Shattering Stigmas – Mental health and the books that featured it right

Happy Thursday, friends!  Today I’m back with another blog post for the lovely Shattering Stigmas event. In case you missed it, Shattering Stigmas is an event that will take place from October 6th to October 20th here on Drizzle & Hurricane Books.

Three years ago, Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight launched the first Shattering Stigmas, a blogging event dedicated to posts about mental illness to address and challenge the stigmas against it. Through book reviews, discussion posts and lists, Shattering Stigmas has continued conversations around mental illness for the past three years.

This year, for the Shattering Stigmas 4.0, you will be able to find incredible guest posts on blogs from all four hosts of the event: Taylor, Ben, Madalyn, Kitty and Marie.

You can also enter our INTERNATIONAL (Book Depository) giveaway! TWO winners will be able to win the Mental Health book of their choice at the end of this event. Don’t forget to ENTER HERE!

Today, I am SO excited to welcome the amazing Simant to my blog. She shares her reading story with mental health books, as well as TONS of book recommendations to fill your TBRs. That’s what you’re here for, right? Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic and your own recs in comments!

Just another day, I was searching about mental health on the Internet and I came to know that one in six adults in the United States lives with a mental illness. That was a shocking stat for me. I don’t live in the US, but I think other countries may too have similar kind of data. Even though it is so common, it is social taboo to talk about mental illness. Most of the people are not aware of it and thus struggle to understand what mental illness actually is. Not even the ones who don’t suffer from it, but also the ones who do suffer from it, don’t understand it completely and sometimes don’t take it seriously.

Well, thanks to books, now mental illness topics are not that much hidden from the people worldwide and they have started understanding it in more detail, though we have yet to go a long way. I too was the same person till last year who hadn’t understood mental illness properly. But then a book came into my lifeTurtles All the Way Down – by one of my favorite authors, John Green. I picked up this book in the first place because of John Green but this book changed my life and the way I look at mental health. This book made me understand what actually goes inside the mind of a person experiencing with a mental health problem. What their thought process is and how difficult the life can get for them. It also told me how it affects not only the patient but also the people around that person.

Talking about your mental health matters and telling stories about them also matters. Generally, it is not easy for a person to speak up about their mental illness because they have the fear that no one will listen to them or even would understand them. Speaking about mental illness is very important. It makes it easier for the people suffering from it to speak up. You can change lives and even can save lives, for that matter.

Books that featured mental health perfectly

Along the year, I have read some amazing books featuring mental health in a right way. When it comes to books it is very important that the mental health issue has been depicted right as it can affect many. Not only it gives a wrong impression of mental illness to the readers who don’t have it but also can trigger the feelings of the people going through that thing. Not all books claiming to have a character with mental illness focus solely on that aspect or even try to justify it. The mental illness aspect is there merely for the sake of it.
But, I am glad to say that I have found a few of such gems and today I would like to share those with you:

1. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Mental illness: OCD
My review

As I said earlier, this is the perfect book to talk about mental illness. When anyone asks me about a mental health rec, this book comes first to my mind. The way John Green has presented the character of Aza dealing with OCD, it is too realistic. While I was reading it, I still remember feeling every thought of Aza. It was as if I was living those thoughts.

2. Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis
Mental illness: Anxiety, OCD
My review

This book is rather underrated but definitely the one which deserves all the love and recognition. Tiffany is dealing with anxiety and OCD at one end, while she is going through mental pressure of finding her real father and adjusting in the new family. The way her anxiety was revealed in various scenes, it made it too real. She was afraid of cars and flights and the way her anxiety kicked in those situations made me realize how bad this can affect a person in real life.

3. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Mental illness: Anxiety
My review

Starfish is an incredible book which deals with social anxiety along with many other issues. This book is also great in terms of diversity. For someone like Kiko, who has gone through physical abuse in her childhood, this book clearly shows how it can affect their mental health.

4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Mental illness: Depression
My review

Speak is such a powerful book which was so ahead of its time when it was written. It talks about a rape victim and how after the incident she went into a dark zone of depression and was unable to express her thoughts or even speak something. It was traumatizing to read about such an experience.

5. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Mental illness: Asperger’s

This book is in the adult romance category and you would hardly think of depicting a character with mental illness in such books. I was surprised to read about the mental illness in such a cute and fluffy read otherwise. I had no clear idea what Asperger’s is before I read this book and it told me in detail the problems such people face when they are in public or try to interact socially.

Books on mental illness that I have yet to read

There are a lot of other popular books which has been recommended to me many times and I am yet to read them. I have heard a lot about these and people have praised the way mental illness has been shown. I really hope I could read these soon.

1. Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
Mental illness: Schizophrenia

2. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Mental illness: Depression


3. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Mental illness: Anxiety/depression

4. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Mental illness: Bipolar


5. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Mental illness: Social anxiety

6. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Mental illness: Schizophrenia




Have you read any of these books that I mentioned above?
Do you think that the mental illness has been pictured right in these books?
Any other book that you would like to include in this list?



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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

25 thoughts on “Shattering Stigmas – Mental health and the books that featured it right

  1. I do believe that books that do not solely focus on mental illness are as valuable than the ones that do. I’d love to see somebody with anxiety disorders ghost hunting or in the eye of the storm of an apocalypse. It should be in the spotlight, but not always, sometimes it should be just merely a detail.

    Turtles All the Way Down is so realistic that I have trouble reading it because it’s like we dissected my brain! To understand how it’s like to have spiralling thoughts, it’s the book to read; it’s like reading a transcription. 🧠

    I so want to read Eliza and Her Monsters that wait on my bookshelf. Also, Starfish!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes right, every book is valuable in its own way. But I believe that if you are introducing a character with mental illness, then you should do justice with it.
      Can’t agree more about Turtles. It definitely felt like drilling right into my mind.
      I can’t wait either to read Eliza. I do hope you get to read Starfish soon. It is wonderful 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The stat about one in six people in the US living with mental health issues was shocking, and it’s made me wonder how many people in the world have some kind of mental health illness now too.
    I’ve only read two of the books you featured (Eliza and Her Monsters and All the Bright Places) but I have so many others still on my to-read list. I’ve heard amazing things about The Astonishing Colour of After and Starfish so those are two high on my TBR list for sure.
    Great post, and thanks for the recommendations as well. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, that stat was shocking for me as well. And the thing is we only know about a fraction of people. I hope we get to read more such stories and the people in need can get proper help.
      Eliza is so high on my TBR and so is Astonishing Color. Ahh, I hope you get a chance to read Starfish soon. It is amazing.
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment and I am glad you liked the recs 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I just wanted to say that I absolutely love this series. It’s so nice seeing mental health being talked about and having some of the stigmas removed.

    I actually haven’t read any of those books so I’ve got to change that! I have read Eliza and Her Monsters and A Quiet Kind of Thunder and thought they MI rep was handled quiet well! I especially related to Eliza in EAHM although that did feel a bit “love cures all” at the end, but I did spend most of it crying because I related to it so much so I definitely recommend that one!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you 🙂 This series is definitely amazing and I am so glad that I got a chance to be a part of this.
      Haha, I hope you give chance to some of these books 🙂 I am glad you were able to enjoy Eliza. I have heard amazing things about it and can’t wait to get my hands on it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Amazing Post! I’ve only read Eliza and her monsters of all the books you mentioned. I loved it. I haven’t read many books about mental health because I’m scared they will trigger me even though I don’t get triggered easily. The two mental health novels I’ve read that had amazing and realistic rep was What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard; This focuses on eating disorders and it’s done so well. I used to struggle with an ed and it was so good rep. The other is Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton. This deals with schizophrenia which I also struggle with. It was so realistic and good and I could relate to it a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I am glad you liked it.
      Seems like Eliza is quite popular 🙂 I can’t wait to read that book. I can understand the triggering part. If you are suffering from mental health issues, then it is very hard to decide which book to pick because the triggering chances are higher.
      Thanks for the recs. Both the books sound wonderful and I would definitely add them to my TBR 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am really glad that books have been exploring and raising awareness of mental illness more and more. I am so grateful for that and I hope it continues. I have read Made You Up and I think it did a really good job with the representation! I have read All the Bright Places and while enjoyed it, I have since heard mixed things about the rep from people who do struggle with depression so now I am unsure what to make of it. And I really enjoyed A Quiet Kind of Thunder too. I learned so much while reading that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Omg yes Speak was my first mental illness book I read and it made such an impact on me! I even have the graphic novel and I really want to reread it because it has been such a long time since I read it! I do think All The Bright Places is a really good book! I know for other people it may have problematic representation but for me it will always hold a special place in my heart. I DNF’ed Made You Up. I found it to have terrible representation on the disorder itself and most especially to mental health counselors. It is not a good book for mental illness. I heard Eliza and Her Monsters is dealt with much better.


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