Category: Health & Personal Development

Top 5 YA Novels That Deal with Mental Health

Our minds can be the scariest place, sharing our feelings can feel like a burden, and getting out of bed can be harder than hitting the snooze button for an extra five minutes. Mental health is real, and it’s something everyone is talking and writing about now. These five amazing books are some of the best books out there that tackle this topic.

 

 

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 

image via amazon

 

This book follows Charlie, a boy who is coping with the recent suicide of his best friend and starting high school. He is also still coping with the death of his beloved Aunt Helen, who died when he was seven. Charlie loved her so much he blocked out the abuse she inflicted upon him and focused on the guilt he feels towards her death. He suffers from PTSD, but during his first year of high school he befriends two step siblings who show him the ropes of high school, love, music, and friendship. Throughout the year Charlie does his best to repress his inner sadness, but it eventually comes to light when his friends leave for college and he is alone again. What I love most about this book is how important friendship is and how good friends can help you even in your darkest times.

 

4. Eliza and her Monsters

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by [Zappia, Francesca]

image via amazon

Online Eliza is the creator of the popular web comic Monstrous Sea, but in real life she is shy and awkward. That is until she befriends the new boy at school, Wallace, who forces her to live a life outside of her online comic, and that is when Eliza realizes her depression and anxiety. Wallace points out that her web comic deals with depression and Eliza being clueless to that fact starts to take a deeper look at herself, the world she created, and Wallace, who struggles with depression as well. What is unique about this story is Eliza not being aware of her depression until it is pointed out to her, and I thought that was interesting because usually people realize if they’re struggling with being sad all the time, but Eliza was so focused on her comic she didn’t realize it until she stepped back from her online world.

 

 

3. TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWn

 

image via amazon

Aza, a sixteen-year-old girl and her best friend Daisy try to solve the mystery of her missing neighbor, billionaire CEO, Russell Pickett. There just so happens to be a huge reward of one hundred thousand dollars involved, and fearless Daisy is ready for the case and recruits Aza to join. Together, they befriend Davis, Russell’s son, and individually, Aza deals with her OCD and anxiety, which makes it hard for her to get out of her head most of the time, but she is trying her best to be a good daughter, friend, and maybe even detective. The main take away from this story is how Aza may have OCD and anxiety, but regardless she still struggles with the universal issue we all struggle with and that is accepting who we are.

2. MADE YOU UP

image via amazon

Alex can’t decide what is real and what isn’t real, and she struggles with this every day. After an incident at her previous school she starts fresh at a new school and she begins to make friends, go to parties and she even falls in love. However, she still can’t separate her delusions from reality, and it could cause another incident to occur and hurt the people closest to her. This is another story where the power of friendship is great, and how much Alex leans on her friends and her family for support. It is important to have those bonds and connections so people don’t have to feel alone, but even in a room full of people someone can feel alone and Alex does, because she isn’t always clear as to what is clear and what isn’t.

 

1. Thirteen Reasons why

 

image via amazon

Hannah Baker is live and in stereo, she has recorded the thirteen reasons why she has committed suicide. Each reason is linked to a person and each person she holds responsible for her death and she wants them to know it. Each person has to listen to all the tapes and then pass them along to the next person on the list, and although most people don’t agree with this aspect of the book, the most important take away from this novel is how powerful people are and how people don’t realize the part they play in other people’s lives. How a small interaction can make such a difference, how one rude remark can ruin a person’s day, and just how important it is to always be a kind.

 

 

Featured Image via Changeyourmindni.org

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 9/6/19

Summer’s over and fall is upon us. School is back in session—which means that the season of required school reading has returned. Chances are, your new curriculum is not filled with the kinds of page-turners that would make Yoda pleased.

 

Image result for page turners they were not gifGif via The Cantina

 

So, you can always opt to Sparknotes your required readings and pick something more enjoyable instead.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

Our Hot Pick

A Match Made in Mehendi

 

 

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole –– matchmakers — with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

 

Why?

Your teenage years are filled with SATs, gratuitous class projects, and extra-curricular activities to beef up your college applications, in addition to actual college applications. High school can be hard. It can be even harder when your plans to climb up the social hierarchy of your school backfire. Author Nandini Bajpai’s upcoming release presents a relatably quirky and admirably entrepreneurial protagonist who just wants to use her talents to be all that she can be. Kirkus Reviews describes A Match Made in Mehendi as, “A sweet and quirky romance told by a protagonist who will steal readers’ hearts.”

 

Our Coffee Shop Read

Gun Island

 

 

Synopsis:

Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one that turns Deen Datta’s world upside down.

A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. There is Piya, a fellow Bengali-American who sets his journey in motion; Tipu, an entrepreneurial young man who opens Deen’s eyes to the realities of growing up in today’s world; Rafi, with his desperate attempt to help someone in need; and Cinta, an old friend who provides the missing link in the story they are all a part of. It is a journey that will upend everything he thought he knew about himself, about the Bengali legends of his childhood, and about the world around him.

Amitav Ghosh‘s Gun Island is a beautifully realized novel that effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.

 

Why?

History can be interesting (depending on who’s telling it). It can also be riveting when told through folk tales that invite investigation and interpretation into the deeper roots of where those stories come from, and what they foreshadow lies ahead. Award-winning author Amitav Ghosh provides a protagonist who has spent his life immersed in other people’s stories but finally gets the chance to live his own. His journey leads him to the prospect of a brighter future, while also revisiting his connection to the stories and cultural legends that shaped his early life. If you’re looking to embark on an adventure from the comfort of your local coffee shop now that it’s getting too cold for the beach, then look no further.

 

Our Dark Horse

Twist and Shout: An Awkward Life with Tourette’s

 

 

Synopsis:

One day I woke up with Tourette’s Syndrome, which isn’t something I even thought possible at the time. The book you hold in your hands was originally a way to cope with that. I wrote it to help myself, but hopefully, it helps you or whoever you are buying this for. It will become obvious as you read this book that I don’t have everything figured out. But I did learn quite a lot since my diagnosis. Things like empathy (which I lacked for quite some time). Things such as how cruel people can be but also how loving and accepting too. Things like how to be a friend to someone. How to look outside and appreciate the fact that you exist. How to realize that there are people out there that currently do and will love you unconditionally. Within this book are the ramblings of a depressed English Major who (with the help of many people) realized that life may not be easy, but it sure is worth it.

 

Why?

Just one moment can change your life forever, and actually making peace with those changes might feel like it takes forever. What you pick up along the way are the people who embrace what they truly love and admire about you despite the difficult stuff, which author Tyler Oberheu opens up about with real strength. Oberheu brings a necessary attention and awareness to Tourette’s Syndrome with Twist and Shout while throwing in some laughs (mild and wild) for your consideration.

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.

 

Justice Sotomayor’s Book Challenges How We Approach Our Differences

 

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wants children to know that it’s okay to be different, and is using her new children’s book to convey that message.

 

The first Latina justice on the highest court in the country has written a new children’s book titled Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, with illustrations by Rafael Lopez.

It tells the story of a group of children who are working on planting a garden. Each of the children has something different about them, but are afraid of talking about it. The book then encourages the kids to break down barriers and ask their friends about what they need in hopes of becoming better friends.

 

Image Via Amazon

 

Sotomayor drew inspiration for the book from an incident after she was diagnosed with diabetes at age 7. When she was giving herself an insulin shot, someone accused her of being a drug addict. Holding back frustration, Sotomayor told the person the truth and encouraged them to ask if you don’t understand something, before making a horrible assumption.

 

The book features a young Sotomayor talking about her diabetes diagnosis, along with other characters that have blindness, ADHD and several other illnesses. Sotomayor hopes to use these characters to show that being different isn’t a bad thing.

 

Differences provide not just beauty in life, but they’re important to the quality of the world we live in. It’s richer because of our differences. We’re not lesser because of it. We’re stronger because of it. My book celebrates the many ways in which kids and adults are different and do things differently.

-Sonia Sotomayor

 

Image Via The Nation

 

 

Just Ask is available now.

 

 

Featured Image Via NPR

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 8/16/19

The inevitable has arrived. Summer is almost over. Before you know it, it will be too cold to go to the beach and too cold to hit up those water parks. I have bummed myself out, and I apologize if I’ve bummed you out too. So, make yourself feel better and embrace your denial of the season’s end with these reads!

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

OUR HOT PICK

Stop Self-Sabotage: Six Steps to Unlock Your True Motivation, Harness Your Willpower, and Get Out of Your Own Way

 

 

Synopsis:

Have you ever had a deadline for a big work project, only to find yourself down to the wire because you spent too much time on social media? Or gotten excited about meeting someone new, only to convince yourself he isn’t really interested? How many Januarys have you resolved that this is the year you’re finally going to lose the weight, only to abandon your diet in just a few weeks? If these scenarios sound familiar, you are stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage.

At one point or another, we’ve all done something that undermines our best interests and intentions. Even the most successful people get in their own way—often without realizing it. In Stop Self-Sabotage, licensed clinical psychologist, tenured professor, and television personality Dr. Judy Ho takes a fresh look at self-sabotage to help us answer two vital questions: Why do we do it? How do we stop?

Combining therapeutically proven strategies with practical tools and self-assessments, Dr. Judy teaches you how to identify your triggers, modify your thoughts and behaviors, find your true motivation, and unlock your willpower to stop this vicious cycle in its tracks. Practical and transformative, Stop Self-Sabotage is your ultimate guide to jumpstart lasting, positive change and start living the life you want.

 

Why?

No one enjoys admitting their faults, but in the end, doing so will only help us improve. Award-winning clinical psychologist and TV personality Dr. Judy Ho won’t judge, and is here to help! If you’ve been stuck in an unproductive head space (that you might not even know you’re stuck in), or a fixed mindset that keeps you from approaching for your goals just a little bit differently, then Dr. Judy will help you navigate these obstacles in your life. Whether they’re external or personal, through this book she will help you to return you to a more positive path, and you too will find the strength to better your life—doctor’s orders.

 

 

OUR Beach Read

When We Left Cuba

 

 

Synopsis:

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life—and heart—to take back her country in this exhilarating New York Times bestselling historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana,a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly.

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez—her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future—but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything—not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…

 

Why?

Reese Witherspoon reviews When We Left Cuba as “a beautiful novel that’s full of forbidden passions, family secrets, and a lot of courage and sacrifice.” Some stories and characters transcend the decade that they’re set in. A USA Today bestselling author, Chanel Cleeton delivers heroine Beatriz Perez’s quest to take back the life that was ripped away from her unjustly. If you’re looking to be taken on a thrilling maritime adventure filled with high stakes, historic revolution, and dangerous love, while also enjoying your sandy escape, pick this one up for your next beach trip.

 

 

OUR DARK HORSE

Tiny

 

 

Synopsis:

Nate and Annie Forester are faced with every parent’s worst nightmare when their three-year-old daughter, Penelope, is hit by a car right before their eyes. In the aftermath of her death, the distance between them grows. Nate just wants to move on and return to some version of normal, while Annie finds herself stuck in the quicksand of her grief.

Josh, 22 years old – third party to the nightmare – was behind the wheel on the fateful day Penny ran into the middle of the street. Unable to stop thinking about Nate and Annie, Josh has started to stalk them, thinking up ways to approach them and apologize. One morning, he is sitting in his car, in front of their house, when he sees Annie leave, suitcase in tow. Hours later, he witnesses Nate in a frenzy of worry. His wife has disappeared and he is left only with a vague note.

Tiny follows the harrowing journeys of Nate, Annie, and Josh―three people unwillingly tied together by tragedy. There is Nate, staying strong on the surface, but slowly losing his mind as he faces the suspicions of Annie’s family and the police in the wake of Annie’s disappearance. There is Annie, attempting to start a secret brand new life in a 100-square-foot house in the middle of nowhere. And there is Josh, who desperately wants forgiveness and, ultimately, finds himself responsible for reuniting the people whose lives he changed forever.

 

Why?

Author Kim Hooper’s newest release about the aftermath of tragedy is both frightening and powerful. It can be even harder when senseless and truly accidental, with no one to truly blame. Things shouldn’t get any more complicated once tragedy has already stricken, but Hooper’s portrayal of life overtaken by grief shows us otherwise. However, her depiction of redemption and reconciliation in the face of impossible circumstances will inspire and move hearts as well.

 

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 8/2/19

It just so happens that this week’s edition of Three to Read coincides with J.K. Rowling’s and Harry Potter’s birthdays. There isn’t a magic quite like reading a good book. We have plenty of recommendations that will take you to fantastic places, and push you towards your goals as though you actually are being guided by a mystical force.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

OUR HOT PICK

Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts

 

 

Synopsis:

Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts is an exhilarating, interactive guide to the iconic school of witchcraft and wizardry. This book features spectacular pop-up re-creations of key locations inside and outside Hogwarts castle, and it opens flat to form a pop-up map of the castle and its grounds—including the Quidditch pitch, the Forbidden Forest, and beyond. In addition to large pops on each spread, numerous mini-pops will bring to life beloved elements from the Harry Potter films, such as the Marauder’s Map and the Flying Ford Anglia. Each pop will include insightful text about Hogwarts as seen in the films, making for a must-have collectible for fans of the wizarding world.

NOTE: Before unfolding the Hogwarts map, unhook the two manila tabs on each spread by gently pushing them out from underneath. There are eight tabs in total to release.

 

Why?

Once again, it’s Harry Potter’s birthday this week, so you can join in on the celebration and take a nostalgia trip down Hogwarts’ hallowed halls. A tour of the actual Hogwarts might be out of the question, but this is the next best thing. The talented Matthew Reinhart’s pop-up sculptures add another dimension to the page, literally. His book also provides more insight into the school grounds than the Marauder’s Map. Even Google maps can’t do all that.

 

 

OUR Beach Read

Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life

 

 

Synopsis:

What if success doesn’t equal happiness?

Many of us spend our lives pursuing a singular idea of success, one that was created for us by someone else. We give votes to those who shouldn’t even have voices and strive to go faster and faster even as we find ourselves falling further and further behind. We chase gold stars, we check all the boxes, we Lean In – and we still feel incomplete. 

This is not a story about failure, but it might as well be. When we don’t define success in our own terms, finding our purpose and carving our own path becomes impossible. How do you break the cycle so that you can be better at work and life? 

In this book, Laura Gassner Otting teaches you how to ignore the rules that created your limits, align your energies and your actions, and do work that really matters so that you can live your best life. Often described as “a kick in the ass surrounded by a warm hug,” Laura brings both tough love and wisdom and offers a no-holds-barred look at what it really takes to get out of your own way and earn your success today. 

If you ever dreamed about discovering and crushing that  personal goal that is so big and so scary that you’ve only dared whisper it to yourself, this book is the permission you didn’t even know you needed to live into it as only you can.

 

Why?

A life well lived is a feat of magic in and of itself. Laura Gossner Otting is here to help. Whether you’re keeping up with the Joneses, chasing the approval of others, or trying to achieve what seems to be the unachievable, it’s important to know your worth as an individual. Success is not defined by the same standards for everyone, and nor should it be. Otting has collected invaluable knowledge and experience from interviewing figures who are at the top of their fields and shares it in her guide to strategizing a fulfilling life. Her book is a welcome piece of advice for narrowing down your priorities for achieving satisfaction and developing your own criteria for happiness. You can take a step towards further getting your life together with this read on the beach.

 

 

OUR DARK HORSE

The Magicians Original Graphic Novel: Alice’s Story

 

 

Synopsis:

THE MAGICIANS: ALICE’S STORY is an all new chapter set in the world of The Magicians trilogy of novels by New York Times bestselling author Lev Grossman that retells the events of the first novel through fan-favorite character Alice Quinn.

Alice Quinn is manifestly brilliant, and she’s always known that magic is real. During her years at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, she rises to the top of her class, falls in love with Quentin Coldwater, and witnesses a horrifically magical creature invade their dimension.

It’s not soon after graduation when Alice, Quentin, and their friends set their sights on the idyllic setting of Fillory—a place thought to only live in the pages of their favorite children’s books—where magic flows like rivers . . . But in this magical realm nothing is what it seems and something darker lies behind the spellbinding facade. It is in the darkness where Alice will discover her true calling and her life, and those friends, forever changed.

Acclaimed novelist Lev Grossman joins New York Times bestselling writer Lilah Sturges (Jack of Fables), and breakout artist Pius Bak for a new chapter in the smash hit trilogy The Magicians.

 

Why?

We continue our celebration of magic with Lev Grossman’s and Lilah Sturges’ The Magicians: Alice’s Story. The popular book series and TV show gets a graphic novel continuation that is sure to excite fans who want to learn even more about Alice Quinn. Her side of the story in the first novel, and the expansion of the series’ lore and mythology, are brought to life beautifully by Sturges and artist Pius Bak. If you can’t get enough of The Magicians saga, then this book is just the thing to fill the void while you wait for season five to arrive.

 

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage