Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Nicole Markotić


Adolescent, Death, Grief, Mourning, Teen, Young Adult



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This thesis examines the representations of death and mourning in a survey of twelve realistic, contemporary young adult novels. These authors open a dialogue between the text and its readers on the physical aspects of death by depicting character deaths through the use of corporeal language and imagery. The portrayal of mourning that follows each death reflects an active-based process that sees principle characters working through their oscillating emotions and grief. This process effectively illustrates how those characters strive to maintain a connection to the deceased, which allows readers to evaluate their own notions of bereavement. This study proceeds with an exploration of how principal characters respond to the changes in their lives that arise following a death, and concludes with the assertion that contemporary young adult literature provides a social space for readers to participate in shared mourning practices with the texts’ protagonists.