Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review and Giveaway! A BLUE SO DARK by Holly Schindler

The gorgeous cover!
Debut author time! Today we're spotlighting A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler.
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.

My verdict:
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.

*** Did you review A Blue So Dark on your blog? Leave a link in the comments!

Linky Goodness:
* Holly Schindler's FNC guest post on Balancing Writing, Life, and Multiple Projects.
* Holly's website and blog.
BUY A Blue So Dark!

But wait... there's more!

We're giving away a SIGNED copy of A Blue So Dark!
(Thanks, Holly!)



  1. Sounds like a great read. My family has dealt with mental illness issues and I've been happy to see them come to light more in recent fiction as a realistic family issue for teenagers. Wish I'd had something to relate to when I was that age!

    BTW, great giveaway!
    Lindsey :)

  2. This sounds like an amazing book. I'll definitely be checking it out one way or another. Thanks for shining the light!

  3. I so wanna read this one it hits close to home for me and looks amazing too !

  4. I'm still in the midst of reading this one although from page one I could already tell it was going to be fantastic. The writing is so gorgeous.

  5. Awesome contest, I am a new follower.

  6. The more I hear about this book, the more I want to read it! Sounds great -- thanks for your review. :)

  7. I've read some great things about this book so I had to add it to my list.
    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  8. Sounds like a refreshing summer read!

  9. I really enjoyed this book & loved that it's in the city I live in!

  10. So glad you guys are excited about the contest! I love it when people who've already read (or are reading) a book take the time to comment on reviews about how much they're enjoying it -- that's when you know a book is great!

  11. I know it said links not required, but I only feel right when providing links.

    Tweeted: http://twitter.com/cc9309/status/17855622975

    Sidebar: http://wordsonpaperya.blogspot.com

    Thanks for the great contest. I REALLY want to read this one. I love the cover, and I fell in love with the storyline.


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