Troubled Teens and Monstrous Others: Problematic Depictions of Characters with Mental Illness in Young Adult Literature

  • Sarah Thaller Washington State University


Young adult literature has never shied away from taboo topics, particularly if the topics effect or concern adolescents. Recent studies have indicated that one fifth of the American population, about 50 million people including children and adults, live with some form of mental illness. Mental illness is clearly an issue that impacts young people, yet there are very few examples of authentic representations of characters with profound mental illness in young adult (YA) literature. This article discusses two texts that contribute to stereotypes about mental illness.


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