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Teens and Mental Health: Fiction

A list of teen books curated by MPL Librarians revolving around the topics of mental health, grief, death, and loss

Cover of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexi

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. In the aftermath of her older sister's death, Julia struggles with grief, depression, and navigates her new role within her changed family.

Cover of When We Collided

In one seemingly perfect summer, Jonah and Vivi fall for each other, deeply and immediately. But as Jonah confronts his grief over his father's death and Vivi learns to adapt to her bipolar disorder, the couple must learn how to face their challenges together.

Cover of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacoc
Little, Brown & Co.

Leonard Peacock has plans for his birthday. But before he does, he has to say goodbye to four significant people. Leonard faces depression and sexual assault and wonders what sort of future would even be possible for himself.

Cover of Little & Lion
Little, Brown and Co.

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn't sure if she'll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new...the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel's disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself--or worse. (GoodReads)

Cover of Turtles All the Way Down

Aza tries every day to pull herself out of the thought spirals--caused by her OCD and anxiety-- that get in the way of her being present for her family and friends all the time. When her best friend Daisy tells Aza that they are going to solve a local mystery and claim the cash reward, Aza agrees to an adventure that forces her to see her town, her friends, and herself in an entirely new light.

Cover of The Memory of Light
Francisco X

Vicky Cruz never expected to wake up. When she wakes up in Lakeview Hospital, she meets three other teens who also have mental illness. Mona copes with losing custody of her child by imagining getting her back, but when that doesn't work, she cuts and uses drugs. E.M. is always angry, but there are compassion and caring buried underneath the surface, and Gabriel, who has a kindness that penetrates Vicky's despair, hears God's voice and may be suffering from schizophrenia. They, along with Dr. Desai, a quiet, empathetic psychiatrist, become the force she needs to get through her chilling and near-fatal depression. After her mother died from cancer and her more successful sister left for college, Vicky has felt abandoned, including by her emotionally remote father. Vicky's connection with the others allows her not only to begin a slow, painful return to believing that life is worth living, but to find the strength to be there when she is needed, and to stand up to her father when it's most important.

Cover of This is Not a Test
St. Martin's Press

It's the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won't stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn't sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she's failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she's forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. (Amazon)

Cover of Wintergirls
Laurie Halse

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend's memory and racked with guilt for not being able to help save her. (Amazon)