Reading list: Young Adult Fiction about Depression

I previously published a Reading List for Young Adult Fiction About Psychosis. Today I am going to tackle depression.

I encountered a challenge in preparing this list, and that is that they are depressing! I attempted to pick books that were not so depressing that they would trigger the reader, but it was not an easy task. I have not read a lot of these books so I had to gauge how depressing each was by the cover and description, and to try to pick those with redeeming qualities.

As before, I have started with my own books that feature main characters who have depression or whose caregivers have depression. There are duplicates from the psychosis list, since characters may have both psychosis and depression/bipolar, or there may be separate characters with psychosis and depression/bipolar.

I’m interested in hearing your comments! What books would you add to the list? What do you like? What did you not like?

Some of my books that include main characters with depression (or bipolar) are:

She Wore Mourning

Ruby, Between the Cracks

Don’t Forget Steven

Intersexion

Making Her Mark

Pursued by the Past

Looking Over Your Shoulder

That isn’t all of them, but I didn’t want to make the list too long, and where it is a series I have only displayed the first book in the series.

The other books that I have picked out are:

this song

This Song Will Save Your Life

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, Leila Sales’ THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

holdstill]

Hold Still

In the wake of her best friend Ingrid’s suicide, Caitlin is left alone, struggling to find hope and answers. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind for her, she begins a journey of understanding and broadening her horizons that leads her to new friendships and first love. Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin’s first year without Ingrid to life with emotion, honesty, and captivating writing.
funnystory

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away.
thirteen

Thirteen Reasons Why

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

sparrows

The Language of Sparrows

Brilliant and fluent in too many languages to count, 15-year-old Sierra Wright can’t seem to communicate what is important to her in any language. Though April Wright stubbornly keeps an upbeat attitude about her daughter’s future, she has let her own dreams slip away. Just across the bridge lives old Luca, scarred from his time in a Romanian gulag years before. Though he has seemingly given up on people, Sierra is drawn to him despite his prickly edges.

No one else is comfortable with the unpredictable old man spending time alone with Sierra, not even Luca’s son. Yet it is this unconventional relationship that will bring two families together to form friendships and unearth their family stories, stories that just might give them all the courage to soar on wings toward a new future.

That Night

Drug overdoses don’t happen to girls with good grades and athletic prowess, with longtime friends and a devoted boyfriend. Or do they?

When high school seniors Cassidy and Sarah, along with Kayla’s boyfriend Paul, discover their best friend Kayla unconscious at a party, the idea that they have lost her to a heroin overdose is unbelievable. She didn’t use drugs, except the pain medicine prescribed for a soccer injury, and she had no reason to accept any from a stranger. The month that follows her death is filled with anxiety, sadness, frustration, and questions. Answers won’t bring Kayla back, however, so as Cass and Sarah struggle with the insensitive but predictable behavior of parents, classmates, and teachers, Paul falls into a depression that leads him down a dangerous path. With Kayla’s younger sister Mia in mind, the three of them work towards forging ahead without the girl who has held them together since elementary school.

Comments

  1. I’d love to see my YA drama, That Night on this list! I love the Between the Cracks series and am always sure our library has copies to share with our teen readers and adults who work with them. Thank you!

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