|The gorgeous cover!|
About A Blue So Dark:
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.
A Blue So Dark is a refreshing literary novel with a slow, lyrical buildup of the story. It wrapped me up in Aura's world, allowing me to see like her -- like an artist who feels compelled to create, and like a teenager afraid of becoming like her mentally ill parent.
The novel tackled the complexities and challenges of mental illness head-on, not sugarcoating or preaching. Though I've never had an experience like Aura's, I understood why she felt that seeking medical help for her mother would be a betrayal to their relationship, and how she got pulled deeper and deeper into a nightmarish situation. There are plenty of teenagers in the world who care for or parent a parent -- either because of addiction, mental illness, or a disability -- and this book gives them a voice.
Other strengths in the book are the subplots -- Aura's relationship with her best friend, who's raising a son on her own; her issues with her father, who pretty much divorced her along with her mother; a growing bond with her long-absent maternal grandmother; and the possibility of romance in the midst of all the chaos.
A Blue So Dark resonated with me long after I finished the last page. It's the kind of book you enjoy on a quiet Sunday afternoon, and the beautiful writing and solid characters make it well worth the read.
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* Holly Schindler's FNC guest post on Balancing Writing, Life, and Multiple Projects.
* Holly's website and blog.
* BUY A Blue So Dark!
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