What are the best books with mentally ill characters?

asked by Anonymous
359 contributors
19 solutions
  1. 33

    #1Fight Club

    Fight Club

    Fight Club is Chuck Palahniuk's story of a man who leaves his lackluster job and his boss Tyler, who holds a secret fight club in the basement of bars where two men fight as long as they have to.


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    Nathan Owens
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "This is spot on and amazing. The book development of the characters and the twist at the end making everything worth it. The story itself is pretty intense and will give you that OMG moment plenty of times while reading it."
  2. 31

    #2The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar is a book by Sylvia Plath that tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a young woman living in New York, and her descent into madness while trapped in the suffocating "bell jar" that is depression. 


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  3. 29

    #3Lord of the Flies

    Lord of the Flies

    Lord of the Flies is classic fiction written by William Golding published first in 1954 which is about a group of English schoolboys who survived a plane crash and got stranded on an uninhabited island.


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    Allen Xie
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "Lord of the Flies doesn't jump out at me as being a good recommendation as best book with mentally ill characters. Even though the boys exhibit bullying, teasing, jealousy, and possible PTSD among some of the older boys, I wouldn't necessarily classify any of the characters, specifically, as mentally ill. Ralph comes closest to fitting the profile."
  1. 26

    #4Gone Girl

    Gone Girl

    Gone Girl is a 2014 psychological thriller by Gillian Flynn. It tells the story of Nick Dunne and his wife Amy, and revolves around whether or not Nick was involved in his wife's disappearance. This is a tale of vengeance and deceit.


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    Chan Jiang
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "The elaborateness and complexity of the story that is told kept me interested through out the book. Gillian Flynn does a really good job of building pressure and tension within the story. I was left thinking about the insane actions that Amy went to, to execute her plan. It definitely showcases her as a memorable unhinged villain."
  2. 25

    #5One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    This is one of the most imports novels of the 60's and from American history. The unforgettable story of a mental ward and the people living there and the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and McMurphy.

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    Jane Bennett
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "If someone is looking to read about mentally ill people/characters, I think that the book, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, is a classic novel that can give some insight into mentally ill people, because it is about a man who enters a mental hospital and takes over it by rallying other patients around him by testing the tyranny of a nurse. "
  3. 24

    #6The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book by Stephen Chbosky that tells the story of Charlie. The book revolves around Charlie's writings in his diary. His struggle as a unique teen, trying to live his life happily. 


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    Ronald Tran
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "Hard subject to go to. But, a good book for story nonetheless. Very well installed in the topic at hand."
  4. 22

    #7Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted is written by Susanna Kaysen. With over 100 pages, this book is first published in 1994 by Vintage. In 2000, this book became a bestseller because of a movie based on this book.


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    Rosa Arroyo
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "I'm looking for a book with mentally ill characters for my book club group. I had heard of Girl, Interrupted but never seen it and didn't know it was about a mentally ill teen. It looks like it is very good ratings, and an interesting plot. I will definitely put it on a short list of possible choices!"
  5. 20

    #8The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye is J.D. Salinger's 1951 classic about teenager Holden Caulfield, who was used as an icon of teenage angst and rebellion. The controversial book has caused debates, mainly because of its vulgar language and themes.


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    Kathy Williamson
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "I just finished reading The Catcher in the Rye as I find novels with mentally ill characters very interesting. I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down. I got very absorbed in the main characters life. Holden is only 16, and I could not stop thinking about his life and all he was dealing with. I would definitely recommend this book!"
  6. 19


    This is one of the greatest plays of all times and this edition is the groundbreaking Cambridge School, established by Rex Gibson. This is the story of the tormented prince of Denmark confronted with the evidence that this uncle murdered his father. 

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    Lauren Mendoza
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "Hamlet is a classic. I do not think they characters were "mentally ill". I believe they were troubled, and of course young. They thought they were doing the best and they were often ignored but the older people. What they did was wrong, but I do not think it had anything to do with their mentality. This book/story is a must read. It's a classic and everyone should read this atleast once. "
  7. 18

    #10The Shining

    The Shining

    The Shining is written by Stephen King is about a young boy with psychic powers struggling to hold his own against the forces of evil which are driving his father insane in an isolated hotel. 


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    Samantha Castro
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "This is a great solution because the main antagonist of this book is a mentally ill alcoholic. It is also a great read."
  8. 17

    #11King Lear

    King Lear

    King Lear was too old and tired to reign anymore, so he decided to divide his realm among his daughters: the two eldest daughters flattered him, and they were rewarded properly, but the youngest child, Cordelia, expressed her true feelings towards him, and was disinherited, what ultimately made the King lose his mind. 


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    María Elena Gil
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "This may be a classic but Shakespeare just has never been that interesting to me. I had to struggle through this and in the end, I would much rather read something more modern."
  9. 15


    Misery is a horror book written by Stephen King. It's the story of a famous novelist held hostage by his fan as he suffers a frightening case of writer's block which could end with him dead at the hands of his twisted fan.

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    Victoria Delgado
    Written on May 3, 2018
    "Misery is one of my all-time favorite Stephen King books so when my search for the best books with mentally ill characters turned up with this as a suggestion I was pleased. I would happily read this page-turner again and the price points are great with several different purchase options. This is a great book and a creepy read with a look at the mentally ill woman featured in the book."
  10. 13

    #13Thirteen Reasons Why

    Thirteen Reasons Why
    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher narrates how Clay Jensen learns about the reasons why his classmate, workmate, and crush, Hannah Baker took her own life. Hannah Baker left cassette tapes so Clay and everyone involved could listen and discover why.

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    Ann Pierce
    Written on May 12, 2018
    "This book is a must read for any preteen on. It is compelling and gives some insight of the thought processes that one goes through. The series was great and the book is good. It is written on a slightly juvenile level but then again, I am an adult."
  11. 12

    #14Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë tells the story of Catherine and Heathcliff. After she rejects him for a boy from a better background he develops a lust for revenge that takes over his life. This tale of hauntings, passion, and greed remains unsurpassed in its depiction of the dark side of love.


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    Timothy Chen
    Written on May 11, 2018
    "Pretty good book if you're into reading about mentally ill crazed people. It's a pretty cliche story, but what happens to the characters the development they get really saves it from that. My only real complaint is that the story ends how you would expect, but I can kind of forgive it for being so well written."
  12. 12


    An anorexic Lia Overbrook harms herself after finding out that her best friend Cassie died of bulimia. She blames herself for not being with Cassie during the time she needed her the most and the idea to live becomes even more difficult for her.


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    Joan Scott
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "It was interesting book getting into the mind of someone who suffers with anorexia. The trials and tribulations of suffering this disease and than trying to come out of this and cure herself from this horrible disease."
  13. 10

    #16Flowers for Algernon

    Flowers for Algernon
    Flowers for Algernon is a novel written by Daniel Keyes. It tells the story of Charlie, who agrees to be a human subject for an experimental brain operation, following the success of the operation on Algernon, a white mouse.

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    Aaron Berry
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "The best book with mentally ill characters is Flowers for Algernon written by Daniel Keyes. Charlie is a mentally challenged young man with a low IQ that agrees to an experimental brain operation that increases his intelligence to genius level. But it is a bittersweet tale that reveals human cruelty and heartache as the reader witnesses the eventual deterioration."
  14. 8

    #17Everything Here Is Beautiful

    Everything Here Is Beautiful

    Everything Here Is Beautiful is an adult fiction novel written by Mira T. Le which follows the life of sisters Lucia and Miranda after their mother passed away, which prompted Lucia to have schizophrenic episodes. 


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    Nathan Fox
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "This book is a work of art in itself. Deep, touching undertones left me wanting more and unable to put this book down. It's more than just about two sisters. It's about family, immigration, love, and foregiveness. So many topics that you'd never imagine could be covered between two covers was remarkably done in this one. "
  15. 6

    #18The Hollow Dolls

    The Hollow Dolls

    The Hollow Dolls is a book by MT Dahl that tells the story of best friends Mel and Winnie. They will be both lost in the life of addiction. They do not believe in anything absolute so they will try and love and something will happen.  


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    Muhammad Tata
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "I think mental illness is something we need to read more about and I have anxiety, and depression and get into moods so I love reading about mental illness. The Hollow Dolls is one of the best books I've read with a mentally ill character. It's a quick read and you won't want to put it down. "
  16. 0

    #19A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

    A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

    A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a standalone young adult contemporary novel written by Krystal Sutherland which follows the life of Esther Solar after her grandfather passed away. 


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    Leonardo Andrade
    Written on May 3, 2018
    "Jaw dropping suspense really immerses you into the book. Awesome job, and I can't wait for a new one to come out."


Best What are the best books with mentally ill characters
1Fight ClubBooks 33 Paid
2The Bell JarBooks 31 Paid
3Lord of the FliesBooks 29 Paid
4Gone GirlBooks 26 Paid
5One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestBooks 25 Paid
6The Perks of Being a WallflowerBooks 24 Paid
7Girl, InterruptedBooks 22 Paid
8The Catcher in the RyeBooks 20 Paid
9HamletBooks 19 Paid
10The ShiningBooks 18 Paid

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