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The Dark Matter of Mona Starr: BOOK Launch PARTY

April 11 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Come join local author Laura Lee Gulledge in celebrating the launch of her new YA graphic novel, The Dark Matter of Mona Starr!

This FREE family-friendly event will feature hands-on art activities inspired by the book, as well as a station where guests can learn how to make their own self care plan.

PLUS there will be a live reading, projected drawing videos, free door prizes, and celestial inspired cookies by Bowerbird Bakeshop! Drinks from Potter’s Craft Cider and signed books will be available for purchase.


The graphic novel is about a depressed teen named Mona who is struggling with her “Matter,” which is how Gulledge personifies depression. Gulledge strives to use her stories to help inspire readers to overcome their inner doubts and fears through modeling healing, expression, and Artner love. In creating the book Gulledge received local support from McGuffey Art Center, numerous Patron supporters, and a SOUP grant through New City Arts Initiative.

“I’m excited that Mona’s story is part of a broader conversation about our collective mental health, especially for young people. Some have even coined this new sub-genre of comics as ‘graphic medicine.’ I think comics as an art form can express such emotionally charged content in a uniquely visceral, accessible way. For often times when I’m struggling I don’t have the right words to express how I’m feeling…but I do have pictures.”

Reviews of The Dark Matter of Mona Starr:

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

Quietly arresting and ultimately empowering. This should appeal to older readers of Raina Telgemeier’s Guts. (2019)—Kirkus Reviews

The realistic, grayscale art is evocative in its simplicity…Gulledge is an inspired, empathetic storyteller. —
School Library Journal, Starred Review

…this story critically normalizes self-care as its protagonist learns to become vulnerable and advocate for herself and her needs. —Publisher’s Weekly

LAURA LEE GULLEDGE is an Eisner Award nominated author, illustrator, and teaching artist. She is the creator of the YA graphic novels Page by Paige and Will & Whit in addition to her interactive book Sketchbook Dares: 24 Ways to Draw Out Your Inner Artist. Laura Lee also enjoys exploring comics journalism, interactive event production, contemplative dance, street art, and developing the Will & Whit DIY musical. She is based in Charlottesville and found online at whoislauralee.com.


April 11
1:30 pm - 4:00 pm