Mental health matters reading list

Students looking for a fictional escape that highlights mental health issues should check out the following list of books, which can be requested through the library at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). More fiction books can be found on the second floor of CSUMB’s library in the recreational reading section.

Mental health & multiculturalism

“Starfish” by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Half Japanese artist Kiko Himura battles with feelings of being an outsider in her town, and is desperate to escape both her home and her mother. She tries to escape by going to college at an art school in New York, but this does not go to plan and she must rethink her escape. Along the way she battles with anxiety, depression and an unhealthy home life, but this story provides readers with a strong heroine to inspire them.

Good for anyone who has felt lost and out of place or looking for an escape to pursue their passion.

Introverted main characters

“Eliza and Her Monsters” by Francesca Zappia

A popular webcomic artist online and a shy reclusive introvert by day, Eliza Mirk is the star of this book revolving around getting outside of your comfort zone and living offline, even when this causes Mirk to go against her introverted instincts. 

Good for anyone who feels like it’s easier to live online than in person and anyone who can appreciate a hidden talent.

Battling depression, racism & sexism

“Black Girl Unlimited” by Echo Brown

A story about a girl looking for an opportunity away from her small home with parents who are battling addiction. This semi-autobiographical story stars Echo Brown – a girl from the east side who transfers to a west side school and experiences new opportunities – as well as racism, sexism and depression. Brown’s journey is filled with magical realism, on top of the backdrop of the trials she bravely faces as a Black girl living in Cleveland’s poverty. 

Good for anyone who has experienced discrimination, and is looking for a coming-of-age story with a character they can finally relate to.

The CSUMB library is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m, Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 10 p.m. 

Students looking for professional advice about their mental health can also reach out to the Personal Growth and Counseling Center on campus at 831-582-3969 or [email protected].

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