It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
It's Kind of a Funny Story is about a boy named Craig Gilner, a student at one of New York City's top high schools, Executive Pre-Professional. But it's all too much for him, the stress and the homework and the pressure to do everything perfectly, and the anxiety developed into a depression that was taking over his life. He couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep, he couldn't manage to have a conversation with anyone or do his homework. It escalates to a point where Craig wants to kill himself, he is contemplating suicide when he take's 1-800-SUICIDE's advice and checks himself into an emergency room. Before he knows it, Craig has become a member of the community at 6 North, his local hospital's mental ward. There, he finds people who have the same problems as him, and others whose lives are considerably worse due to serious mental illnesses. He fits in with the people there, and they help him overcome the depression caused by all the stress and pressure he experiences at school. At 6 North, Craig is able to focus on himself, and what he wants to do with his life. He finds salvation in art and drawings and the new friends he has made and is able to sort out his life.
One of the lessons that Craig learns as he goes on this journey to overcome his depression is that sometimes your mental well-being is worth more than getting the best grades in the best schools. Craig teaches us that it is important to consider your own happiness as you go through life. Craig was miserable because all of the pressure made him think that if he didn't get into the Good Highschool, he wouldn't get into the Good College, and from there wouldn't get a Good Job, and wouldn't be able to raise a Good Family. Craig learns that sometimes it is more important to think about how all the stress and pressure makes you feel and how to do something about your life if you are in a rut or need to make a change.
I would recommend this book to anyone 13 and up because there is some explicit content and language, and the whole concept of contemplating suicide and how the depression affects you isn't for those looking for a light-hearted read. This book has an important message, and it is very powerful and moving. I really felt connected to the main character as he tries to pick up the broken pieces of his life. It is almost liberating to read as he overcomes his depression and is able to reclaim his life. I really think that lots of people would enjoy this book and that it is a very important one to read, but it isn't for those who aren't ready to stomach dark, heavy concepts. It is really beautifully dark in a way.