A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: Fifteen year old Aura Ambrose is hiding a dark secret. Her mother, a talented and gifted artist, is a schizophrenic. Aura is the primary caretaker. Her father is practically out of the picture. Nobody else understands. Sometimes, Aura herself does not either.

Plot: 5 stars
I have never read anything like this before, plot-wise. It's truly unique and something different for a change. Sure, it may sound unrealistic. What kind of parent would let their child take charge of someone suffering from a mental illness, right? It's not likely that this would happen in real life. However, I think that is the power of A Blue So Dark, because the truth of the matter is, we actually don't know for sure. There's no way of knowing, and perhaps we never will. A Blue So Dark explores what might be happening behind closed doors in a seemingly normal home. Not knowing whether or not there are situations like these out there, is the scary part. So to me, what the author did was explore a very foreign and difficult place, that I think all would rather not visit.

Characters: 2.5 stars
Don't get me wrong, I liked the characters. However, I don't think they are memorable enough for me. Their situation is what sticks and stands out, but the actual people involved unfortunately do not.

Writing: 4 stars
This one is actually one of my favorite parts. I didn't get tired of the way the author writes. Her wordplay is wonderful and poetic, and the pace and flow are effortless.

Overall: 3.5 stars
A Blue So Dark is a courageous novel, as it tackles an extremely difficult subject matter -- the realities of a normal family dealing with Schizophrenia. It is a mental illness often misunderstood, and one that is usually not covered in novels in this particular way. The author, Holly Schindler, writes about it in a realistic manner, with such compassion and sensitivity that one just can not stop reading all about it. I recommend this book, but probably more for mature YA readers.


  1. The writing is what really stood out to me. You described it perfectly. I agree about Aura's character not being memorable, but I thought her mom definitely was. It was a great book.

  2. What you said about how we never know what truly goes on behind closed doors is exactly right. There's no way of knowing and maybe that's the scariest part.

  3. @Adriana: Yeah, her mom was memorable. How could her character not stick to you?

    @May: Agree 100%.