This Book is Making me Nervous – Novels that Feature Characters with Anxiety Disorder

Mental illness on screen is really difficult for me to see especially anxiety attacks and the like.:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I think that we, as a society, have come a long away in beginning to lose the stigma associated with mental illness, but we obviously still have a ways to go. It is hard for people who don’t deal with it on a daily basis to understand, so I thought I’d share some books that I thought realistically portrayed what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder. These are characters that made me feel understood and could maybe help others understand what it’s like.

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Sam suffers from not just anxiety, but Purely-Obsessional OCD. I can not even begin to tell you how much of myself I saw in her (to the point where I think maybe I have some form of undiagnosed OCD). This book is raw and real and was so identifiable to me that I often had to put the book down because it was making me so emotional.

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The Real Thing by Cassie Mae

Because this book is NA, I obviously had some issues with it, but I really loved pretty much everything that had to do with Eric. He’s insecure about his weight, has anxiety attacks, and doesn’t like to be touched (FYI – I identify with each thing in that list). I thought Mae did a great job of realistically portraying what it’s like to live with anxiety. I also think she handled the treatment of it much better than most books that have anxiety prone characters. Eric has coping techniques, family support, therapy, and medication.

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Crash into You by Katie McGarry

I’m not a huge fan of Katie McGarry books, but this one is one of my favorites of hers – primarily because the main character, Rachel, deals with anxiety. I don’t really remember enough about the story to say much about it, but I thought it was a pretty realistic portrayal.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I have read a few reviews about how people don’t like Cath because they were frustrated with her behavior. However, I loved Cath, because I understood her behavior. I have so many highlighted passages of things that Cath says that are just so relatable to someone who lives with anxiety. While I will always recommend Rainbow Rowell’s work to everyone for every reason, this is definitely one to read to help broaden your mental health awareness horizons.

What are some books you’ve enjoyed that include characters with anxiety or other mental health issues?

I'm diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder with Associated Agoraphobia. It's real, and it sucks, but medication has given me back my life. You are not alone. Get psychiatric help... it's worth it. I promise.:

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Review: The Real Thing by Cassie Mae

The Real Thing

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

I’ve read two Cassie Mae books before and thought one was pretty cute (Switched!) and one was pretty ridiculous (we don’t need to get into that one). When I saw this book I wanted to give her another try since I enjoy the best-friend-becomes-more trope, if done properly. I’m pleased to say that I did really enjoy The Real Thing.

Before this book I read another one that also employed the best-friend-becomes-more trope and it didn’t really at all work for me. I think one of the biggest differences between the previous book and this book (where it does works) is that in The Real Thing Eric and Mia are friends that have an attraction for the other, where the previous couple were friends that were already in love, but not admitting it to each other. And even though we know Eric and Mia will end up together, there’s still a lot more build up and tension in their relationship throughout the story.

I also enjoyed the bit of role reversal that deviates from the usual NA. Mia is confident and knows what she wants. She’s neither trampy nor innocent. That’s not to say she isn’t without her problems. She’s addicted to the internet and her phone to an unhealthy degree. While I thought this was a bit over the top, I’m sure there are many people out there that could totally relate to that.

My phone died so I spent some time with the family today. They seem like nice people.

Then there’s Eric. He’s insecure about his weight, has anxiety attacks, and doesn’t like to be touched. I can not even tell you how much I related to him! I thought Mae did a great job of realistically portraying what it’s like to live with anxiety. I also think she handled the treatment of it much better than most books that have anxiety prone characters. Eric has coping techniques, family support, therapy, and medication.

My only real complaint with the book is all the sexual content, though it seems to be a requirement for the NA genre. Mia seemed way more interested in moving their relationship ahead physically than in really getting to know Eric. I get that they’re best friends and know a lot about each other, but they’ve been apart for three years and there’s obviously a lot more they need to find out about each other. It was, however, not as graphic as a lot of other books of this genre are.

Overall, I enjoyed The Real Thing. The characters were mostly very relatable and likable. I especially appreciated the way Eric’s anxiety was portrayed and handled. I would recommend this book to fans of NA, especially to those who are looking for something a little different than the normal NA plotlines.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3.5
Characters: 3.5
Readability: 3.5
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Rating: 3.625 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I almost put down, but didn’t.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is: Books I almost put down, but didn’t.  I usually CAN NOT put down books (or series) once I start them, but I’ve been working on it. My list are books I didn’t put down, but wish I did. So, it’s the TOP TEN WORST BOOKS I ALMOST PUT DOWN AND DIDN’T.

Friday Night Alibi

1. Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae. Silly premise. Silly characters. Waste of time.

Passion (Fallen, #3)   Rapture (Fallen, #4)

2. & 3. Passion and Rapture by Lauren Kate. The first 2 books were readable. These last two were AWFUL.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. Everyone seems to love this book, but I thought it was horrible.

Mini Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #6)

5. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I like Sophie Kinsella, but after the first couple of Shopaholic books, I just could barely stand them anymore.

What I Thought Was True

6. What I Thought was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I kept reading because I thought it would get better. It didn’t.

Cruel Beauty

7. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Another book I kept reading because I thought it would get better.

The Innocents

8. The Innocents by Francesca Segal. I wanted to like this book. I did for awhile. I wish I would’ve stopped reading before it completely let me down.

The Dressmaker

9. The Dress Maker by Kate Alcott. I thought this was supposed to be this popular, wonderful book. I’m not sure how popular it became, but it was not wonderful at all.

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

10. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. There was so much hype about this book, so I made myself finish it. It was ridiculous.