Capstone/Thesis Title



Winter 2018

Upload Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Primary Advisor/Thesis Chair

Gary Schmidt

Degree Name



A signal lights the night sky of a dreary gothic city and sets a teenage boy on an investigative quest for truth and justice…

The tragic, senseless murder of Ethan Carmichael’s mother by organized crime leaves him yearning for closure. To this end, he seeks justice at the cost of his other relationships. And while he and his father need each other more than ever, their reaction to the grief only fuels their estrangement. Set against a noir cityscape with a caped vigilante, THE SIGNAL explores themes of grief and justice, friendship and family, and takes a deeper look at the deep emotional and psychological effects of a traumatic loss.

Even young children experience horrible events and tragic loss in their lives. They need stories that show the main character and their families struggling with similar levels grief. It is meant to be an upper middle grade novel (though sometimes accused of being a lower YA novel) that approaches the topic of traumatic loss and grief through a fictional lens that makes the subject matter approachable but still poignant.


Middle grade, Speculative fiction