Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor

James Blaylock

Second Advisor

Justine Van Meter

Third Advisor

Richard Bausch


Reaching for Fairies is a New Adult fiction novel about the slow process of healing from generational trauma in young adulthood. The story is told through a close-third person perspective focused on the inner thoughts of Cadence Marsh, an insightful and people-pleasing 20-year-old with generalized anxiety and chronic depression, as she navigates the rocky process of realizing just how severe her family’s dysfunctions are. The world inside her head is always fighting itself, and the world outside is a field of social landmines. She’s somehow always alert and never aware. Years after a bad first attempt at therapy, Cadence gives a new therapist a second try who encourages her to indulge in her questions about what she comes to call the “mirrored voice” inside her head. When she reconnects with her childhood friend, Mona Stilt, Cadence starts her journey through the Otherworld and tries to not only survive but to live.