May is Mental Health Month. To help lift the stigma and raise awareness that millions of people are affected by mental illness, we are shining a spotlight on five romantic reads that deal with mental health.
Spiral by Mila Ferrera
If mental health romances are your jam, Mila Ferrera is a great author to know. All three of her books feature either main characters or love interests with mental health issues, and this is the book that drew me in to try the others. It’s sexy and compelling but also sensitive and knowledgeable in its exploration of bipolar disorder. And did I mention sexy and compelling? Ferrera’s got serious skill at writing relatable, passionate, flawed, real characters, and I must warn you: once you pick up one of her books, you’re gonna need them all.
Second Position (District Ballet Company Book 1) by Katherine Locke
This is one of the more beautifully written romances I’ve read, about two ballet dancers named Aly and Zed whose incredibly complicated past resurfaces when they run into each other four years after a car accident irrevocably changed their lives. He’s had a leg amputated and she’s recovering from an eating disorder, and neither one knows what to expect from their reunion, or what to hope for. But there’s no doubt that they were made for each other, and no matter how fragile they may seem, good luck reading this one with without mentally smushing their heads together and yelling “Kiiiiiissssss.” (Best part? There’s a prequel novella and a sequel!)
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
If we’re being superstrict about genre, it’s unlikely Romance is the one that would come to mind for Silvera’s sophomore novel, but there’s no ignoring that love and relationships are at its heart, and yes, unusual for Silvera, it even has a happy ending. Griffin is still grieving the drowning death of his ex-boyfriend, Theo. Okay, Theo was seeing Jackson when he died, and living across the country, but that was a temporary situation; he and Griffin were endgame. So what happens when your romantic life plans become impossible and you feel Obsessive Compulsive Disorder begin to feel like it’s taking over your life? You turn to the only guy who knows what you’re going through: The Other Guy. This book hurts so good, but it heals even better.
Trade Me (Cyclone Book 1) by Courtney Milan
Speaking of romances with main characters who have eating disorders, I love Milan’s Trade Me for so many reasons, but having the male hero struggle with an eating disorder is definitely one of them. Blake is smart, wealthy, and privileged as all get out, something that has him butting heads with Chinese American Tina in class almost immediately. When she tells him he’s got no idea what it’s like to walk in her poor shoes, he sets out to prove that he damn sure can—by trading places with her.
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon
It’s hard to pick a favorite Weatherspoon novel, but this is the one I remember making me giddy with its adorable flirtation between college freshman Alexis and Trisha, aka Treasure, the stripper from her sister’s bachelorette party. Turns out Trisha’s in college too, and she’s every bit as interested in Alexis as Alexis is in her. But getting close to someone is tricky for Alexis, who’s struggled with depression and really needs to push herself to find the comfort and confidence to pursue the girl of her dreams.