8 Conversation-Starting Books for Teens

Talking about mental health issues and coming-of-age struggles with your teen doesn’t have to be awkward. When you feel out of the loop or aren’t quite sure what to say, sharing one of these books may be a first step to reconnecting.


1 of 8

Life Inside My Mind

Life Inside My Mind

Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Edited by Jessica Burkhart

Thirty-one YA authors share their experiences with everything from depression to body dysmorphia to mourning a loved one. They tackle stigmas and discuss what it’s like to see a therapist. Kids who aren’t struggling will gain insight into what friends

simonandschuster.com


2 of 8

My Anxiety Handbook

My Anxiety Handbook

Photo courtesy of JKP

Photo courtesy of JKP

By Sue Knowles, Bridie Gallagher and Phoebe McEwen

Anxiety can help when it enables us to handle threats. (If your teen wasn’t anxious about that exam, they might not study!) This guide digs into the science of anxiety, stressors and coping strategies like mindfulness, exposure and better sleep. Plus, tips for real-life situations, such as taking exams and moving.

jkp.com


3 of 8

Boy Meets Depression

Boy Meets Depression

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

(Full title: Boy Meets Depression: Or Life Sucks and Then You Die Live)

By Kevin Breel

After his TED Talk took off in 2013, Breel decided to turn his experience as a stand-up comic struggling with depression into a memoir to help others who might be suffering. He talks about bullies, heartbreak, grief, societal pressures and how he got through it all. Young guys often feel pressure to tune out and ignore their emotions, but Breel hopes his book can help change that.

penguinrandomhouse.com


4 of 8

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened

Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster

By Allie Brosh

Brosh mixes personal stories with humor and fun illustrations. Some essays are silly while others touch on serious topics like her battle with depression, but she covers both in a down-to-earth way that won’t make anyone feel uncomfortable.

simonandschuster.com


5 of 8

All the Ways the World Can End

All the Ways the World Can End

Photo courtesy of MacMillan

Photo courtesy of MacMillan

By Abby Sher

Lenny suffers from OCD and is also reeling from the realization that her father is dying at the same time that her best friend is moving away. While the book is a novel, it’s influenced by the author’s experience losing her dad when she was just 11 years old and focuses on the importance of self-care and acceptance.

us.macmillan.com


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Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down

Photo courtesy of John Green Books

Photo courtesy of John Green Books

By John Green

Aza is on a mission to find a billionaire who went missing amidst fraud investigations. She also suffers from several anxiety disorders. The author’s own challenges with OCD lend an interesting perspective to what Aza is going through.

johngreenbooks.com


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Wintergirls

Wintergirls

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

By Laurie Halse Anderson

A tragic competition to be the skinniest turns deadly and one teenager is left to deal with both her grief and her eating disorder. The story is serious and eye-opening but the issues it addresses are more common than we like to think. If this one intrigues your teen, check out Anderson’s other bestseller Speak also details an adolescent’s difficult journey.

penguinrandomhouse.com


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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster

By Stephen Chbosky

This book originally came out in 1999 and was transformed into a movie in 2012, but addresses issues that teens still face today. Charlie (the protagonist) tries to navigate the pressures of high school—like sex, drugs, love and friendships—as an introvert dealing with familial issues on top of it all.

simonandschuster.com