January 16, 2015

The Law of Loving Others - Kate Axelrod

Young Adult
Pages: 240
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 8, 2015
Goodreads / Amazon

Hours after Emma returns home from boarding school, she realizes that her mom is suffering from a schizophrenic break. Suddenly, Emma’s entire childhood and identity is called into question.

Desperate for answers, Emma turns to her boyfriend, Daniel. Will he love her even if she goes crazy too? But it’s the lonely, brooding boy Emma meets while visiting her mother at the hospital who really understands Emma. Phil encourages Emma’s reckless need for hurt and pain in the face of all this change and she is soon caught in a complicated spiral of loss and mistrust.

In the span of just one winter break, Emma’s relationships alter forever and she is forced to see the wisdom in a line from Anna Karenina: “The law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”

NOTE: Somewhat more mature than the regular YA, it includes routine use of drugs, casual sex and constant f-words.

Very well written, this novel is a portrayal of mental-illness and how it affects those around the mentally ill person. Emma's fresh and honest voice was very powerful. Her realization and feelings about her mother's illness was insightful and thought-provoking. There are very few YA books dealing with schizophrenia and its effects, and this was a very powerful exploration from an outside perspective. The only other book I had read about this specific illness was Schizo and it was told from the mentally ill's perspective.

I feel somewhat ambiguous toward the fact that some issues were left unresolved and were not really addressed further. But I liked the open ending. It was a quick read for a book with such depth. Overall, it will appeal to the older YA audience with an interest in psychology and it's effect of familiar bonds.

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