Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. The goal: talk about diverse books! The meme features 3 diverse books—1 diverse book you read and enjoyed, 1 diverse book that you haven’t read yet, and 1 diverse book that hasn’t been released yet. This is my first time participating in this meme and I intend to participate 1-2 times per month, hopefully with a theme for each post.
This week I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart: representations of mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety, in YA literature.
Anyone who’s been following my blog for a while knows that I have clinical depression that has waxed and waned over almost a decade. Finding accurate representation of depression in YA literature that doesn’t glorify or romanticize suicide OR cure the character with “true love” is surprisingly difficult. The results of inaccurate representation can be small or devastating, from making a depressed young person feel even more isolated, to increasing the stigma and misunderstandings about mental illness in society at large.
Without further ado, here are my 3 picks for books about depression/anxiety:
A Diverse Book I Read & Enjoyed
Paperweight by Meg Haston
Stevie, the main character, has serious depression as well as an eating disorder. While the book follows her recovery in an eating disorder treatment center, the depiction of what it’s like to live with intense self-hatred really resonated with me. Stevie intends to commit suicide at the beginning of the story, but at no point are those thoughts glorified. Instead, the reader experiences the pain of existing inside Stevie’s head, and the story is beautiful written.
(read my full review here)
A Diverse Book on My TBR List
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
This #OwnVoices story about a girl with agoraphobia, OCD, and depression has been highly recommended by some of my favorite bloggers. While it does center on the character’s romance, I definitely trust a writer who’s been through these particular mental illnesses to tell the story right. Having depression or an anxiety disorder doesn’t mean you’re incapable of feeling love for another person, but it can certainly make things complicated, and occasionally unhealthy. I’m looking forward to reading this book in the next couple of weeks.
A Diverse Book that Isn’t Yet Released
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli — Releases April 11, 2017
There’s been a lot of buzz about this book from those who were lucky enough to score ARCs. I don’t know how much of this is going to focus on the main character’s anxiety, but the book is chock full of diversity across the board: fat, anxious (medicated) lead, lesbian moms and twin sister, etc. I can’t wait.
For more books about mental illness in various genres, check out my shelf on Goodreads. Notice anything missing? Let me know in the comments!