9 Books with Depression Representation

9 Books Monday is a feature here on Bookish Wanderess, where I talk about 9 books that have positive representation of diverse experiences including the experiences of people of the LGBTQIA community, Native people, people of color, people with physical and cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

In the past, I have done posts about 9 book with: 

This time I talking about 9 books with Depression Representation and before getting into them, I want to put a trigger warning because most of these books deal with suicide, so be careful if that’s something that triggers you.

5 BOOKS I READ AND LOVED

Darius the Great is not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius is a biracial, gay boy, who has depression, and this is a story that centers around family, tradition and mental health. This book does something very special because Darius’ father also has depression and this depicts the way depression affects their relationship and it shows them as they realise that they need to be more open and honest with each other. This also shows the way cultural beliefs can affect the way mental illness is view and understood.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

This book starts with the death of the main character’s mother, who commits suicide after years of struggling with depression. This book talks about the stigma surrounding depression and how it makes it hard to discuss it with family and friends; it also shows the feelings and thought process of the loved ones of someone who has depression; it portraits how hard depression is and how there’s no easy fix and how suicide affects the loved ones that are left behind.

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

This book portraits depression through the stories of two girls – one of them a Latinx girl- that experience this mental illness in very different ways. One is loud and angry and the other tries to pretend everything is okay and hides her problems from everyone. This book does a wonderful job of showing contrasting experiences with depression and it also shows that different kinds of relationships can help you go through periods where you are struggling with mental health, but only because they bring company and support, never as a cure.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

This book is a memoir that focuses on living with depression, on how that looks like in the day to day basis, it includes the good and bad that comes with it, and it handles those topics in a brilliant way. This book manages to be humorous while still being touching and powerful. Jenny Lawson does an incredible job finding the words necessary to explain certain feelings and experiences, the way she translates her experience with depression into words is magnificent.

In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero

This memoir covers a lot of different events from Diane Gurrero’s life going from her parents deportation when she was a child to her being casted in Orange is the New Black. One of the things this book touches on is her struggle with depression and anxiety, and while it’s small part of the book, Guerrero is so honest and raw about it that it makes it a very powerful and touching account of living with mental illness.

3 BOOKS ON MY TBR

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

This is Matt Haig’s memoir about his struggle with depression and it’s full of in-depth descriptions of his dark thoughts and feelings, which is why most people say that this needs to be read when a person is in a good place mentally. This book is a collection of experiences, thoughts, practical tips and affirmations on one man’s experience with mental illness

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

This book focuses on the recovery from a suicide attemp instead of the events leading up to it . It’s a books about living when life doesn’t seem worth it. This takes place in a hospital’s mental ward, so it includes characters with different mental illness and it’s inspired by the author’s own experience with depression.

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad

This is a romance book where the main characters meet when one of them is about to commit suicide and the other stops them. This book looks at the harsh reality of mental health struggles and the repercussions of denying people the help and support that they need.

1 BOOK RELEASING SOON

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

This is a YA retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice set in the Bronx. Eury is a girl who lost everything in Hurricane Maria and is haunted by the trauma—and by an evil spirit. This book deals with anxiety, ptsd and depression.

What books with depression rep have you read and loved? Which ones are on your tbr?

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Some Books Broke My Heart in 2019 and I Want to Talk About Them

Hi everyone! Today I want to talk about the books that broke my heart and made me cry my eyes out in 2019. I’m not someone who cries often while reading, so when it happens it means I truly cared for the characters and felt connected to their story and what was happening to them. 2019 proved that I mostly cry when a character loses someone they love, it’s something that impacts me deeply and makes me emotional so, before getting into this list, I want to mention that all of these books include either the death of a love one or a loved one with a terminal disease, so a trigger warning for that.

This list goes from the books that made me feel like someone was stabbing me in the heart to the ones that made me feel like my heart was being ripped out of my chest and squeezed until it burst. Without further ado, here they are:

*Click the title of the book to go to the Goodreads page*

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After wins the award for the book that has made me cry the fastest in my entire life. I was 10% into this when I started crying, which I didn’t think it was possible. This is the only book I have ever read that had it’s more emotional and devastating part (at least for me) at the very beginning. This deals with depression and suicide and with a daughter’s grief after losing her mother and it was very hard to read.

Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros

Have You Seen Marie? was a beautiful and heartfelt book, I honestly can’t believe Sandra Cisneros managed to convey so many feelings in such a short and simple story. This was inspired by the death of Cisneros mother and the real and raw emotion is evident in the writing and it makes this book poignant and powerful.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius the Great is not Okay deals with very serious issues and it includes a lot of sad and emotional scenes, but the one that made me cry was the most heartbreaking airport scene I have ever read, I felt like someone was stabbing my heart repetively while I was reading it. The combination of complicated family dynamics, immigration and terminal disease made that scene feel so real and devastating.

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

The Simple Wild is a bittersweet book in a lot of ways, but the aspect of this story that moved me the most was the complicated father/daughter relationship, seeing it evolve was beautiful, seeing Calla go feeling anger and disappointment to forgiveness and love was touching and if you add the heartbreaking love story between Calla’s parents, then it’s easy to understand why this book broke my heart into a million pieces with the cancer storyline. The whole idea of running out of time just when you want more time the most destroyed me.

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Don’t Date Rosa Santos was supposed to be a fun and fluffy contemporary and it was, but it was also so much more than what I was expecting. Complicated family dynamics are something I love and I enjoy seeing relationships between family members evolve and be more honest and open. But when those relationships get to a better place just for something to happen and cut time short is devastating for me every single time. The idea of running out of time to work on the relationships with the people you love the most is so heartbreaking.

Those were the books that made me cry in 2019, what books made you cry last year? If you have some recommendations of great books that made you cry, let me know!

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10 Cities that Books Made Me Want to Visit | Top Ten Tuesday

Cities that Books Made Me Want to Visit

Hi everyone! When I started blogging I participated in Top Ten Tuesday regulary and I loved the fact that it allowed me to interact with so many people from the community, because I miss that, I decided to start participating again!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Today, the topic is places mentioned in books that I’d like to visit, so I decided to write about 10 cities that are the setting of some amazing books and that play such an important role in the story that after reading the books I can’t help but want to go visit them myself.

*If you click the title of the books, it will take you to the Goodreads page for the book

Without further ado, here are the 10 cities that books made me want to visit:

If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman-—> Manila, Philippines

Honestly, all the #romanceclass books I have read made me want to visit the Philippines, but If the Dress Fits is my favorite #romanceclass book and it’s the one that mentions more especific places from Manila like the Dangwa flower market and the Manila Metropolitan Theatre, as well as different types of food that sounded delicious.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan —–> Taipei, Taiwan

I really want to go to Taipei, and especifically, the food markets that are constantly mentioned in this book, I’m just so excited to try delicious food! Also, the observatory inside Taipei 101 sounds so cool, I really want to see the city from that height.

Darius the Great is not Okay by Adib Khorram —-> Yazd, Iran

Iran is the most recent addition to this list, I read Darius the Great is not Okay in January and I fell in love with the way Darius talked about Iran.  I would love to go to Yazd and see the Jameh Mosque, the Towers of Silence and the Atashkadeh.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan —-> Singapore

While reading Crazy Rich Asians, I couldn’t help but be incredibly intrigued about Singapore. I can’t wait to visit the food markets and the impressive buildings, especially the Marina Bay Sands and the gardens by the bay.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares —-> Santorini, Greece

I’ll confess that my desire to visit Greece is due to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and the movie, as well as to the Mamma Mia movies. But, even if the Mamma Mia made me want to go to Greece even more, it all started with Lena and her trip to Santorini in the first book of the series.

City of Ghost by Victoria Shwab —-> Edinburg, Scotland

There are so many European cities that I want to see and to be completely honest, Edinburgh wasn’t one of them until recently when I read City of Ghost. Now I can’t wait to go to the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and the Edinburgh Vaults! Also, I’m so excited by the fact that book 2 is taking place in Paris and especifically in The Paris Catacombs, which I have been to.

Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie —-> Costa Rica

Ryke and Daisy are my favorite couple in this series and they talk so many times about Costa Rica that it put this country at the top of my list. I’m not sure which city or region they were in, but I would love to go to Cahuita, which is supposed to be a place to relax and find peace.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo – Los Angeles

I have wanted to go to L.A. for as long as I can remember, but the last few years, it had been slipping further and further donw the list of places I wanted to visit, until I read this book and it made me want  to go to L.A. so badly! As I said on my review this is a love letter to Los Angeles, there’s commentary on different neighborhoods, who primarily lives there, what type of activities are done and what types of food are sold in them. It simply made me feel excited about going to L.A. again.

Like Us  Series by Krista & Becca Ritchie – Philadelphia 

I already was interested in going to Philadelphia thanks to the original Addicted/Calloway Sister series, but if I’m being honest, the Like us series was the one that really made me want to go to Philly. It’s just that the bodyguards talk about their city with so much love that I can’t help but being curious!

Knitting in the City Series by Penny Reid – Chicago, United States

I loved this series, I have already read like 10 books in this series between novels and novellas and I have spent so much time with the ladies of this knitting group that I can’t help but want to visit their city!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – Prague, Czech Republic

I had never thought about visiting Prague before this book, but then I read this and soon after I met a dear friend who is from Czech Republic and so I knew the universe was telling me that I needed to visit this beautiful city. It’s being almost five years and I’m happy to say that I’m visiting my friend in April in Prague and I’m so excited!

What books do you want to visit because of a book or series? HAve you ever visited a city because I book was set in it? 
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January 2019 Wrap Up (+ Mental Health Book Bingo Wrap Up)

Monthly Wrap Up newest

Life Update 

  • I started the month in the best way, traveling through Italy. I went to Rome, Florence and Venice and it was amazing! Venice was so beautiful.
  • Then I got home the 8th of January and I started my internship the next day – after a 20 days trip through France and Italy – and it was exhausting if I’m being honest. The internship has been kind of a disappointment.
  • I also had exams during January, I did really well on those, but with everything that was going on, my anxiety got a bit out of hand after a few months of being in very low levels, which sucks.
  • Still, overall it was a good month, I love the fact that I started the year traveling and I’m so grateful I got that chance!

What I Read 

This year I’m participating in a few reading challenges, so I’ll be lkeeping track of that with some emojis!

                     🌸 =Reading Women Challenge 🌿= Catch Up on Classics                                    ⭐= Dancing with Fantasy and Sci-fi Challenge 🌻= Year of the Asian

In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (4,3 stars): my favorite book in the series so far! I found the goblin market so interesting and the characters were so complex! This entire book was so bittersweet and I loved it! (review)  – ⭐

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (3 stars): This was disappointing; the writing style wasn’t for me, I didn’t found the case interesting and the only really good thing was the characters. (review) – 🌿

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (5 stars):  Lovely, flawed, amazing characters and a really interesting relationship and dynamic between them.  (review coming this week!) – 🌿🌸

Tangled Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie (4 stars): This was really good, Thatcher is not my favorite but I love Jane and they work as a couple and I liked that we got to see more of the Cobalts. Honestly,  I can’t wait until we get a Sulli and Akara book. I NEED IT! – 🌸

Hi Fi Fight Club by Carly Usdin (4 stars): I really liked this, I think the characters are amazing and the art and color pallet are so lovely! (review)

Lumberjanes by Various Authors (4 stars): This was so much fun! The perfect amount of spooky and mysterious to make want to continue with the other issues. (review)

Lumberjanes: 2016 Special by Various Authors (3,4 stars): Didn’t really enjoy this story as much, I think it was a little too ridiculous and not spooky enough. But the art was pretty. (review)

Mental Health Book Bingo 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (4 stars): Beautifully written, I loved the romance and seeing the evolution of the father/daughter relationship. I wasn’t even 10% into this and it had me tearing up. My only problem with this is that it dragged a little. It has depression rep, so trigger warning for that and for suicide.  (review) – 🌻 🌸

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (4,5 stars): I loved all the characters in this book so much and I had a lot of fun reading this story until the moment when my heart was broken. Besides that, I really liked that this was a Fantasy standalone, which we need more of, and it’s a fantasy with anxiety rep, which we need even more –  ⭐

Darius the Great in Not Okay by Adib Khorram (4,5 stars): This was fantastic, the family relationships were the main focus of this book and there were so many complex and interesting characters that even when there’s not much plot, I still found this absolutely compelling. The friendship part of the story was also really sweet and i loved that it was set in Iran and mostt of the main characters were iranies. Also, this was the second book this month that made me tear up, which is so unusual for me! Trigger warnings for depression- 🌻

You Are Here by Dawn Lanuza (3,5 stars): The writing style wasn’t that great, but I really liked the themes this addressed, like depression and  second love, and I found a lot of what the author was trying to say relatable. (review coming this week!)

Blog Posts 

Here are some of my favorite blog posts I wrote in January:

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you enjoy them? Do you want to read any of them?

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Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Title: The Astonishing Color of After

Author: Emily X.R. Pan

Published by:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publishing date:  March 20th 2018

Genre: YA, Magical-contemporary

Pages: 462

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Trigger Warnings: suicide, depression, suicidal thoughts

Representation: Taiwanese-American main character, Puerto Rican/Filipino love interest,  lots of  Taiwanese characters and a character with depression.

The Astonishing Color of After is a beautifully written bookthe writing style is lyrical and poetic. I’ll admit that I usually have trouble connecting to characters and situations when books have that writing style, but that was not the case with this book, I wasn’t even 10% into it and it had already made me tear up. Later in the book, I did feel the writing distracted me a little from the story, but it was still beautiful.

This is a story about grief and mental illness, especifically depression, and it addresses both of these things in such an amazing and heartbreaking way. This talks about the stigma surrounding depression and how it makes it hard to discuss it with family and friends; it also deals with the feelings and thought process of the loved ones of someone with depression; it portraits how hard depression is and how there’s no easy fix, and it also explores in depth what grief can do to someone. Honestly, this book deals with so many important subjects and it does it so well.

The story is told from Leigh’s point of view, which is interesting, because she is an unreliable narrator and it’s impossible to know which of the things she is seeing and hearing are real. Another reason why Leigh is a compelling narrator is the fact that she is an artist and because of that, she has a particular way of seeing the world, which is really well described and it works well with Emily X.R Pan’s writing.

The development of the relationship between Leigh and her father is one of the most intricate and interesting parts of the story. I wish we had seen more of him in the present and not only in the past, because I feel like at the end so many things between the two of them were resolved in the blink of an eye, with one short conversation between them.

I loved Leigh and Axel together, the evolution of their relationship is told through flashbacks and  I completely fell in love with their dynamic and how sweet Axel is. Also, I really liked the fact that this book didn’t shy away from addressing Leigh’s thoughts and desires about her sexuality. It’s a very sex positive book.

The story did lose me a bit at some point when Leigh was in Taiwan, I hoped that the relationship between her and her grandparents was explored more. There are a few meaningful and sweet moments, but overall, her time in Taiwan felt like it was her going to places and wandering around without getting much out of it. And there was a point where the book started to drag a little. Nonetheless, I did enjoyed the fact that this is set in Taiwan and we get amazing descriptions of food, places, traditions and beliefs. I also want to add that, the way Leigh’s feelings of being out of place with her mother’s family were explored was really interesting, and the way this book portraited- both in flashbacks when Leigh was in the United States and in the present when she was Taiwan- the perception and reactions of other people over her being half-asian and half-white was fascinating.

Lastly, the part of the story that is told through magical memories was great. Those memories are basically where all the big reveals take place and it is a cool and unique way for Leigh to discover the truth about her family and it avoids making the book boring.

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What other contemporaries with magical elements would you recommend?

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2018 Releases I Want to Read in 2019

2018 releases i want to read in 2019

Hi everyone! Today, I want to talk about 10 books that were released in 2018 and that I didn’t manage to read, but that I still really want to get to. I did this at the beginning of 2018 as well, because every year there’s a few (or many!) books that are release and I’m highly anticipating, but I don’t get to read them for multiple reason. So, I like to make a list at the end of the year to remind myself of the main releases of that year that I still need to get to.

Without further ado, here are the 10 books:

Reign of the fallen

Reing of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

I need more bisexual main characters in fantasy books, and this has one, so I’m reading it. I haven’t read a book especifically about necromancy, so I’m also intrigued by that. And I read Sarah Glenn Marsh’s debut and I really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to reading more of her books.

 

The Astonishing Color of After

 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

This book is one of my 5 star predictions, this seems like a beautifully written, quiet book about grief and I LOVE that type of book. I have a feeling this may be a new favorite for me, so I can’t wait to read it!

 

Escaping from Houdini

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco 

I’m so nervous about this book, I was going to get to this as soon as it came out, but then I heard so many negative things about it and that made me doubt if I wanted to read it or not. But since then I have talked to some friends that already read it and I have decided to give it a chance, since this is one of my favorite series.

 

Nine Perfect Strangers

 

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty 

The description of this book makes it sounds like an Agatha Christie novel and since I love those, I really want to read this one. I have only read one book by Moriarty and I really enjoyed it, so that also gives me hopes I’ll like this one!

 

Queen of Air and Darkness

 

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

I read Lord of Shadows in November and I after THAT ENDING I can’t wait to read the final book in the series. I didn’t manage to include this in my December tbr because I’m participating in 3 different readathons and it didn’t fit any of the challenges 😭but I will read it SOON.

 

Sadie

 

Sadie by Courtney Summers 

Everyone seems to love this one, so I put it on my 5 star predictions and I’m hoping I’ll love it too. I’m excited about the podcast element, because I LOVE true crime podcasts and I really liked the one book I have read that revolved around a podcast.

 

Vengeful

 

Vengeful by V.E. Shwab

Vicious was the first Victoria Shwab book I ever read and I really liked it, so I’m really curious about this sequel, especially because I have heard it focuses a lot more in female characters.

 

 

Beneath the Citadel 

 

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

I don’t know of that many fantasy books with anxiety rep, so as soon as found out one of the main characters in this book has severe anxiety I knew I had to get my hands on it.  All my Goodreads friends that have read this have giving it 5 stars, which is really impresive!

 

Strange Grace

 

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton 

I have been hearing everyone talk about this book and people seem to love it, so I want to know what all the hype is about. Also, the premise sounds creepy and it has me intriged and there’s a polyamorous relationship, which I have never read in any book, so I’m excited!

 

The Boneless Mercies

 

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

I have heard mixed things about this book, which usually makes me loss interest in a book, but surprisingly, I’m still really intrigued by this and I’m hoping to get to it soon!

 

 

Is there any 2018 release that you didn’t manage to read but you’re hoping to read in 2019? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Which of this books should I read first? 

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5 Star Predictions – Round 1

Five Star Predictions 2

Hi everyone! I have been meaning to write one of these posts with 5 stars prediction, and I thought now it would be a good time, because this way, I can start 2019 reading some books I think I’ll love. And what better way to start a year, right?!

SadieSadie by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: I have heard from many people how amazing this book is and now I’m so excited to read it. There are many things that make me want to read this: the podcast element, that at its core it has a relationships between sibilings, the main character has a stutter, there’s poverty rep and it deals with sexual assault.

If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio 

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know thetruth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: There’s one main reason and it’s the fact that a lot of people keep comparing it to The Secret History by Donna Tart, which I LOVE. I know they are different books, but I just hope If We Were Villains is in its own way as good as The Secret History.

The Astonishing Color of AfterThe Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan 

Leigh Chen Sanders is certain that when her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. She travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time and there, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. 

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: This seems like the type of book I usually give a high rating to: a quiet, character driven book about a serious topic like grief. I have heard the writing is beautiful which makes me even more hopeful that I’m gonna love it.

Strange the DreamerStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

Lazlo Strange is obsessed with the lost city of Weep and everyone mocks him because no one think it’s real. But one day, someone from Weep recruits people to help save their city and  Lalzo does everything he can to be apart of that team. 

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: Everyone seems to love this book and I’m very curious to see how I’ll feel about it. I have a good feeling. I have only read one book by Laini Taylor and I thought it was ok, I didn’t love it, so I’m hoping this one will make me fall in love with her writing.

The Poppy WarThe Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 

When Rin aced the test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone. Once there, Rin discovers she possesses an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism and her powers may be the only way to save her people. 

Why I think I’ll give it 5 stars: Recently, so many people have been talking about this book and I’m both intrigued and nervous to read it. I feel like I’m gonna suffer while reading it but it’s gonna be worth it, that’s why it’s on this list.

Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What books would make it to your 5 star predictions? 

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