Teen

9 Books on Physical and Mental Wellness for Teens

by Jennifer Garry

wellness
Image credit: Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm/Getty Images

Wellness is a hot topic right now and for good reason — with stressful news cycles, upside down schedules, and a global pandemic to grapple with, we can all use a reminder to take care of ourselves. It can be tricky to spread this message to teens. For the most part, they don’t want to hear it from their parents or other authority figures. That’s where books can help.

These nine books range from a memoir of someone who lost her mother to novels about teens struggling with mental illness and self-discovery, essays and stories from YA authors to guides from a coach and a fitness pioneer. All of them will help teens feel more connected, no matter what they might be facing.

  • Dancing at the Pity Party

    by Tyler Feder

    Also available from:

    This funny and poignant graphic memoir is for anyone struggling with loss. The summer after her first year in college, Tyler Feder’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. Before spring break of her sophomore year, her mom had passed. This book tackles the grief Feder didn’t know what to do with, as well as things like celebrating holidays without her mom, cleaning out her mom’s closet, starting new traditions, and more.

    Also available from:
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay

    by Adib Khorram

    Also available from:

    Darius never feels good enough. The half-Persian teen doesn’t fit in at home, and he’s sure his first-ever trip to Iran is not going to make him feel any better. His clinical depression doesn’t help. But when Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, everything changes and he has never felt more like himself. If you love Darius the Great Is Not Okay, be sure to check out the newly-released sequel, Darius the Great Deserves Better.

    Also available from:
  • Juliet Takes a Breath

    by Gabby Rivera

    Also available from:

    Juliet Milagros Palante comes out to her Puerto Rican family the night before flying from the Bronx to Portland, Oregon for an internship with her favorite feminist author. It does not go well. Her mom might never speak to her again, but Juliet is sure Harlowe Brisbane will help her figure it all out. But Harlow is white and she’s not from the Bronx and she doesn’t have all the answers. During a summer full of self-discovery, queer, brown dance parties, and explorations of race and identity, Juliet learns what it means to truly become herself.

    Also available from:
  • Rookie on Love

    edited by Tavi Gevinson

    Also available from:

    In this anthology, Rookie series editor Tavi Gevinson collected exclusive, never-before-seen essays, poems, comics, and interviews on one subject: love. The 45 contributors include Jenny Zhang, Emma Straub, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Gabourey Sidibe, and more.

    Also available from:
  • Hope Nation

    by Angie Thomas, Jason Reynolds, Nicola Yoon, and Marie Lu, edited by Rose Brock

    Also available from:

    Some of our time’s most influential young adult authors have joined forces in this collection of essays and personal stories designed to help embolden hope. Offering moments of light in the darkness and speaking directly to teens, this anthology acknowledges pain, offers encouragement, and stresses that hope is a decision. Authors include Angie Thomas, Marie Lu, Nicola Yoon, David Levithan, Libba Bray, Jason Reynolds, Renée Ahdieh, and many more!

    Also available from:
  • Total Teen

    by Tracy Anderson

    Also available from:

    Total Teen is fitness pioneer Tracy Anderson’s body-positive guide to living a healthy, balanced life. Through exercises, activities, and recipes, as wells as questions and prompts, Anderson guides teens into being their best physically, mentally, and emotionally — with no fad diets or calorie counting.

    Also available from:
  • Turtles All the Way Down

    by John Green

    Also available from:

    Aza Holmes and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, investigate the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett — all while Aza struggles with extreme anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. At its heart, the novel is about love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

    Also available from:
  • Words on Bathroom Walls

    by Julia Walton

    Also available from:

    Adam is trying to navigate high school while living with paranoid schizophrenia. His hallucinations range from a beautiful girl to an angry mob boss to a polite naked guy. An experimental drug promises to hide his illness, but when he meets his dream girl and the drug starts to fail, how long can he keep his secret?

    Also available from:
  • The Young Champion's Mind

    by Jim Afremow, PhD

    Also available from:

    Award-winning coach and sports psychologist Jim Afremow is known for his approach to training an athlete’s mind, body, and spirit. In the new young adult edition of The Champion’s Mind, Dr. Afremow turns his attention to student athletes. The book guides teens through topics like getting in the “zone,” staying humble, and progressing within a sport.

    Also available from: