A Blue So Dark

A Blue So Dark

4.4 9
by Holly Schindler
     
 

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Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Praise:

"Breathtakingly, gut-wrenchingly authentic...A haunting, realistic view of the melding of art, creativity, and mental illness and their collective impact on a young person’s life."
BOOKLIST, starred review

"Any story about mental illness will not be an easy read, but a very good one will reward those who stick with it. A Blue So Dark definitely falls in that category, so powerful is the empathy the author has built for her main character."SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

"An excellent first novel—a definite must-read. Schindler's debut novel is a lyrical tapestry...a work of poetry."VOYA

"This story provides a realistic viewpoint of a teen living with a schizophrenic parent. Schindler shows how one teen copes with her ill mother, while trying to juggle the demands of school."ALAN ONLINE

"A Blue So Dark is one of those rare books: It never shies away from the darkness yet still manages to find the light. A truly real, emotional, and honest read."
Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay it Forward and Love in the Present Tense

“Schindler’s lyrical debut explores the nightmare of mental illness in a voice that is sharp and funny and all her own. This is as real as teen fiction gets. A must-read."
Crissa-Jean Chappell, author of Total Constant Order

"A Blue So Dark is a raw, compelling and eloquent portrayal of art and madness, and the freeing, healing gift of creativity. Schindler's voice is brilliant and true."
Carrie Jones, New York Times bestselling author of Need and Captivate

GOLD MEDAL WINNER: IPPY Awards 2010 (Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction)

SILVER MEDAL WINNER: ForeWord Book of the Year Awards 2010 (Young Adult Fiction)

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jonatha Basye
Fifteen-year-old Aura is trying to hold her family together. Her mother, a gifted artist, is slowly losing her mind to schizophrenia. She paints with frantic grace and refuses to take the medication that could help heal her brain and psyche. Aura, utterly helpless, can do nothing but keep watch over her mother. Her father is no help, having created a new family for which to provide and care. Aura begins to lose sight of herself; skipping school more frequently, worrying about the household bills, and ignoring the troubles of her best friend, Janny. Aura also worries that her mother's mental illness will become her own. She is gifted in her own right, but does not allow herself to create the images that have destroyed her mother. The pressure builds until Aura can no longer contain the cacophony of troubles that have invaded her life. Schindler's debut novel is a lyrical tapestry. Lines like "late August had bloomed, like a giant sweaty marigold," and "the morning weighs so heavily on me that I feel like Atlas" are poetry in motion. Her first-person narrative is witty yet biting at times. Aura's voice is clear and sharp throughout the novel. She is burdened with her mother's mental illness and is holding on for dear life; something that the reader will feel with every word Aura says, every action that she makes. Readers will forget this is a fictional tale—it reads like truth. It is an excellent first novel—a definite must-read. Reviewer: Jonatha Basye
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose faces numerous problems that run the gamut from divorced parents and friendships gone sour to relationship angst and acne, but her biggest concern is her mother's battle with schizophrenia. Throughout November and December, Aura tries to keep her life on track, holding secret the dark tunnel she has fallen into as she follows her mother from one psychotic episode to another. Finally, unable to face her difficulties alone, Aura asks for help from her estranged grandmother. Schindler paints a realistic picture of living with a schizophrenic, describing the details from Aura's point of view. She also explores the teen's fear that one day she will succumb to the disease herself. At various times, Aura describes the way her stomach "fists" when the tension overwhelms her. This tension is transferred to readers, so powerful is the empathy the author has built for her main character. Teens will find themselves slowly breathing a sigh of relief as Aura's life returns to a semblance of normalcy, once her mother gets the help she needs. Any story about mental illness will not be an easy read, but a very good one will reward those who stick with it. A Blue So Dark definitely falls in that category.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738725802
Publisher:
Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
857,064
File size:
1 MB

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