Hello me, it’s you

Hello me, it’s you – Various

I picked this up for review after seeing the blurb, you all know I’ve been trying to read more non fiction, and I love books in letter format, this is a compilation of letters from a group of young people aimed at their younger selves about their mental health issues and for once, I don’t have to provide trigger warnings, because the blurb does it for you!

“Keep smiling and being you. Don’t let the world change you”
Hello Me, it’s You is a collection of letters by young adults aged 17-24 about their experiences with mental health issues. The letters are written to their 16-year-old selves, giving beautifully honest advice, insight and encouragement for all that lays ahead of them.
This book was produced by the Hello Me, it’s You charity, set up by the editor, Hannah. Hannah was diagnosed with depression and anxiety whilst at university and found comfort in talking to friends about their experiences, realising she was not alone in her situation. This inspired the idea for the charity and book. Through the creation of materials such as this, the charity aims to provide reassurance for young adults (and their families) who are experiencing mental health issues and give a voice to young adults on such an important topic. The result of that will hopefully be a reduction in the negative stigma surrounding mental health and an increase in awareness of young people’s experiences. All profits go the Hello Me, it’s You charity, for the production of future supportive books.
Trigger warning: Due to it’s nature, the content of this book may be triggering. Contains personal experiences of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, trichotillomania and other mental health issues, as well as issues such as assault.

I always cringe a bit when I hear something referred to as being an ‘important’ book, but I’m going to make an exception for this one, because I think there is something very important about breaking down the stigma of mental health among young people, not just for those experiencing it, but those that have never been through it. From the moment I started reading this I thought, yes, this is a book I wished already existed, what we have is a group of anonymous writers talking about a series of different experiences and despite all of them being somewhat horrific, (trust me, been there, wouldn’t wish it on anyone) every single letter shares stories of hope, redemption, acceptance and ultimately survival. Each letter is uplifting in a weird kind of way and provides something positive to those dealing with mental health issues.
Having said that, I recently watched a video from Hannah Witton (she’s great, check her out if you haven’t already) about how she can sympathise with people with depression, but not empathise, having not been through it herself, and I think that is a problem for a lot of people in my life and the lives of the letter writers, we have well intentioned people around us, but they don’t know what to say, or how to make it better, this kind of book is exactly the sort of thing that those people need.

Really, I think this and Reasons to Stay Alive should be compulsory reading in school, if it helps one person going through a mental health crisis, that is enough and if it helps those who aren’t help someone that is, that’s even better.

Love Hurts

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Love Hurts – just about every YA author ever

I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive fan of reading anthologies on a kindle, I have this thing where I like to flip through and mark where each story ends and begins and I also like to read all my favourite author’s stories first and that’s kind of difficult on a kindle, having to go all the way back to the contents page and then forward again. Aint no one got time for that, BUT that hang up of mine doesn’t really have anything to do with this review.

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak

This anthology features some of my all time faves, seriously, E Lockhart, who quickly sky rocketed to the top of my list after reading We Were Liars, Patrick Ness, who can really do no wrong, Markus Zusak, Maureen Johnson, honestly, there couldn’t be a more perfect collection for me than this one. Which I guess is why I’m a little disappointed. While there were a few original stories, there was also extracts from other books that I had either already read or was planning to read, I was hoping for some more new material from some of these guys. This sometimes meant that the action felt like it was starting in the middle of something larger, which had me a little lost at times. I guess I just had such high expectations because of the amount of love I have for the people that contributed to this book, also I have a huge amount of respect for Malorie Blackman, I properly loved her when I was at school!

Things that I did really love about this anthology is the amount of diversity within the pages, there were stories from LGBT points of views, there were POC, it was all in there, I know from reading Malorie Blackman stories in the past that she often features a diverse cast of characters, so it was nice to see so many of them all in one place.

The cover is all kinds of beautiful and this is a perfect valentines gift for the bookish partner in your life.