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29 YA Books About Mental Health That Actually Nail It

From brutally honest to shockingly hilarious, these books get it.

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We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about their favorite YA books that deal with mental health and mental illness. Here are just some of their must-reads:

2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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"It is a story that deals with depression, bereavement, and relationships. It was so beautiful. Honestly, the ending completely brought me to tears, but it is definitely something I would read again."

—Maimuna May, Facebook

3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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"It deals with more of the struggles of physical illness at first, but then has surprising characters with mental illnesses that just pull it all together perfectly. A girl who had never left the house and her mother, all alone. Truly my favorite book of all time."

TheObsessedPanda

4. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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"The Six of Crows duology is a thrilling fantasy about an impossible heist carried out by a cast of super-diverse thieves and crooks. It's about so much more than mental illness — which is why I love it so much. This is a fantasy novel that just happens to star characters who struggle with mental health issues, particularly PTSD. It creates conflict in the plot, yes, but is never a character's defining struggle or treated as something that will be magically fixed by the end of the series."

—Jessie Vogul, Facebook

5. Mosquitoland by David Arnold

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"Its main character suffers from psychosis and it has two supporting characters who have depression and Down syndrome. I have depression myself and I found myself relating to the characters and plot quite a bit. The book also addresses topics like sexual assault, divorce, and physical disabilities, and the author's writing style is amazing. I highly recommend it!"

—Lauren Crabtree, Facebook

6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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"I recommend it to everybody. It's about feeling suicidal and it was the first book I read in which the author really seemed to understand what it's like to feel that depressed, that hopeless, that out of control, and to see no other way out of your misery except through death. It also emphasized that it wasn't just ONE thing that made the female main character suicidal."

—Joelle Tatter, Facebook

7. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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"It tells the story of Josh and Nastya, two high schoolers who have lost everything in two very different ways. Josh has lost everyone he loves. Nastya was in a horrible accident. Their lives have been full of pain, suffering, loneliness, and violence. This book takes you on a journey of healing and self-discovery. It's dramatic, yet ultimately inspiring. Because I've also experienced trauma-based depression, I got a lot of perspective from this book."

—Melissa Gerson, Facebook

8. Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

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"It's my favorite 'depression book' that is about so much more than depression. It describes perfectly what depression feels like, but also subtly nails a lot of the stigma people who deal with it face. Mira, the main character, has a well-intentioned family, but they fail time and time again to see the realities of what depression is like and constantly let their disappointment show when she can't immediately 'snap out of it.' Definitely true to my experience. Oh, and the main character is biracial and the supporting characters are queer, which is always a plus in my book."

—Jane Martin, Facebook

10. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

"It tells the story of a young girl struggling with depression. This story is about the recovery and healing, not of the pain and sorrow. Amazing perspective on what depression is. Very unique, very heartwarming. One of my personal favorites."

tesshorn00

11. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

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"It's such a raw, unglamorized, and honest look into anorexia. It also deals with depression, self-harm, and the need to be perfect, which is common for people who suffer from an eating disorder. When I was at my worst point in my ED this book really saved my life."

—Chantal Richard, Facebook

12. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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"It's about a 14-year-old girl who suffers from social anxiety as a result of being bullied. Funny, witty, and heartwarming — and well-researched at the same time. Must read."

—Janhavi Deshpande, Facebook

13. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

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"The protagonist Solomon is agoraphobic and the book deals with the subject tactfully. The book seems like it would be a bummer, but it’s a blast in the right places and it gets serious when it needs to be."

Bespectacled Heroine

15. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

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"The Raven Cycle — a series made up of The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and The Raven King — has SO much going for it. It's about psychics and magic and love and tarot and sleeping kings and ghosts, but throughout it all, it weaves in themes of trauma, abuse, grief, and anxiety that the characters deal with and overcome."

—Joyce F., Facebook

16. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

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"Such a great book surrounding OCD and mental illness. I felt that it was truly accurate, speaking from experience. It was pure emotion and tied YA themes into the plot without it becoming overbearing."

viotoki

17. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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"It's such a beautifully written book. It helped me learn the importance of communication. It also showed me that sometimes you have to step outside of your own world and into someone else’s."

Mataea

18. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

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"It actually nailed exactly how I feel when I'm really struggling with OCD. It doesn’t sugarcoat anything and it puts into words just what obsessions feel like and how they affect everything we say or do."

jroth134

19. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

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"It's about a girl who had to deal with the changes around her while dealing with her mother's depression. It shows that sometimes, depression doesn't just affect one person."

—Kristina Angeles, Facebook

20. The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez

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"It's about a boy who is struggling with life in high school after losing weight at a fat camp. It deals with all sorts of different problems, including eating disorders. It really is the perfect YA for anyone looking for a male main character dealing with mental illness in a very non-preachy way."

—Lucy Wright, Facebook

21. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

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"This book really helped me deal with the depression I faced after my father unexpectedly passed away in February. The hopelessness that Feyre faced and her overcoming it slowly and painfully resonated with my experience. The book gave me hope for the PTSD and grief I experienced and still experience. It is a book I turn to often when I feel that the bad days are winning."

TylerMarie

24. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

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"This book is about what grief can do to you and how it can make you feel. I read the entire book in a day and at the end, I sobbed for an hour. The book touches so many places in your heart and you really feel the love in the book. OMG SO GOOD."

theliliaduffy

25. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

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"It's great even if it did kill me with feelings. From the title and the cover blurb, you expect this book to be fluff or at most a John Green-esque semiserious YA romance, but it turns out to be a super-honest look at teenage depression and how it really can affect anyone."

katymoore2000

26. Paperweight by Meg Haston

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"I read it just after I left treatment for my eating disorder and I was shocked by the accuracy of it all. The protagonist’s struggle with her diagnosis felt so real, and it even helped me reconcile some of my own thoughts."

nicolem496472626

27. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

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"It's book is about love, depression, high school, musicals, and everything in between. One character is gay and deals with depression, and his voice is so refreshingly honest, complete with dark suicidal humor that a lot of authors skirt around. One thing I particularly loved is how it sidestepped the common trope in YA where a depressed character is 'cured' of their depression after they fall in love. No spoilers, but his love story is truthful, heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful."

—Jacob Perry, Facebook

28. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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"It was the first book that put into words things I knew I was feeling, but couldn't describe to other people. In high school it let me know that I was neither crazy, nor alone. It isn't completely cliché and doesn't try too hard. At times the main character is just as confused about what's going on with him as you might feel yourself and it's incredibly comforting to know that other people struggle like this as well."

—Nubia Jade Brice, Facebook

29. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

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"It’s Kind of a Funny Story got depression SO right. That book means the absolute world to me. I’d even highlighted and annotated my copy, and once I brought it into my therapist’s office and showed her some passages because it put how I was feeling into words better than I could."

jaymet4a995d984

Note: Responses have been edited for length or clarity.

For even more suggestions, check out the comments on the original post.

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