The Dark Matter of Mona Starr (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In this uplifting graphic novel, which I absolutely adored, “matter” is what Mona calls the uncomfortable, depressing, and at times, painful feeling that engulfs her at various times during her day. It’s depicted as a dark blob that mocks her and insults her, making her feel less then. Mona documents her “matter” in her drawings and poems, but hides them from the world, because she’s afraid of how others will react to both her and her art. But with help from old and new friends, Mona finds the courage to put herself out there and connect with the world and discovers what was really bothering her. You can document your own journey after reading this with both prompts and pages at the end of the book.

— Jennifer

About the Author

Laura Lee Gulledge is the author of the graphic novels Will & Whit and Page by Paige, which was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award. She is also a teaching artist as seen through her interactive book Sketchbook Dares: 24 Ways to Draw Out Your Inner Artist. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Visit her online at

Praise For…

"Introspective, honest, and hopeful, this is a realistic look at the impacts of mental illness that so many youth experience." 

— Booklist

"This immersive portrayal of a sensitive teen learning to live with mental illness will earn nods of recognition from readers coping with anxiety or depression but will also resonate with young people facing any fear."

— School Library Journal

"Quietly arresting and ultimately empowering."

— Kirkus Reviews

"Critically normalizes self-care as its protagonist learns to become vulnerable and advocate for herself and her needs."

— Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781419742002
ISBN-10: 1419742000
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: April 7th, 2020
Pages: 192