Thursday, November 13, 2008

Black Box-- Julie Schumacher

Black Box is one of those books that adults want teens to read... and in this case, because of the cover art and the length (under 200 pages), I'll bet that teens actually pick this book up. Black Box is told from the perspective of Elena, but it's really a story about her sister Dora who is suffering from severe depression. Elena and Dora used to be inseparable before Dora became depressed, and Elena takes it upon herself to become her sister's guardian. After Dora attempts suicide, and her parents finally take her condition seriously, Elena is forced to rediscover her own identity. She needs to separate herself from her sister's condition, and find a way to love Dora without taking on her problems. Thanks to a surprisingly supportive relationship with the town screw-up, and to the strength she finds inside herself, Elena finds her way out of the dark place she traveled while absorbing the suffering of her sister Dora.

This story is a really honest portrayal of depression. Julie Schumacher worked hard to not overromanticize depression or falsely depict it for the sake of fiction. This is definitely not an uplifting story, but it has an honestly that teens will appreciate. I would recommend this book to teens who like real life stories about hardships growing up, maybe those who like Child Called It, Ellen Hopkin's books, even Go Ask Alice (yes teens still read this!!), or Vizzini'z It's Kindof a Funny Story.

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