Author: Holly Schindler
Release Date: May 2010
Published By: Flux
Goodreads Rating: 3.80 stars
Review: Fifteen-year-old Aura has had to rely on herself ever since her dad left her with her mother, a talented artist being drawn farther and farther into the depths of schizophrenia. As her mother sinks into mental illness, she tries to ignore her own artistic urges, convinced that "creative" equals "crazy", but she can't stop herself from being drawn to art. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, she learns that love, family, and art are inextricably linked.
A BLUE SO DARK is a beautiful book that explores family dynamics and the impacts of mental deterioration, and of course, any book that covers such topics is bound to be depressing, as this one was. I don't mean that in a bad way, though. This is a book that hits you right in the feels, and while it wasn't at John Green levels of heart-wrenching, tear-inducing sadness, it certainly provokes a great deal of emotion from you.
Of course, as with most young adult novels, there was a romantic subplot intertwined with the main story line, as hinted at in the summary. Going into the book, I worried that the romance would take over the story, but luckily, this was not the case. It was an important element but managed to not steal the focus of the novel, which I greatly appreciated.
There were, however, some aspects of the story that I didn't quite believe. For example, a major component of the novel was Aura's own struggles with her artistic talents. She was utterly convinced that doing art is what leads to mental illness, but I just don't believe that out of all the intense research she did on schizophrenia, she never learned that fact. I also felt that some of her interactions with her grandmother were unbelievable, but I'll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
All in all, A BLUE SO DARK was an emotional and moving novel about the effect of schizophrenia on a family struggling to hold themselves together. It's a great look at schizophrenia, and while there is a bit of an emotional roller coaster, it ends on an ultimately high note. I would recommend this to any fans of "heavy" contemporary fiction.