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Book cover of A Blue So Dark

A Blue So Dark

by Holly Schindler

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Pages: 277
Paperback
ISBN: 9780738719269






Available to Buy

Overview of A Blue So Dark

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Praise for A Blue So Dark:

"A truly real, emotional, and honest read."—Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay it Forward

"A Blue So Dark is a raw, compelling and eloquent portrayal of art and madness, and the freeing, healing gift of creativity. Schindler's voice is brilliant and true."—Carrie Jones, New York Times bestselling author of Need and Captivate

"Schindler's lyrical debut explores the nightmare of mental illness in a voice that is sharp and funny and all her own. This is as real as teen fiction gets. A must-read."—Crissa-Jean Chappell, author of Total Constant Order

GOLD MEDAL WINNER: IPPY Awards 2010 (Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction)

SILVER MEDAL WINNER: ForeWord Book of the Year Awards 2010 (Young Adult Fiction)

Synopsis of A Blue So Dark

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Praise for A Blue So Dark:

"A truly real, emotional, and honest read."—Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay it Forward

"A Blue So Dark is a raw, compelling and eloquent portrayal of art and madness, and the freeing, healing gift of creativity. Schindler's voice is brilliant and true."—Carrie Jones, New York Times bestselling author of Need and Captivate

"Schindler's lyrical debut explores the nightmare of mental illness in a voice that is sharp and funny and all her own. This is as real as teen fiction gets. A must-read."—Crissa-Jean Chappell, author of Total Constant Order

VOYA

Fifteen-year-old Aura is trying to hold her family together. Her mother, a gifted artist, is slowly losing her mind to schizophrenia. She paints with frantic grace and refuses to take the medication that could help heal her brain and psyche. Aura, utterly helpless, can do nothing but keep watch over her mother. Her father is no help, having created a new family for which to provide and care. Aura begins to lose sight of herself; skipping school more frequently, worrying about the household bills, and ignoring the troubles of her best friend, Janny. Aura also worries that her mother's mental illness will become her own. She is gifted in her own right, but does not allow herself to create the images that have destroyed her mother. The pressure builds until Aura can no longer contain the cacophony of troubles that have invaded her life. Schindler's debut novel is a lyrical tapestry. Lines like "late August had bloomed, like a giant sweaty marigold," and "the morning weighs so heavily on me that I feel like Atlas" are poetry in motion. Her first-person narrative is witty yet biting at times. Aura's voice is clear and sharp throughout the novel. She is burdened with her mother's mental illness and is holding on for dear life; something that the reader will feel with every word Aura says, every action that she makes. Readers will forget this is a fictional tale—it reads like truth. It is an excellent first novel—a definite must-read. Reviewer: Jonatha Basye

About the Author, Holly Schindler

Holly Schindler (Springfield, Missouri) dove headfirst into her writing pursuits after obtaining an M.A. in English from Missouri (ma-zur-ah) State University. Her essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in such journals as The Explicator, Slipstream, and Short Story. A Blue So Dark is her first novel. Visit her online at HollySchindler.com.

Reviews of A Blue So Dark

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Editorials

VOYA - Jonatha Basye

Fifteen-year-old Aura is trying to hold her family together. Her mother, a gifted artist, is slowly losing her mind to schizophrenia. She paints with frantic grace and refuses to take the medication that could help heal her brain and psyche. Aura, utterly helpless, can do nothing but keep watch over her mother. Her father is no help, having created a new family for which to provide and care. Aura begins to lose sight of herself; skipping school more frequently, worrying about the household bills, and ignoring the troubles of her best friend, Janny. Aura also worries that her mother's mental illness will become her own. She is gifted in her own right, but does not allow herself to create the images that have destroyed her mother. The pressure builds until Aura can no longer contain the cacophony of troubles that have invaded her life. Schindler's debut novel is a lyrical tapestry. Lines like "late August had bloomed, like a giant sweaty marigold," and "the morning weighs so heavily on me that I feel like Atlas" are poetry in motion. Her first-person narrative is witty yet biting at times. Aura's voice is clear and sharp throughout the novel. She is burdened with her mother's mental illness and is holding on for dear life; something that the reader will feel with every word Aura says, every action that she makes. Readers will forget this is a fictional tale—it reads like truth. It is an excellent first novel—a definite must-read. Reviewer: Jonatha Basye

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose faces numerous problems that run the gamut from divorced parents and friendships gone sour to relationship angst and acne, but her biggest concern is her mother's battle with schizophrenia. Throughout November and December, Aura tries to keep her life on track, holding secret the dark tunnel she has fallen into as she follows her mother from one psychotic episode to another. Finally, unable to face her difficulties alone, Aura asks for help from her estranged grandmother. Schindler paints a realistic picture of living with a schizophrenic, describing the details from Aura's point of view. She also explores the teen's fear that one day she will succumb to the disease herself. At various times, Aura describes the way her stomach "fists" when the tension overwhelms her. This tension is transferred to readers, so powerful is the empathy the author has built for her main character. Teens will find themselves slowly breathing a sigh of relief as Aura's life returns to a semblance of normalcy, once her mother gets the help she needs. Any story about mental illness will not be an easy read, but a very good one will reward those who stick with it. A Blue So Dark definitely falls in that category.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD

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