Journal of Undergraduate Research


graphic novel, mental health problems, young adult literature, healing the hurt






Since I was sixteen, I have struggled with self-harm and depression. One of my coping mechanisms was reading. I would read and read and read in search of a solution where my sadness and despondent nature would be whisked away into a made up world where all the problems were solvable and light always won out over darkness. However, many of the books I read simply thrust me deeper into my depressive state. Young adult literature is always and forever on the cusp of breaking the social taboos that exist in society, which often mean that these books deal with very real, adult problems that youth may or may not be ready to deal with. That was the case for me. Books like “Cut,” “Thirteen Reasons Why,” and “Speak” are all examples of young adult books that helped inspire my project.