9 authors you can trust to be real about mental health

YA has seen a serious push in realistic reps of mental health lately and it’s about damn time! We’re not here for any of this romanticising BS – it’s all about real life.


Luckily, there’s a whole host of amazing authors that we can trust to bring us the mental health realness every. single. time.

bornscaredKevin Brooks 

He’s a total YA legend. He completely ruined us back in 2013 with ‘The Bunker Diary’ and now he’s back with a bang. ‘Born Scared’ is based quite heavily on Kevin’s own experiences with anxiety so reading about Elliot’s terrifying mission to find his mum made our heart ache.


under-rose-tainted-skiesLouise Gornall

Louise is another author who based the experiences of her characters on herself. We love how vocal Louise is about supporting mental health and the ways in which you can help those suffering. Her book ‘Under Rose Tainted Skies’ is just as wonderful – we love it a bucketload.

Norah’s struggles with OCD and agoraphobia tugged on our heartstrings.

FangirlRainbow Rowell

Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow. How we love thee. Not only is ‘Fangirl’ a bundle of fun, sweetness and heart-warming joy, it’s also a really understated exploration of anxiety.

Cath is struggling with being at university – it’s just too out of her comfort zone. She’d much prefer to stay in writing Simon Snow fanfic than exploring her new life.

and-a-happy-new-yearHolly Bourne

Spinster Club Queen. Fierce Feminist. Mental Health Mentor. Holly’s books basically contain everything you could ever need to know as a teenage girl (and a more adult girl, too) – she’s a master. We get to explore all sorts as we journey through the series with Evie, Amber and Lottie and we’re both sad and excited for their last hurrah in ‘…And a Happy New Year’.

Make sure you don’t miss Holly on tour this month!

finding-audrey-pbSophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella worked our way into our hearts way back when we were sneaking the Shopaholic series off our mum’s bookshelf, but last year she launched herself into YA with ‘Finding Audrey’.

Audrey can’t leave the house, she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside until her brother’s BFF starts to lure her out of the house.

whenwecollidedEmery Lord

‘When We Collided’ is a gorgeous, gorgeous book about Jonah and Vivi. Jonah is struggling to keep his family together after the death of his dad and Vivi comes bursting into his life and showers him with colour. But Vivi has bipolar disorder and their worlds are going to implode.

It’s a beautifully written love story that really packs a punch. Did you see the reveal of Emery’s new cover? It’s a BEAUT.

Emery’s also on Snapchat! Don’t miss a thing from your fave.

the-boyfriend-listE Lockhart

Ruby Oliver appeared back on our shelves this summer when ‘The Boyfriend List’ series was re-published and finally finished in the UK. It was glorious.

After being dumped by her boyfriend, losing her friends, getting a reputation and having a panic attack in the space of a week, Ruby now sees a therapist. This series is brilliant fun.

highlyillogicalbehaviourJohn Corey Whaley

John Corey Whaley’s latest is all about Soloman who has agoraphobia.

Lisa is desperate to be accepted on a university psychology program and is convinced that ‘curing’ Solomon is her way in.

This is a wonderful story about friendship and growing up from an author with first hand experience of mental illness.

the-perks-of-being-a-wallflowerStephen Chbosky

‘The Perks of Being a Wallpaper’ is pretty much a YA classic.

Charlie hasn’t had it easy. He’s struggling with mental illness, a dark secret, death and anxiety. His adventures as he starts high school and meets a new group of friends is told in letters written to an anonymous recipient and it’s WONDERFUL. Never fails to make us cry.

Which authors do you love that handle tough topics with serious skill? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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