Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Blackbox, by Julie Schumacher.

When Elena's older sister Dora is admitted to the hospital for treatment following an overdose, repercussions reverberate quickly through their small, close-knit family. "'She's okay Mom, it must have been a mistake" (p. 16). The Lindt's struggle to cope with this new reality while simultaneously searching for the best treatment. Elena has lost her sister and, in some ways, her parents as they maintain an everything-will-be-fine facade. Feeling adrift from family and friends, Elena is befriended by Jimmy, a school mate with first hand understanding of what depression can do. Family pressure to keep Dora's illness a secret expand and Elena must choose between honoring her sisterly bond and doing what is best for her sister; truths will out and everyone will need to live with the new reality Dora's illness presents.

I was originally drawn to this title because the author also wrote The Book of One Hundred Truths.While both titles focus on families and truth, Blackbox deals with a topic that is, in many cases, taboo, depression. Elena and her family are dealing with a complex situation to the best of their ability. Mistakes are made and there are no easy answers, but readers will be impressed with the honest, realistic dialogue and reactions of Schumacher’s well-rounded characters. Don't miss reading this one.

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