Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
"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."- summary from Amazon

Schindler's debut is a sight to behold- the subject matter of schizophrenia is handled realistically and with care, working well with the poetic nature of the prose. It's a book that's so easy to get lost in and, for me at least, I really lost myself in Aura's life, as if I were going through those things instead of her. I've never gone through anything like what Aura has, but the way Schindler weaves her tale, it's hard to not get so emotionally invested in Aura's life.

I loved all the character relationships and interactions, and it was clear who all these characters were just from that. Aura's voice was incredible too- as the novel progresses, her thoughts and words just become more frantic and untangled because of the way she has to deal with her mom's deteriorating state of mind and how she's alone in all this. It was such a good way to show that slow change over the course of the book.

It's not all emotion though; there is a sprinkling of humor throughout the book, both in the actual story but also in the little chapter openers about schizophrenia, mainly in the beginning part of the book.

Overall, an amazing debut novel and one I think everyone should check out. I'm excited to read Schindler's next book, Playing Hurt, which is out next year.

FTC: Received paperback at ALA. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. I love this book. The writing was a great pleasure to read.

  2. I've wanted to read this so bad, ever since I saw Kristi's review! I'd never heard of it before but the cover is GORGEOUS. I'm definitely going to get a copy sometime.