Fall 2023

The Beasts in Your Brain

Understanding and Living with Anxiety and Depression

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

It can be hard to find the words to describe the icky feelings that seem to come from nowhere and sap all your joy and energy. You can tell that your brain just isn’t pulling off the same tasks as others, and you’re constantly bouncing between feeling nothing and feeling the weight of everything. It’s hard enough to admit that you’re struggling, but how do you even begin to navigate getting help when it feels like there’s an enormous gap between you, your peers, and the adults in your life who keep saying they want to support you but just don’t seem to get it?

This is not your doctor’s dry health pamphlet or a preachy self-care listicle. The Beasts in Your Brain is a guide and companion equally for you and your loved ones, here to provide that essential first dose of information, understanding, and validation about mental illness and how it affects the young people of today. This book knows how much harder things are for you and your generation, how out-of-touch much of the advice out there is (after all, how are you supposed to “just unplug” when more than half your social life is conducted online?), and how identity, circumstances, and stigma can affect your experiences.

Though they might be scary or seem unstoppable, the beasts can be defeated. It will be hard work, but it is not work you will ever have to do alone. This book will be your first partner in your battle against the beasts, reminding you that there’s always hope and humor to be found in openly talking about the realities of living with mental illness. Together with the support of your loved ones and the practical knowledge and tools you will learn in this book, you can win this fight.

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Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Social Studies, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Expository Literature, Diverse Books: Mental Health & Neurodiversity, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2023
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Zest Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 144
Publication Date 2023-09-05
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS YAN051060, YAN052050, YAN024090
Dewey 152.4/6
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Original artwork, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Starred Reviews, Step-by-step instructions, and Table of contents

Author: Katherine Speller

Katherine Speller is an editor, writer, researcher and journalist based in Brewster, New York. She is also the Editorial Director of Evergreen and Growth at Parents. Her work covering health, wellness, reproductive rights, social issues, politics, technology, sex and relationships, astrology and pop culture have appeared in MTV News, Women's Health, Bitch, The Daily Dot, WNYC, Public Radio International (PRI), Bustle, and more.

The Beasts in Your Brain: An Interview with Illustrator Harshad Marathe

The Beasts in Your Brain: Understanding and Living with Anxiety and Depression by Katherine Speller is a clever, approachable, and empathetic read for young adults and their loved ones. Each chapter reminds readers that they are not alone in their feelings, teaches them the science of… View →


School Library Journal

“A solid, informative guide for parents and teens that is a beacon of positivity, emphasizing the importance of resilience and healing amid the epidemic of mental health issues prevalent today.” —starred School Library Journal


“Comforting, calming, and duly documented, this timely offering has multiple applications.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“A valuable guide for teens struggling with mental health and the people who care about them.” —Kirkus Reviews