Mental Health: Week 7 - Gratitude Challenge

What book impacted you the most? Why did it make such an impact?

To be honest, I am not much of reader. Not books anyway. Growing up I was always a magazine reader. I loved articles and poetry. However, there are six books, that completely changed my life and how I viewed the world around me. I’d highly recommend each of them to anyone for they are raw, and cover tough topics and real life lessons that many need to hear.

On My Honor

In third grade, my class read the book On My Honor by Dane Bauer, and to say I was influenced by this book would be an understatement. I think this was one of the first heavy topic books I’ve ever read and it really opened my eyes to the reality of life and how precious our time on earth is truly is. This story is about two friends who lie to their parents on their whereabouts an in a result of reckless play, one of them dies. The living friend, then must conquer his demons and guilt about lying and confess the truth to both his family and his friends family. I guess this book taught me importance of honesty and being truthful with not only my parents, but everyone in my life. Although the truth can be painful, it is a lot easier to handle than a pile of lies, and misconceptions.



In fourth grade, we explored a more creative version of story telling by reading the book FLIPPED written by Wendelin Van Draanen. In this book, the plot it told by two main characters, each sharing their point of view on their “he-said she-said” adolescent romance. Not only does this book have an entertaining story line but the author added amazing creative details by telling the same story from two different perspectives, helping us realize that no truth is honest truth. The truth always lies somewhere in the middle of the two perspectives. This book has since been turned into a motion picture, which was just as fun to watch as it was to read, really capturing the authors vision and staying true to the original story.

Trapped Between the Lash and the Gun


In fifth grade, I started to show a lot of more interest in my heritage and learning about my roots. With this in mind, my mom bought me a lot of books, regarding slavery and the horrendous conditions, my ancestors went through. One of the books, that has really stuck with me, was the book Trapped Between the Lash and Gun by Arvella Whitmore. In this fictional story, a young black boy by the name of Jordan is getting ready to join a gang, when his past calls him on a time travel adventure that would change his life forever. Jordan is called to his ancestors time line where he has to live as a slave and endure the threat of whiplash, salted wounds and separation from his family. This book, not only opened my eyes to the conditions of slavery, but also gave me a fresh perspective on slavery, and how even in the modernized world we live in, we can mentally enslave ourselves to people, jobs, and many other things, limiting our abilities and opportunities. Although we do not fear physical punishment, our mental health and corporate enslavement can still kill our souls.


The Giver

The next book that brought a fresh perspective to my life was the infamous book, The Giver by Lois Lowry. This soft science fiction novel, presents a world that seems like a utopia. With everyone equally living and equally employed, there is absolutely no crime, no hardships, no feelings, nothing. Just blank minds, aimlessly doing what they are told, to help create the perfect world. We quickly learn how dysfunctional this “perfect world” is by following Jonah, and his journey to find the truth. This story is great mix of The Truman Show and the Maze Runner, leaving plenty of suspense and carrying out an intriguing story line. This book has also been turned into a motion picture. The Movie is very powerful, however, they left out many important details that the book provided, making the movie a little less intense.


The Great Gatsby

My freshman of year of high school, I was introduced to The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. This hopelessly romantic story instantly gained a spot in my heart for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was the dedication that Jay Gatsby had to winning Daisy’s heart, or maybe it was the honest truth that sometimes, love will not win. I related to many of the characters for different reasons, and found myself understanding and empathizing with everyone in the story. Except for Tom. Tom was an arrogant asshole, who didn’t deserve the “happy” ending he receives. This book was also turned into a movie and to be honest, I am obsessed with the movie! They did a fabulous job with character development, costuming and modern twist of music!




If you want an easy read that is real, full of honesty and uncomfortably true, check out the book WTF a novel by Peter Lerangis. Many times, I have read book written by adults, but targeted for teens, and the realities are just painfully untrue. They are either overly dramatized to the point of it being a soap opera, or it is painting a pretty pretty picture with rainbows and unicorns. With the unrealistic rom-com story lines and gag worthy love stories. As if the only thing teenagers have to live for are horrible proms and awkward first kisses. But this book, WTF, covers all of the realities teenagers are faced with. Peer pressure, wanting to fit in, wanting to succeed, etc. This story is about six kids, two parties, and one night that changes their lives forever. Some are driven with greed, and others with lust. One simply wants a night of good-old fashion fun and another is thirsty for freedom. Everyone gets what they want, but the consequences could be deadly. This book, helped me come to terms with myself, as a teenager, because none of us have it all figured out and this book, helped me feel less alone. This book also helped me confirm my morals and got me to think of how I would have handled myself in these situations. Helping me truly get to know and find myself.


Just a few Honorable mentions, that you may want to check out as well:

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper

November Blues by Sharon Draper

Isn’t it crazy how much a book can change your life?! All it does, is simply bring a fresh perspective to your mind, opening up flood-wave of questions and looking for answers. What books, have made an impact on your life? Let me know in the comments, and maybe I’ll have some new books to add to my reading list!



Meghanlee Phillips is the Editor-in-Chief of The Volk Magazine. With a passion for fashion, a love for writing and her lifestyle focused around mental health; she has been able to bring all three together to create the mid-western fashion/lifestyle magazine, The Volk. Keep up to date with her and her vibrant style by following @msmeghanlee (Instagram)