Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Research Sponsor

Dr. Julie Drew

First Reader

Dr. Patrick Chura

Second Reader

Dr. Heather Braun


Return to Sender is a fictional short story that illustrates the potential consequences of neglecting to take others seriously. River Ellison, a high school senior at St. Jude’s Academy struggling with depression and habitual self-harm, receives a note from his peer regarding his thoughts on suicide. His ordinary school day transforms into twenty-four hours of repercussions that force River to see his peer for what she is—an equal. Prefacing the short story, my critical essay explains why I find C.D. Payne, John Green, Jesse Andrews, and J.D. Salinger so inspiring to the young adult literature world. I also analyze how this literature was useful to me during my time as an undergraduate at the University of Akron. Following the essay, a self-analysis describes the writing process for Return to Sender as well as the concepts I employed while creating the story. My goal for this project is to develop my writing skills in the vast genre of young adult literature in order to broaden the understanding of mental illness in young adults and the treatments necessary to heal and educate individuals.