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BLACK BOX by Julie Schumacher


by Julie Schumacher

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-385-73542-1
Publisher: Delacorte

Sisters Dora and Elena had been as close as “right and left hands laced tight together,” but temperamentally they were completely different; Dora was the “storm on the horizon,” while Elena was “the needle that always pointed to steady.” When Dora begins suffering from a depression so profound that she becomes suicidal, Elena, who is starting a new school and lacks social support, puts her own life on hold as she struggles with the impossible task of trying to save another. Elena’s one friend and sounding board is the boy down the street, a nonconformist with a devastating secret, and their oddball, off-center dialogue is the high point of this heartrending novel. As Dora’s condition worsens, Elena is forced to choose between competing loyalties. Fittingly, the novel doesn’t resolve neatly; although it ends on a note of healing and hope, its strength is in the way it allows readers to see the messy, ugly complexities of mental illness and witness the collateral damage it wreaks on the entire family. (Fiction. 12 & up)