3 World Mental Health Day Reading Recommendations

When I saw that it was World Mental Health Day on the 10th October, I immediately wanted to write a post recommending a couple of books that I have found useful or relatable in their coverage of mental health. I even wrote a little list of books on my phone, which I fully intended to turn into a post immediately. It has been a rather long immediately of 3 days, but we got here eventually so let’s get into it!

Mental health is a very important topic to me. I have struggled with depression and an eating disorder, and I know how isolating it can feel when everyone else seems to be coping with the world fine and your brain is on fire. Please, please, please reach out to someone. Anyone. You don’t have to do this alone and you do not deserve to feel bad, whatever your thoughts tell you. Friends and family are a great option for a more casual chat, and if your bouts of bad mental health are frequent then it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor. If the idea of talking to someone in person makes you want to curl up into a ball and roll into a volcano, then there are organisations you can text, call or message online depending on what you’re most comfortable doing. I’ll leave some links at the bottom of the post for you to check out if you feel you need them.

Everyone’s experience of mental health is unique so the books that speak to me might not speak to you in the same way, but I hope these might give you some reading ideas, or help spark a discussion with people you know about mental health. Also, while I will not be discussing sensitive topics in this post, some of these books will contain them so make sure to check content warnings if you are worried that they may affect you.

1. It’s Okay to Feel Blue

It’s Okay to Feel Blue is a collection of writings about mental health by over 70 people. It really does have something for everyone, and I highly recommend it if you want something that you can dip in and out of easily. For my full review, click here.

2. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive is an incredible book filled with Haig’s experiences of mental health. It is a mixture of conversations and personal anecdotes and lists, each one only a couple of pages each, so it is very easy to read. I think both people who have struggled with their mental health and those who haven’t should read this book, because it has some really great ways of describing how it feels to have depression. Also by Matt Haig is Notes on a Nervous Planet, another excellent nonfiction which also covers mental health but in a more general way, again in a fragmented format.

3. Anything by Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne is a writer or teen fiction and recently(ish) released her first adult novel. Her books frequently cover topics such as mental health, being yourself, relationships, and feminism. She is one of the authors that I will automatically read without even looking at the blurb- her writing is so emotional and honest. I will recommend them to pretty much anyone who wants to read some incredible contemporary fiction.

I decided to keep this short and sweet because I think long lists can definitely be overwhelming sometimes! Obviously there are lots of books that cover mental health, these are just a couple of my favourites.

List of UK mental health helplines here and another one here .

List of US mental health helplines here and here .

Please don’t suffer in silence, and look after yourself. Everyone has mental health, so even if you don’t have any particular problems with it you should still look after it like you would with physical health. Take a moment to breathe and check in with yourself- how are you feeling right now?

If you ever want someone to chat to, I’m happy to listen. Just message me on one of the links below or use my email on the links page. I hope you’re all having a good week ❤

February 2020 Round-Up

So here we are again. The end of a month, where I round up my favourite books of the month/ scream into the void hoping it will choose the books for me. Since it is a leap year so February has an extra day, and also because I can do whatever I like on my blog, I am going to give my favourite book from this month, followed by a few more which were awesome

THE WINNER – QUEEN OF NOTHING BY HOLLY BLACK

Let me have everything I ever wanted, everything I ever dreamed, and eternal misery along with it. Let me live on with an ice shard through my heart.

Holly Black, Queen of Nothing

What I liked about it: everything. Jude. Cardan. Faeries. Humour and beauty. Plot twists galore. AN epic conclusion to this trilogy.

What I didn’t like about it: it’s the end of the series 😥

My favourite character: Jude all the wayyyyyyyy. She’s so badass and powerful and unashamed of wanting power.

Position in series: 3/3

Genres: young adult, fantasy, romance

THE OTHERS THAT I LOVED

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

What I liked about it: murder. It is set near where I live. Andie just straight up ignoring everyone who tells her what to do. The tension. The mixture of formats including transcripts and case notes.

What I didn’t like about it: I did not know there’s meant to be a sequel released this year. Also, the sequel hasn’t been released yet, which is very upsetting.

My favourite character: Andie. She just does what she wants but in a nice way.

Position in series: 1/3?

Genres: crime, young adult, contemporary, mystery, thriller

The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne

What I liked about it: the emotions. The contrast of past and present. More emotions. The slow unravelling of the story.

What I didn’t like about it: I have mentioned three authors on this page so far and they’re all called Holly. This is beyond confusing.

My favourite character: Amelie, my poor sweetheart.

Position in series: 1/1

Genres: contemporary, young adult, romance-ish

It’s Not OK to Feel Blue and Other Lies

What I liked about it: honest, diverse, emotional, easy to read because it’s made up of lots of short pieces.

What I didn’t like about it: Sometimes I got a bit confused because occasionally a sentence would be in massive letters to emphasise it. But that’s probably just me.

Genres: nonfiction, mental health

Pride, collected by Juno Dawson

What I liked about it: A range of genres, easy to read and lots of adorable LGBTQ+ relationships

What I didn’t like about it:  It wasn’t long enough

My favourite character: Can’t remember her name but the girl with the phoenix

Position in series: N/A

Genres: LGBTQ+, short stories, anthology, poetry

And so that concludes my February roundup! February has seemed a very, very long time, and I don’t think it’s just because of the extra day. With three family birthdays, a hospital appointment, college, half term, two new piercings, a couple of cinema trips, a museum trip, a talk from Mary Beard and 17 books read, I’m definitely ready for some rest and relaxation in March. Preferably with more reading time. I hope you’ve all had a good February, and I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public Review

The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne

I have loved every single one of Holly Bourne’s books I have read, so on picking this one up I knew it would leave me an emotional wreck.

The story follows Amelie, a musically talented year 12 who moves from the north to south of England with her mum and her dad because her dad has a new job. The story is told from two time periods- present, after Amelie has broken up with Reese and the past, starting on Amelie’s first day at her new college. Amelie has left behind her friends and everything she knows and quickly makes new friends including a musical ‘bad boy’ Reese. In the past we see Amelie’s relationship change, while in the present we have Amelie’s reflections on everything that has happened to her as she goes to all the places she has cried because of Reese.

Amelie is a first-person narrator, seemingly a normal, relatable girl starting a new college, something many teenagers go through. She wears granny cardigans and vintage dresses and gets terrible stage fright and misses her friends back home terribly. The authentic, lovable persona of Amelie enhances the changes that happen throughout the story, how Amelie goes from a happy, hopeful girl with plans from the future to skipping lessons, sitting alone in the cafeteria and barely leaving her house.

The contrast between past and present is poignant, as Amelie slowly realise the mistakes she made and the red flags she missed while contemplating if there was anything she could have done to change the outcome. Watching Amelie come to terms with what is, quite obviously to the reader, an emotionally abusive relationship is heart-breaking, desperately begging Amelie to get rid of him while Reese manipulates Amelie repeatedly. Simultaneously, the reader can see why Amelie continues to go back to Reese however horrible he is to her, the subtle digs and preying on her vulnerability that allowed him to isolate her.

This book beautifully illustrates what a healthy relationship looks like, and what definitely isn’t a healthy relationship, as well as showing the nuances that mean it can be hard to get out of one. It is full of painfully real quotes about being in an abusive relationship, and I would definitely suggest checking some out (you can find them on the goodreads page). I didn’t connect with Amelie as much as I did with characters in some of Holly’s other books, but then again I have never been in any kind of relationship so that’s pretty understandable. This book does contain some sensitive topics, based around an abusive relationship, so just be careful if you are not okay with reading about that kind of thing.

If you haven’t read any of Holly’s other books I highly recommend them, they perfectly create what it is to be a teenager and various other issues.