Black Box

Black Box

by Julie Schumacher
4.3 16


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Black Box by Julie Schumacher

WHEN DORA, ELENA’S older sister, is diagnosed with depression and has to be admitted to the hospital, Elena can’t seem to make sense of their lives anymore. At school, the only people who acknowledge Elena are Dora’s friends and Jimmy Zenk—who failed at least one grade and wears blackevery day of the week. And at home, Elena’s parents keep arguing with each other. Elena will do anything to help her sister get better and get their lives back to normal—even when the responsibility becomes too much to bear.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440240648
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 03/09/2010
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 555,836
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Julie Schumacher is the author of three books for middle-grade readers. This is her first YA novel. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Black Box 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
This is a powerful read, and a true peek into the world of depression and how it effects other people. Elena is strong, and it is hard to experience her sister's depression and the fallout, but it is such an important topic. She makes some mistakes, and it shows good things to do and not to... As relating to her sister, her family, and keeping her life outside of Dora going. It is such a hard balance. Jimmy is a great addition, and even though I began to suspect his big secret, I really loved how he stepped up and was there for Elena. This is a quick and poignant read that I def recommend.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
BLACK BOX by Julie Schumacher is a heartfelt and moving portrait of teen depression. The author captures the pain of trying to rescue someone you love when you do not know how to save them.

Elena's otherwise typical teenage life is suddenly a lot more difficult when her older sister, Dora, is hospitalized for depression. There is nothing Elena wants more in the world than to see her sister happy again, back to her old self, when they used to play silly games and enjoy the little things in life.

The bond between the sisters is so powerful that Elena knows she is the only one Dora trusts. It is rare for a younger sibling to be put in the position of watching over an older one, but Elena rises to the occasion with an intense love and determination to protect Dora from herself. Soon, Dora's depression becomes all Elena can think about, smothering all other interests and feelings.

Family dynamics make the situation even more stressful, especially when Elena's parents try to keep Dora's depression as secret as possible. When Elena is not included in her mother and father's discussions about her sister, Elena loses her trust for her parents. However, she vows to do her part in helping her sister recover, with or without her parents' help.

Turning to a new friend at school, Jimmy, Elena tries to understand what Dora is going through and what she can do to help. Jimmy and Elena form the closest kind of friendship - the kind where it is comforting just to sit on the phone without talking, knowing that the other person is there for you.

Short, direct chapters emphasize Elena's anxiety and sense of ever-increasing urgency for her sister's condition. Though the story is told solely from Elena's perspective, readers can sympathize with and understand both Elena's and Dora's struggles.

Schumacher portrays depression as a disease that torments loved ones of the depressed with almost the same ferocity as the depressed themselves. Dora is the one fighting depression - but Elena is also suffocating from the pressure.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars. I found myself laughing and commenting to this CD’s all the way through as this family deals with the affects of depression. I picked this set up at the library on a whim, loving the cover and the fact that it wasn’t too long. There were days I was anxious to get back into the car so I could pick this story back up and other times, I ended up sitting in the car long after I had arrived at my destination just so I could hear more of the novel. Some of the chapters are extremely short but those short chapters pack a powerful punch. As Dora is diagnosed with depression, her family begins to feel the ramifications of this medical condition. Her sister Elena is questioned/harassed by individuals at their school and as she tells the story, the weight of her sister’s diagnosis seems to weigh her down. Their once peaceful household is now home to arguing, irritation and anger. I don’t know whether I enjoyed this novel immensely because it was an audio or because of the emotions and truths that spilled forth from the speakers but the way the author included all aspects affecting this family was wonderfully done. Elena is thrown a lifeline by Jimmy, a boy whose circle she hadn’t ever cross but Jimmy knows things and they way those two connected, it was exactly what Elena needed. This one will stay with me a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although fictiion, this story sucks you in and shares the very real struggles of depression.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. It's such a good read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book was wonderful. Though i am young(11 years old) and people may think its useless coming from the mind of a child this book really opened my eyes. It showed me depression isn't something you kid about and the characters in the story sort of learned that in their own way. Dora suffers and Elena is suffering her sisters suffering, Jimmy is supposed to be there to help but how could he? This book keeps you interested in some ways and in others it gets you a little lost but it does tell a story about a girl and her family that you might want to know(even though it's not real.)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, this book is truely amazing its entertaining, you can feel the emotional issues with the family as you turn the page. I could really feel for the younger sister Elana, the things she went through. And Dora reading the book just made me want to help her. This is a great book and I recomend it to anyone who likes challenging emotional stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one that icould not put down i read at school night morning lunch and even at sleepovers. Scince this book i own every schumacher book and they are all amazing books i recomend them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is amazing and awesome! I read it in a half of a day and could not put it down!!!!