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LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW by David Levithan

LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW

By David Levithan

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-83468-4
Publisher: Knopf

Crafting a young adult novel about 9/11 is no easy feat. A triptych-like framework breaks the event into three experiences that reflect both those who witnessed it firsthand and those who saw it from a distance. Claire sees the attack from the windows of her downtown high school. Peter watches the second plane hit while standing in line at Tower Records. Jasper, home from college and hung over, oversleeps and sees the World Towers collapse over and over on television. Emotions swirl and love is found, lost and regained. The characters feel current within the historical setting, but the music and film references read more like 30-something ephemera instead of 2001 teen culture. Levithan stumbles most with voice: Often Peter’s and Claire’s lose their clarity and pack too much wistful adult wisdom. Though not pitch-perfect throughout, Jasper’s feels the strongest, especially when he struggles through a fumbling date with Peter. Their scenes together are the most memorable, probably because love stories are what the author does best. He’s got two here: one between the two boys, one between New York City and humanity. (Historical fiction. YA)