Year of Graduation

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MFA: Children's Literature

Directing Professor

Hillary Homzie

Abstract

This project explores the lack of representation of mental illness in young adult speculative fiction. While there has been a marked increase in protagonists with mental illness of varying degrees in contemporary young adult literature, there remains a void within young adult science fiction and fantasy. The Moon Rock Chronicles: Book One follows Prince Michael in a world of magic that exiles any who do not meet a preconceived notion of perfection. Michael suffers from ADHD, anxiety, and other comorbid disorders, which he desperately tries to hide in order to escape punishment from his father and exile from his home. To make matters worse, his magical abilities, which are required for citizenship in his world, are different. Unaware of how coveted his unique abilities are, he longs to just be normal. When he accidentally shows the world his special power, it isn’t long before an unscrupulous council member tears him away from his home, invades his mind, and forces him to serve evil. Ultimately rescued by an unlikely heroine and reunited with his grandfather, Michael learns he must embrace his unique abilities and convince his people that differently abled persons should still be valued and can even save the world.

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