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Mental Health Books for Teens and YA Readers

A mix of non-fiction and YA fiction books about mental health issues.

Non-fiction Titles

Cover of The Beasts in Your Brain:

It can be hard to find the words to describe the icky feelings that seem to come from nowhere and sap all your joy and energy. This is not your doctor's dry health pamphlet or a preachy self-care listicle. The Beasts in Your Brain is a guide and companion equally for you and your loved ones, here to provide that essential first dose of information, understanding, and validation about mental illness and how it affects the young people of today.

Cover of Being You: The Body Image
Charlotte Markey and
Daniel Hart and Douglas Zacher

From early childhood boys often feel pressured to be athletic and muscular. But what impact does this have on physical and mental well-being through their teens and beyond? It's an easy-to-read, evidence-based guide to developing a positive body image for boys aged 12+. It covers all the facts on puberty, diet, exercise, self-care, mental health, social media, and everything in-between. Boys will find answers to the questions most on their mind, the truth behind many diet and exercise myths, and real-life stories from other boys.

Cover of The Denim Diaries: A Memoi
Laurie Boyle

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Denim Diaries follows Crompton's journey through disordered eating and sexual assault to acceptance and recovery. Her vivid poems recall the highs and lows of a life filled with hardship and joy alike. This memoir brings a new perspective to the importance of self-love and finding hope in the darkest of times.

Cover of Killing the Wittigo: Indig

Killing the Wittigo explains the traumatic effects of colonization on young Indigenous people. It includes reflection questions and activities in each chapter to encourage mindfulness and emotional regulation, help build reader self-awareness about wellness and self-care, and what it will take to stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma. 

Cover of The Racial Trauma Handbook

Racial trauma can reverberate for generations, and lead to anxiety, irritability, anger, rage, depression, low self-esteem, shame, and guilt. Teens are especially vulnerable to racial trauma, as they are still developing a sense of self and identity. The Racial Trauma Handbook for Teens provides readers with evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills to heal the wounds of personal and intergenerational trauma, increase self-awareness, and build confidence.

Cover of Shout
Laurie Halse

Inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel "Speak" was first published in 1999, bestselling author Anderson presents a searing poetic memoir in which she shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she's never written about before.

Cover of Skate For Your Life

In this moving, personal story, professional skateboarder Leo Baker shares their journey within the sport and the importance of authenticity and allyship as a non-binary athlete.

Cover of This Book Is a Safe Space:

Amy Tran (@doodledwellness) has the goal of making brain science easy to understand, and with This Book Is a Safe Space, she equips individuals with the tools needed to nurture a healthy mindset. Blending psychoeducation (funded by Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) with engaging illustrations, Tran's cute doodles, self-love affirmations, coping strategies, and encouraging reminders will help readers develop positive self-talk.

Cover of Where to Start: A Survival
Mental Health America
Gemma Correll

A comforting and useful resource for anyone who's struggling emotionally and looking for help-from the nation's leading community-based nonprofit that addresses the needs of those living with mental illness. This book is a perfect first step. Here you'll find clear, honest, reassuring information about all the most common mental illnesses and what you can do to find help and to practice self-care.

Cover of Your Amazing Teen Brain: C

Find fun and easy "brain hacks" grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and neuroscience to help them make the most of their growing minds, manage difficult emotions, build better relationships, and face all the challenges of growing up.


Fiction Titles

Cover of Ab(solutely) Normal: Short
Nora Shalaway and
Rocky Callen (Editors)

Channeling their own experiences, sixteen exceptional authors subvert mental health stereotypes in a powerful and uplifting collection of fiction. Through powerful prose, verse, and graphics, the characters in this anthology defy stereotypes as they remind readers that living with a mental health condition doesn't mean that you're defined by it. Each story is followed by a note from its author to the reader, and comprehensive back matter.

Cover of The Art of Insanity

Putting up a front and hiding her mental illness from her classmates is going to be the hardest thing high schooler Natalie Cordova has ever done. Natalie finds herself juggling all kinds of feels and responsibilities. As Natalie's plan to self-treat unravels, so does the perfect façade she's been painting for everyone else. Written from experience, this heartfelt and candid contemporary YA novel explores the stigma surrounding mental illness and offers an uplifting narrative of resilience.

Cover of The Cartographers

Seventeen-year-old Ocean Wu moves to New York City to start college, but she defers her enrollment, keeping it a secret from her immigrant mother, and instead uses the time to deal with her ambivalence about her place in the world.

Cover of Forever is Now
Mariama J.

School is out, and even though she's been struggling to manage her chronic anxiety, Sadie is hopeful better times are ahead. When her girlfriend reveals some unexpected news and the two witness a violent incident of police brutality unfold before them, Sadie's whole world is upended in an instant. This is a powerful young adult novel-in-verse about mental health, love, family, Black joy, and finding your voice and power in an unforgiving world.

Cover of I Am Not Alone
Francisco X.

Alberto is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, living in New York City, and is now suspected of a terrible crime; his friend Grace is a top student with every advantage, and she is determined to prove Alberto's innocence.

Cover of Restrict: A Poetic Narrati

Told from the perspective of a young woman who has abandoned her own name to distance herself from the emotional trauma of growing up, Little Girl's story is a modern examination of eating disorders, body image, puberty, and self-worth. And as the pressure to diet starts to become too much, the question faced by Little Girl is this: how can she ever experience self-love in a world focused solely on her appearance?

Cover of Side Effects
Ted Anderson and
Mike Marts (Editor)
Tara O’Connor

Hannah doesn't want to be a hero - she just wants to be well. But what does "well" even look like? It's Hannah's first year away at college and within the first month, the combination of classes and socializing and adjusting to college life sends her into a full-on breakdown. Fortunately, her roommate finds her, Hannah goes to campus mental health, and they prescribe her therapy and meds -- though with every new medication, you've got to watch out for unexpected side effects.

Cover of Some Shall Break (The None

Travis Bell and Emma Lewis reunite to help the FBI capture a serial killer in Pittsburgh, and they must again turn to a notorious teenage sociopath and his twin sister for help finding the murderer.

Cover of Those Pink Mountain Nights

When the weekend at Pink Mountain Pizza takes several unexpected turns, three teens will have to acknowledge the various ways they've been hurt--and how much they need each other to hold it all together. Jen Ferguson writes about the hurt of a life stuck in past tense, the hum of connections that cannot be severed, and one week in a small, snowy town that changes everything.

Cover of When It All Syncs Up

A Black teen dancer with dreams of landing a spot in a prestigious ballet company must learn to dance on her own terms in this debut about the healing power of art and friendship, perfect for fans of Euphoria and Tiny Pretty Things.