How I Made it to Eighteen is a YA graphic novel written by Tracy White.
Stacy Black in the (barely) fictional version of author Tracy White. Stacy is only seventeen years old but has had a nervous breakdown. She can no longer feel happy, and she wants to change that. So she checks into Golden Meadows Mental Hospital to get better. It's told in comic book style squares and cartoon drawings.
I've never read a graphic novel that dealt with such personal, serious issues - I immediately was intrigued by the interesting, unique idea of it, and that never changed as I read through it quite quickly.
The drawings have a blunt, movie-like quality to them - though that sounds odd since the drawings aren't necessarily true-to-life and have a more cartoon feel. It's just the way Stacy curls up on her chair during therapy, the way only the eyes of a character move between two squares, and other noticeably realistic details cause the entire graphic novel to feel, well, real. It's an achievement, that's for sure.
Then there is the fact that How I Made it to Eighteen is a page-turner of a story. I felt for Stacy quickly and felt a need to know what would happen next - 50 page segments would fly by in amazing speed.
The story is blunt and raw in its honesty. Every minutiae of the relationships and dialogue ring true and end up being both saddening and inspiring. I definitely recommend reading it.
However, I would recommend getting it at the library - if only because the $16.99 asking price for this new hardcover seems a bit much for 150 pages of comic book style storytelling. It just goes by so quickly that it seems way too expensive, to me, to spend that much on it.
Which leads me to my only other complaint about How I Made it to Eighteen, which is that I wanted way more. I felt the story could continue for at least another 50 pages, if not more.
But this complaint also is a compliment, since it shows I was involved in Stacy's story.
So, go check it out. Don't think you'll regret it. ;)