Channeling their own experiences, sixteen exceptional authors subvert mental health stereotypes in a powerful and uplifting collection of fiction.
A teen activist wrestles with protest-related anxiety and PTSD. A socially anxious vampire learns he has to save his town by (gulp) working with people. As part of her teshuvah, a girl writes letters to the ex-boyfriend she still loves, revealing that her struggle with angry outbursts is related to PMDD. A boy sheds uncontrollable tears but finds that in doing so he’s helping to enable another’s healing. In this inspiring, unflinching, and hope-filled mixed-genre collection, sixteen diverse and notable authors draw on their own lived experiences with mental health conditions to create stunning works of fiction that will uplift and empower you, break your heart and stitch it back together stronger than before. Through powerful prose, verse, and graphics, the characters in this anthology defy stereotypes as they remind readers that living with a mental health condition doesn’t mean that you’re defined by it. Each story is followed by a note from its author to the reader, and comprehensive back matter includes bios for the contributors as well as a collection of relevant resources.
With contributions by:
Mercedes Acosta * Karen Jialu Bao * James Bird * Rocky Callen * Nora Shalaway Carpenter * Alechia Dow * Patrick Downes * Anna Drury * Nikki Grimes * Val Howlett * Jonathan Lenore Kastin * Sonia Patel * Marcella Pixley * Isabel Quintero * Ebony Stewart * Francisco X. Stork
In this anthology examining living with mental illness, authors tackle the subject through short stories, verse, graphic narrative, and a play script, all of which reflect their lived experiences. The collection’s greatest strength is its impressive diversity in contributors and subject matter. . . The book’s main lessons include the messages that you are not alone and should reach out for help. . . necessary.
Through short stories, poetry, a graphic novel, and even a one-act play, the diverse characters demonstrate that life can still be lived beyond the struggles imposed by mental health conditions. . . characters address their situations in honest ways that will be relatable to readers.
School Library Connection
Ab(solutely) Normal is a beautiful, funny, honest, heart-aching, heart-affirming read, one I know I’ll go back to again and again. Sixteen extraordinary authors with one powerful message: you are enough, you are seen, you are not alone. Dear readers everywhere, you need this book!
Jennifer Niven, #1 New York Times best-selling author of All the Bright Places
Ab(solutley) Normal is a vital resource for young people and their caregivers. This book opens the conversation and crushes the stigma—a compassionate and beautiful exploration of the reality of our country’s mental health. I highly recommend it.
A.S. King, author of the Michael L. Printz Award winner Dig
Ab(solutely) Normal does exactly what it promises: it smashes mental health stereotypes. Not only that—it smashes stereotypes with a thoughtfully curated selection of stories that will make readers laugh, cry, and, most importantly, think. This book should be required reading for all teens and their parents and teachers. Teens with mental health issues will feel seen, while those without them will learn empathy and kindness. Oh, how I wish this book had been around when I was in high school!
Tanya Guerrero, award-winning author of How to Make Friends with the Sea, All You Knead Is Love, and Adrift