90+ Of Your Favorite Books About Mental Illness

This Riot Recommendation is sponsored by A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom.

For Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to conceal her diagnosis by keeping everyone at arm’s length. But when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears that no one will accept her if they discover what she’s been hiding. But would her friends really abandon her if they learned the truth? More importantly, can Mel risk everything to find out?


In YA fiction, characters affected by mental illness simultaneously grapple with the myriad changes that make growing up so aggressively unforgettable. And, regardless of age range or genre, reading about struggles with mental illness can be cathartic, it can be discomfiting, and it can help people relate to those affected.

We asked you to share your favorite books about mental illness, and you responded. Here are more than 90 of your favorites!

The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

The Silver Lining Playbook by Matthew Quick

Ordinary People by Judith Guest

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface by Martha Manning

Darkness Visible by William Styron

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg

Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

The Quiet Room by Amanda Bennett and Lori Schiller

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam

Crazy by Pete Earley

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

January First by Michael Schofield

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me by Hal Straus and Jerold Jay Kreisman

Women and Madness by Phyllis Chesler

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

The Buddha and the Borderline by Kiera Van Gelder

The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

Finding Alice by Melody Carlson

Why Am I still Depressed? by Dr. James Phelps

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Small As An Elephant by Jennifer Jacobson

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach

Spiritual Gift of Madness by Seth Farber

Muses, Madmen, & Prophets by Daniel B. Smith

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

The Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler

Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self by Lori Gottlieb

A World Without You by Beth Revis

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

Father Melancholy’s Daughter by Gail Godwin

Touched With Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison

Twenty-Four Shadows by Tanya Joy Peterson

My Life In a Nutshell by Tanya Joy Peterson

Lisa, Bright and Dark by John Neufield

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

Hold Still by Nina Lacour

Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Darkness Visible by William Styron

Hyperbole & a Half by Allie Brosh

Swing Low: A Life by Miriam Toews

The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney by Henry Handel Richardson

The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

A Quiet Strong Voice by Lee Horbachewski

Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon

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