Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
The Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Lee Gulledge
Amulet Books / Abrams Books
April 7, 2020
ISBN: 9781419734236 (hardcover), 9781419742002 (paperback)
When Mona’s best friend Nash moves away, Mona is overcome with depression and anxiety which she calls her Matter. Her Matter gets in the way of her ability to make new friends and take on new challenges. With the help of therapy, art, writing, and new friendships, Mona is able to turn her Matter into genius.
Mona is a well-written character—even though she is facing depression and anxiety, she is incredibly self-reliant and self-aware. Gulledge takes Mona seriously as a character and it shows. Authentic, inspiring, and introspective, librarians will not want to miss an opportunity to share this book with teens. There is good representation of diverse characters in supporting roles. This incredible graphic novel features lovely grayscale art with splashes of yellow here and there. Gulledge is a talented artist who conveys emotion well. Many teen readers will see themselves in Mona’s descriptions of her feelings and see some ways that they can cope with their own Matter.
Readers who enjoyed previous 2021 GGNT nominees The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown and Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder will take to this book. Novel pairings include The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan and My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.