April 12, 2012

Mental Health Book List: Part II


In support of Partners for Mental Health's Not Myself Today campaign across Canada, I've compiled several lists of literature with characters, both main and secondary, dealing with issues typically identified as related to mental health i.e., those that impair judgement, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities.  Because of the plethora of books in the young adult category, and because I'd like to make additions to earlier lists, a third list will follow shortly.  For now, this second list focuses on young adult literature:

Young Adult
40 Things I Want to Tell You
by Alice Kuipers
HarperTrophy Canada
283 pp.
Ages 13+
Bird may give advice online as "Miss Take-Control-of-Your-Life" but her life unravels when she fails to discuss issues in her own life, especially a relationship with a new boy, and her mother's mental health and her father's response to her mother's leaving. 

by Francis Chalifour
Tundra Books
133 pp.
Ages 13-17
After years of battling depression, Francis' father takes his own life.  In the aftermath of his dad's suicide, fifteen-year-old Francis finds himself dealing with his own "Grief Monster" and searching for his own way to heal.

The Blue Helmet
by William Bell
Doubleday Canada
167 pp.
Ages 14-17
Living with his Aunt Reena in Toronto and helping her out at her café, troubled teen Lee meets a wide array of characters, but his friendship with former soldier, Bruce Cutter, a man troubled by paranoia and darkness.

by Liane Shaw
Second Story Press
256 pp.
Fifteen-year-old foster child, Sadie Thompson, has been in care for 12 years when she moves to her thirteenth school and a new group home.  The children at the group home - Alisha, Buffy and the K's - all have their own issues which they share or don't.  Although she claims she doesn't care what brought them into care, Sadie soon realizes that, like her, they all have stories, whether she chooses to acknowledge them or not.

The Game
by Teresa Toten
Red Deer Press
208 pp.
Ages 14-17
After a dangerous episode of drinking and drugs, Dani wakes up in Riverwood Clinic, a psychiatric facility for teens with problems. But, even after she is treated for her substance abuse, Dani must deal with emotional issues that are far harder to identify, much less start to heal.

Gravity Journal
by Gail Sidonie Sobat
Great Plains Teen Fiction
162 pp.
Ages 12+
Anise is an anorexic who also self-mutilates.  When she is admitted to the hospital, Anise is forced to examine herself and her motivations which finally apparent through her interactions with other patients, as well as her drug-addicted brother and her dispassionate mother.

Heck, Superhero
by Martine Leavitt
Red Deer Press
144 pp.
Ages 9-13
In order to help him deal with his mother's mental illness, thirteen-year-old Hector imagines himself as a superhero and pretends things are manageable.  But, when they end up on the street and his mother goes missing, Heck only begins to recognize their need for help when he meets a boy dealing with his own mental health issues.

The Hunger
by Marsha Skrypuch
Boardwalk Books
184 pp.
Ages 12+
While 15-year-old Paula struggles with an eating disorder and enters Homewood, a psychiatric facility, she "becomes" Marta, a starving teen during the Armenian genocide of 1915.  

Last December 
by Matt Beam
Puffin Canada
156 pp.
Ages 12-15
With a move to a new school, trying out for a hockey team, dealing with girls and new friends, Steven's attitude and behaviour indicate a boy in chaos.  He tries to make sense of his confusion and emotions by keeping a journal of letters for his unborn sister, Sam.  He always wants her to know why he may not be around to tell her in person.

Me, Myself and Ike
by K.L. Denman
Orca Book Publishers
192 pp.
Ages 13-16
After watching a documentary about the "Ice Man", a 5000-year-old body found encased in ice, seventeen-year-old Kit is egged on by his friend, Ike, to recreate "Ice Man" himself, by sacrificing himself to the cold of the B.C. mountains.  As he prepares for his ascent, Kit's thinking and life seem to become even more chaotic and troubled, manifested in rantings, paranoid delusions and hallucinations. 

Ms. Zephyr's Notebook
by K. C. Dyer
Dundurn Press
204 pp.
Ages 11-15
Ms. Zephyr is a teacher in a hospital children's ward.  Her charges are required to contribute daily to her notebook; failure to do so results in loss of privileges.  Ms. Zephyr's three students include Kip, a boy with his only kidney failing; Logan, a boy with Crohn's disease and consequent shame; and Cleo, who has an eating disorder that threatens her life.

The Opposite of Tidy
by Carrie Mac
344 pp.
Ages 12+
Junie's home is the opposite of tidy, a reflection of her mother's compulsive buying and hoarding.  To avoid embarrassing herself, Junie pretends to live elsewhere when she is taken home by Wade.  But, soon enough, Junie's lies and shame can no longer be hidden and she realizes her mother needs help.

The Perfect Cut
by Julie Burtinshaw
Raincoast Books
308 pp.
Ages 15-17
The grief Bryan feels after the death of his older sister, Michelle, is so overwhelming that it leaves him emotionally crippled.  Unfortunately, he can only find relief in drink, drugs and cutting himself. 

Pieces of Me
by Charlotte Gingras
Translated by Susan Ouriou
Kids Can Press
144 pp.
Ages 14-17
Fifteen-year-old Mira's life is less than cohesive:  her mother is overwhelmed by anxiety and delusional and paranoid behaviour, and her father is absent.  When her father is accidentally killed, Mira needs help to manage her grief and all the pieces of her life.

by Cheryl Rainfield
WestSide Books
248 pp.
Ages 14+
Living with the horrific memories of sexual abuse, Kendra finds relief in cutting herself.  But, when she is "gifted" with a palette knife, Kendra fears her unknown abuser is watching her, and she must find a way to cope, even survive.

by Eric Walters
Viking Canada
192 pp.
Ages 12-16
Ian, a wealthy boy from the suburbs, is required to work at a soup kitchen in the city in order to fulfil his community volunteer hours.  After an attempted mugging and some time at the soup kitchen, Ian makes the acquaintance of Sarge, a homeless ex-soldier, whose traumatic experiences in Rwanda continue to plague his life, making Ian aware of the numerous atrocities perpetrated against others.

by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Groundwood Books
141 pp.
Ages 14 +
This powerful graphic novel documents Skim's teenage journey to identify herself, within the confines of her private girls' school.  Through the tug-of-war between independence and popularity, friendships, a suicide, a unorthodox relationship with a teacher and depression, Skim gains greater understanding about her own needs and wishes.

by Liane Shaw
Second Story Press
267 pp.
Ages 12+
Through her diary and email chats with those she meets on a pro-anorexia website, Maddie shares the struggle she has with her eating disorder. 

by Lesley Fairfield
Tundra Books
122 pp.
Ages 12+
In this graphic novel, Anna struggles with anorexia but her fight manifests itself in a struggle with Tyranny, the version of herself that chooses not to eat. 

by R. J. Anderson
Carolrhoda Lab
303 pp.
Ages 14+
Alison awakes in a psychiatric department after an incident in which she harms herself and assaults a police officer.  After her transfer to a youth facility, Alison learns that many believe she had something to do with the disappearance of a fellow student on the same day.

Unraveling Isobel
by Eileen Cook
Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
290 pp.
Ages 14-18
Seventeen-year-old Isobel must move away from her friends and start a new life when her mom remarries but things go from bad to worse when she has recurring visions of a young girl and cannot explain sketches she doesn't recall drawing.  With her mom and new husband encouraging her to see a therapist, Isobel begins to wonder if she is losing her grasp of reality.

The Worst Thing She Ever Did
by Alice Kuipers
HarperTrophy Canada
210 pp.
Ages 14-17
While the title suggests a mystery to which the reader is not privy,  sixteen-year-old Sophie knows what she did and what it has cost.  After her sister's death, Sophie is instructed by a therapist to share herself, particularly her grief, in a journal.

by Diane Tullson
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
185 pp.
Ages 12+
Kas is attending a school for the arts, hoping to hone her painting skills. When she begins to suffer from anorexia and bulimia, she tells no one, suffering greater consequences than she could have imagined.

1 comment:

  1. I finished "The Opposite of Tidy" last night and enjoyed it.