Do you know someone that has a mental health condition? Would you like to know more about how hard are they struggling with their conditions? Would you like to find stories full of love, hate, sadness, happiness, tears, laughter, lost, pain, joy? Are you able to show empathy and patience towards all the people who need “someone to talk to”? We are not doctors, but we can be a friend, or a shoulder for someone that desperately needs it.
If the answer is YES, than have a look at the list bellow with books that shine a light on experiencing mental health difficulties. Young adult novels are powerful potions that can blow up the bridges between I’m fine and I’m not fine, and this stories remind us that above everything, we are Humans.
Allen Zadoff has written an unbelievable book. Honestly, it’s one of the best novels I have ever read. It dazzles in every aspect and never ceases to surprise.
So we start the book in the mind of our protagonist, this is a first person book. We don’t even know the protagonist’s name. The story starts off when “Boy Nobody” is friends with a kid called Jack. Jack invites “Boy Nobody to his house where his father is and that’s when we start to realise who “Boy Nobody” actually is, he’s an assassin. From the very first pages we sense that our protagonist is something special: “Jack’s dad wanders by with a beer in his hand. Chen Wu is his name. His friends call him John. He’s the CEO of a high-tech firm along Route 128. Lots of government contracts.” Our protagonist notices every little detail. Eventually he injects a poison into Mr Wu which kills him, “Boy Nobody” escapes, arousing no suspicion. That’s only the start of the book though.
Bit by bit we start to learn more about our protagonist. He gets new assignments every time he finishes one, his superiors are called Mother and Father and he still has memories of how it started. A few chapters in he’s sent on a new assignment, to kill the mayor of New York by befriending his daughter. I won’t describe what happens after that because then I would spoil your read.
What is so good about this book is how we discover more and more about our character as the story goes on. The author makes us believe that his mind works like a robot who’s constantly calculating but more importantly has no emotion at all. But as the story goes on we learn that’s not true. Our protagonist starts to feel emotion as doubt creeps in. The author completely submerges us into his brain; we know all his thoughts and dilemmas. What I also enjoyed very much was the attention to detail. I’ll give you an example: “She’s maybe fifteen, long brown hair, too much gloss on her lips. She has a backpack slung across one shoulder. The strap pulls her shirt tight, the swell of her breast pressing against fabric”, this is all in the mind of our protagonist.
This is a fantastic read, with plenty of surprises, I guarantee if you like action, thrillers and even romance books you’ll thoroughly enjoy this one, it’s a cracker!
If you happened to have read the Alex Rider series, you’ll absolutely love this one. It’s a spinoff of that bestselling series, following the dangerous Russian assassin Yassen Gregorovich. It’s basically the fictive biography of a killer.
The book starts in the 3rd person, following this strange man checking into his hotel room. The author describes his ultra-careful thoughts and his precision. Before long we are told that he sits down to read his diary. That’s when we embark on an epic adventure.
His story starts in a very small village in Russia, home to the people working in the factory. Little Yassen lived with his parents and his grandmother. His best friend was a boy called Leo. But this book is all about twists and surprises, and the first one would change his life forever. A disaster strikes and suddenly everyone starts dying including his parents who inform him that he’s immune to the killing gas. Yassen escapes the village but dangerous men would come for him. From then it’s all about survival, whatever it took.
Now I warn you, before you start reading this, it’s not a kid’s book. There’s plenty of deaths and straight-up horror, but it’s an absolutely brilliant read. There are countless twists and turns and in some parts you just won’t believe what you’re reading. I feel the real goal of the book is to show us how a normal kid, living a normal life can somehow turn into a cold-blooded killer. The reader inevitably struggles to keep up.
Yassen Gregorovich in the movie “Stormbreaker”
I love this book because Horowitz is so in control of every sense (taste, feeling…). He always keeps you on your toes and even if you read all the Alex Rider books, he still comes up with plenty of surprises. At the end of the book you will feel as though you have been taken on a journey, physically and mentally. But the scary thing, despite all the bad things Yassen did, you come to love this man, and even understand him.
The Reading Agency have compiled a list of books to help young people deal with and gain understand of mental health issues. This is an extension of the successful Books on Prescription scheme.
There’s some really interesting choices and it’s not all about self-help, there’s fiction and graphic novels too.
What do you think? Can reading help with health? Would you add anything to this list…or take any of the titles off it?!
Here is the list the Reading Agency suggest:
- Stuff That Sucks: Accepting What You Can’t Change and Committing to What You Can by Ben Sedley (Robinson, Little Brown)
- Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson (Hot Key Books)
- The Self-Esteem Team’s Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs?!! by The Self-Esteem Team (John Blake Publishing)
- Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan (Walker Books)
- Quiet the Mind by Matthew Johnstone (Robinson, Little, Brown)
- I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Walker Books)
- Kite Spirit by Sita Brahmachari (Macmillan Children’s Books)
- House of Windows by Alexia Casale (Faber)
- Every Day by David Levithan (Electric Monkey, Egmont)
- My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael Tompkins and Katherine Martinez (Magination Press, American Psychological Association)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Simon & Schuster)
- The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (Sceptre, Hodder)
- Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome: A User’s Guide to Adolescence by Luke Jackson (Jessica Kingsley)
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Vintage)
- Teen Life Confidential: Bullies, Cyberbullies and Frenemies by Michele Elliott (Wayland, Hachette Children’s)
- Vicious: True Stories by Teens about Bullying Hope Vanderberg (Free Spirit Publishing)
- Banish Your Self-Esteem Thief: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Building Positive Self-Esteem for Young People by Kate Collins-Donnelly (Jessica Kingsley)
- Teen Life Confidential: Self-Esteem and Being You by Anita Naik (Wayland, Hachette Children’s)
- Face by Benjamin Zephaniah (Bloomsbury)
- Am I Depressed and What Can I Do About it? by Shirley Reynolds and Monika Parkinson (Robinson, Little, Brown)
- I Had a Black Dog by Matthew Johnstone (Robinson, Little, Brown)
- Can I Tell You About Depression? by Christopher Dowrick and Susan Martin (Jessica Kingsley)
- Can I Tell You About Eating Disorders? by Bryan Lask and Lucy Watson (Jessica Kingsley)
- Banish Your Body Image Thief by Kate Collins-Donnelly (Jessica Kingsley)
- Touch and Go Joe by Joe Wells (Jessica Kingsley)
- Breaking Free from OCD: A CBT Guide for Young People and their Families by Jo Derisley, Isobel Heyman, Sarah Robinson, Cynthia Turner (Jessica Kingsley)
- The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (Walker Books)
- The Truth About Self-Harm by Celia Richardson (Mental Health Foundation)
- Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens by Earl Hipp (Free Spirit Publishing)
- Teenage Guide to Stress by Nicola Morgan (Walker Books)
(All these books are available to borrow from Brent Libraries)
The author is James Dashner it part of a trilogy. The book is narrated by Thomas and starts of with teens being trapped in a maze for two years and have their memories wiped and all they remember is their names. Then Thomas arrives and on the same day so does Teresa the first girl to ever arrive in the maze. She some how triggers the ending. If you choose to read the book you will know what that means.
I’m currently reading the Scorch Trial the second book in the trilogy. The books don’t take very long to read but are full of action. I definitely recommend this book especially if you enjoyed reading the Hunger Games. They’re pretty much the same genre.
I will give this book a 3/5.