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How I Made It to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story
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How I Made It to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story

3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  788 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
How do you know if you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown? For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital. Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing. Based on the author ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Roaring Brook Press
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(showing 1-30 of 1,610)
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Sep 29, 2010 Jasmine rated it it was ok
Shelves: american
so lets be honest there is nothing that is more productive to well everything else than an assignment that you don't really want to do. My assignment? a paper on neurotransmission. I thought that I didn't want to write this paper because I didn't understand it but I was wrong, I understand it fine in fact the book and I are fighting because I am having trouble finding the spelling for the terms that I want and it annoys me. The fact being I am 1 single spaced page into a 5 page double spaced pap ...more
This is a somewhat fictionalized (lightly, the author says) account of the author's stay in a mental hospital after having a breakdown. There's plenty going on in her life: depression, an eating disorder, drugs, isolation from family and friends, and a boyfriend who is both controlling and detached from the relationship. The story is completely contained to Stacy's stay in the hospital (Stacy is the author's alter ego here) so we have limited details on how she got there, and none after her disc ...more
Mar 02, 2012 Marissa rated it really liked it
From the cover and the art style of this book, on first glance I thought it was going to be a ya graphic novel along the lines of Ariel Schrag's chronicles of being a teenager, but it is actually a fairly dark, honest account of Tracy White's long stay in a mental hospital as an adolescent. I feel like there has been a recent rash of movies and books talking about mental illness in teenagers and I think it is a really difficult topic to take on candidly without it becoming too cliched, too overw ...more
Aug 22, 2010 Steve rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Would have liked a little more to have happened in this book. The moment she gets close to a breakthrough the story just stops. The art style is a bit simplistic, which works for it sometimes but falls short others. The fact that the book focuses so much on the perspectives of her four friends is another thing that kind of works for it but also kind of doesn't. And the fact that she changes her character's name to Stacy Black instead of Tracy White kind of got under my skin. If you're going to t ...more
Matt Ryan
Jan 08, 2015 Matt Ryan rated it it was ok
How I made it to Eighteen is supposedly a true story about the author's experiences in a mental hospital while she is going through depression. She tells us what exactly seems to be her problem, and how she tries to cope with it by using drugs and other bootleg methods, as well as the effects that her depression is having on her. Her friends, and the mental institute is trying to help her with her problem.

I mean, I liked the concept, I figured it would be interesting to enter the mind of someone
Jan 26, 2016 Sasha rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, 2016
Don't get me wrong - I liked this. It's a 95% true autobiographical account of a girl who checked herself into a mental health hospital and stayed longer than she expected. Like other books about depression and the slow crawl up from its depths (with its seemingly endless pitfalls), it's not exactly riveting, even with its devastating reveals. BUT. This is a book that clearly was cathartic to its author, and I respect and appreciate that greatly. It's an important work for that reason, and I fee ...more
Mike Fiore
Tracy White's mostly true story of her experience in a mental hospital and the troubles she went through is a story to behold. The simplistic and scarce artwork is just enough to help the text convey her story. It's a story of a young adult's downspiral into depression and her recovery from the pit, but it's not a pick-me-up, happy-go-lucky recovery story.

While this is a fantastic book, it doesn't leave much to the imagination. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who may be set of
Jan 16, 2011 Mark rated it liked it
Stacy Black checks herself into Golden Meadows Hospital in an attempt to feel happy again, after putting her fist through a window at her apartment. This graphic novel follows Stacy's time at the hospital, as she adjusts to psychotherapy, deals with her issues, and comes to grip with her bulimia, even as she advises a fellow patient against it. The book flashes back effectively to moments from Stacy's past, which set her on her current path.

This is a pretty straight-forward story, but that's no
Magg {Morgan} Paukner
Dec 10, 2015 Magg {Morgan} Paukner rated it really liked it
I picked this up after reading Little Fish by Ramsey Beyer because the covers looked similar. I know, I know, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I did. Part of me connected with the main character, but part of me felt slightly confused. I was left with more questions than answers, honestly and that disappointed me. Other than that, this was a very real story that was shared in a lovely format.
Aug 07, 2010 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comix
I've followed Tracy White's online comic "Traced" for a couple of years and was really looking forward to seeing and reading this book. I was not disappointed.

The art is White's typically minimal, yet deeply evocative, style. A lot of emotion lies underneath a few ethereal brush strokes. She also inserts four of Stacy's friends into the story who give their observations of events during different parts of the drama as it unfolds. In the process, they tell as much about themselves as about Stacy.
Dec 16, 2010 Additeenlibrarian rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Autobiographical graphic novel, written and drawn by the author. Engaging story of author's near-nervous-breakdown and time spent in a mental hospital when she was 17. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from her medical records and ends with her four friends responding to a question about Stacy (main character). I would have liked it more if there'd been more evidence of Stacy changing, getting better, responding differently to the world, but there isn't much -- her progress is shown primarily ...more
Stacy Fetters
Mar 20, 2016 Stacy Fetters rated it it was ok
Stacy is 17 and has a mental breakdown. She finally admits herself and this is her tale.
Everyone who thinks that they had an unusual life, always makes a grapic novel memior. Her life isn't all that glamorous or even that different. With so many people thinking similar things, I've read this book so many times before. This really seems to be an occurring theme with me lately.
Kind of interesting with lots of disappointment piled on a very normal life.
I'm glad she got the help she needed, but ma
Sep 14, 2011 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Another graphic coming of age story. Lots of the usual elements: drugs, self-loathing, mental illness, eating disorders, parental loathing, you get the picture. Does anyone ever draw/write about living through a fairly normal high school experience, or is it only the most misery-laden lives that are chronicled and that we find interesting? Still, I enjoyed the book, the minimalist drawing style worked, and I liked the Greek-chorus of friends who are interviewed at various stages about their take ...more
Apr 08, 2011 Andria rated it really liked it
I'm rarely enthusiastic about a graphic novel, but give me one that's also a memoir of teenage mental illness and addiction set in a treatment facility with a snarky female lead, and I'm already halfway there. Add simple, expressive, and quirky line drawings, and I'm sold. I've been reading graphic novels recently to become more familiar with the genre, and really enjoyed this one. The black & white illustrations perfectly complement the text, set the tone, and help tell the story of a young ...more
I liked the simplistic line drawings and the slices of life from a hospital White includes. In some ways, though, this felt a little over-produced. Each chapter starts with a very graphic-designed few pages including how long Tracy'd been in the institution, and an excerpt from her medical records. I wanted more details about how she got there, how she got ahold of her records (maybe I've just seen that Winona Ryder movie too often), more the overarching story of her stay. It felt a little abrup ...more
Dec 24, 2014 Aaron rated it liked it
By far the thing I hated the most about this book was the author's profile picture at the end - the before and after pictures. I hate the implied message that if you dress gothic that means you're not happy, but if you look "normal", you are happy. Terrible message to send to teenagers.

I think this book was good at bringing up many of the issues that some high-schoolers (and people) struggle with. I think it's good at opening eyes of some of the more naive people at exactly what other people are
Aug 11, 2014 Kayla rated it really liked it
For her first book this wasn't bad. Tracy White's drawing style is simplistic and matter of fact, black and white if you will, which I think is important when dealing with a subject matter such as this. I found that the character's spoke naturally and didn't feel forced. I enjoyed the count on the amount of time Stacey was in rehab, and the notes that were from the medical files written by doctors and nurses. I also appreciated the interviews with Stacey's friends, all of these contributed to gi ...more
Sarah Laing
Sep 27, 2011 Sarah Laing rated it really liked it
This was a graphic novel about depression and bulemia that you could read in one sitting. I suppose I read it for voyeuristic reasons - it was promised to be 95% true, and fueled by 85% chocolate. 85% is my favourite. I admired the incredibly spare art - no backgrounds, barely a feature, and yet everyone was recognisable. She had a rhythm/structure about the book that kept it moving.
Oct 15, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
I thought this was an interesting account, but I wanted to know more about what happened to Stacey? Did she kick Eric in the shins?

Also, I found myself confusing some of the minor characters, and I wish the accounts of her friends were in a different font. The font that was used hurt my eyes, so I skimmed those parts....
Adele Griffin
Apr 02, 2010 Adele Griffin rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book, it was a little bit like reading from my own journal if I'd kept one back in the day. A fierce and fragile, wry and charming graphic novel that is as raw and true as any portrait of adolescence.
Jewels Emily
Nov 24, 2015 Jewels Emily rated it liked it
The ending was rushed.
This is a trimmed down version of my review, to view the full review visit The Book Ramble.

This book is put forward as the "mostly true" story of Tracy White's stay in a psychiatric hospital. The book deals with White's depression, eating disorder, drug addiction, and anxiety. It shows multiple sides of the issues with "input" from her friends, mother, and hospital records in regards to her health and the issues that she is meant to be dealing with while she in in the hospital.

I really did not l
Aug 31, 2014 Kate rated it liked it
I happened to pick up this graphic novel during work to pass some time. I had no idea that I was going to enjoy it so much and want to finish it. The title initially made me think the story was going to be funny anecdotes of high school life but instead was about how the character (based on the author) came to terms with her unhappiness. It was very sad...seeing people struggle with depression and addiction is hard, but seeing Stacey take the steps she needed to help herself was ultimately uplif ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the mostly-true story of a teenaged girl who checked herself into a mental institution and got stuck there until realizing that she has to actively try to get better. Stacy had already been to rehab for her drug use, but it didn't stop the depression. Now that she's in the hospital, she's falling back into old habits; withdrawing and withholding. It takes months and several different hair cuts before Stacy begins to open up and begin to talk. When she finally did, she turned it into a co ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 18, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

This is the author's memoir of when she had a nervous breakdown when she was 17 and checked herself into a mental institution. She admits freely to taking artistic licence with the truth for the sake of the story but as the title states it is mostly true. Told from the point of view of Stacy Black, 17yo high school graduate with no intentions of going to college she has moved out on her own
Apr 14, 2011 Rachel rated it it was ok
How I Made It to Eighteen is the dramatic story of Stacy Black’s account of her stay in a mental institution. The author uses graphics and multiple perspectives to tell the story that she claims is mostly based on the true event of her own mental breakdown and struggles with bulimia.

Personally, I did not particularly care for this novel, though I can see its value for students who struggle with depression or bulimia. I found the protagonist to be overly whiney, and, for that reason, it was hard
May 20, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, chs
How do you know if you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown? For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital. Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing. Based on the author's experiences, How I Made it to Eighteen is a frank portrait of what it's like to struggle with self-esteem, body image issu ...more
Aug 11, 2010 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, graphic-novels
Based on the author’s experiences, this book takes a straight-on look at depression and self-destruction. Seventeen-year-old Stacy Black checked herself into a mental hospital to help deal with her anger and depression. She had just put her fist through a glass window. Stacy hated the hospital but knew that she had to be there to survive, so she stayed. As she spent time there, she developed new friends who helped her in her recovery and in being honest with herself. Told in graphic novel format ...more
Kristen Fiore
Mar 14, 2012 Kristen Fiore rated it liked it
When I first started to read this graphic novel, I wasn’t that into it. As I kept reading, I wanted to learn more about Stacy Black. She is a seventeen year old teenager who has a nervous breakdown and ends up smashing a window. From the way the graphic novel portrayed it, I almost thought she jumped out the window, but then she was alive in the next panel. Stacy checks herself into a mental hospital in hopes to get help for her problems. She struggles and has been struggling with body issues an ...more
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