they were realistic teenagers. They were realistic even though they weren’t great role models to real teens.

Read my review HERE.

#2 – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – mental illness

The main character of this novel experiences intense PTSD due to fighting in World War II. As a result from this, he believes he has been transported to another planet for some of the novel and the rest of the novel is completely out of order. This book doesn’t explicitly state that the main character has a mental illness, but it’s definitely implied and the reader gets to infer the affect of his illness.

This is my all-time favorite book, by the way. It’s very short and I suggest you read it if you have not already.

#1 – A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – physical illness

Oh man, I love this book. It follows two children, Johnny and Owen. Owen was born with a rare disease. His growth his stunted and he has deformities. Johnny is an orphaned boy who befriends Owen after a terrible accident. The novel follows the two boys through their adolescence and discusses many serious subjects.

This is a beautiful contemporary novel that was the basis for one of my favorite movies, Simon Birch.

I obviously recommend you read all of these books. Which books have you already read? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading and as always, I’ll see you soon!


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3 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday #13 | Books about Mental Health/Illness

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