Ab(solutely) Normal: Short Stories That Smash Mental Health Stereotypes (Hardcover)

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Ab(solutely) Normal: Short Stories That Smash Mental Health Stereotypes By Nora Shalaway Carpenter (Editor), Rocky Callen (Editor) Cover Image
By Nora Shalaway Carpenter (Editor), Rocky Callen (Editor)
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Channeling their own experiences, sixteen exceptional authors subvert mental health stereotypes in a powerful and uplifting collection of fiction.

A teen activist wrestles with protest-related anxiety and PTSD. A socially anxious vampire learns he has to save his town by (gulp) working with people. As part of her teshuvah, a girl writes letters to the ex-boyfriend she still loves, revealing that her struggle with angry outbursts is related to PMDD. A boy sheds uncontrollable tears but finds that in doing so he’s helping to enable another’s healing. In this inspiring, unflinching, and hope-filled mixed-genre collection, sixteen diverse and notable authors draw on their own lived experiences with mental health conditions to create stunning works of fiction that will uplift and empower you, break your heart and stitch it back together stronger than before. Through powerful prose, verse, and graphics, the characters in this anthology defy stereotypes as they remind readers that living with a mental health condition doesn’t mean that you’re defined by it. Each story is followed by a note from its author to the reader, and comprehensive back matter includes bios for the contributors as well as a collection of relevant resources.

With contributions by:
Mercedes Acosta * Karen Jialu Bao * James Bird * Rocky Callen * Nora Shalaway Carpenter * Alechia Dow * Patrick Downes * Anna Drury * Nikki Grimes * Val Howlett * Jonathan Lenore Kastin * Sonia Patel * Marcella Pixley * Isabel Quintero * Ebony Stewart * Francisco X. Stork

About the Author

Nora Shalaway Carpenter is the author of The Edge of Anything, a Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of the Year and Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year. She is the contributing editor of the acclaimed anthology Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America, which was named an NPR Best Book of the Year and a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, among numerous other honors. Nora Shalaway Carpenter lives in North Carolina.

Rocky Callen is the author of the YA novel A Breath Too Late, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of the Year and a Chicago Public Library Best Book and was featured in The Mujerista’s 2020 list of the ten best young adult books by Latinx authors. A former behavioral coach and a passionate mental health advocate, she founded the HoldOn2Hope Project, which unites creatives in suicide prevention. Rocky Callen lives outside of Washington, DC.

Praise For…

Ab(solutely) Normal is a beautiful, funny, honest, heart-aching, heart-affirming read, one I know I’ll go back to again and again. Sixteen extraordinary authors with one powerful message: you are enough, you are seen, you are not alone. Dear readers everywhere, you need this book!
—Jennifer Niven, #1 New York Times best-selling author of All the Bright Places

Ab(solutley) Normal is a vital resource for young people and their caregivers. This book opens the conversation and crushes the stigma—a compassionate and beautiful exploration of the reality of our country’s mental health. I highly recommend it.
—A.S. King, author of the Michael L. Printz Award winner Dig

The sixteen fierce and radiant stories in Ab(solutely) Normal provide powerful affirmation for young people everywhere seeking to overcome stereotypes of what it means to live—and thrive—with a mental health condition. Editors Carpenter and Callen have pulled off the miraculous here, exploding taboos about mental health while assembling an anthology that’s as entertaining to read as it is poignant and life-affirming. By turns cathartic, inspiring, authentic, and deeply felt, this is easily the most essential book of the year for teen readers. Don’t miss it!
—Rob Costello, author of The Dancing Bears: Queer Fables for the End Times and contributing editor of Queer Beasties: 15 Weird & Wondrous Monster Tales

Product Details
ISBN: 9781536224146
ISBN-10: 1536224146
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: April 11th, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English