YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for October 31, 2009

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

I felt that some parts of Love is the Higher Law were really well written but other parts, not so much. Claire was a fantastic narrator, I wanted more scenes with her because scenes with her made me feel as if I was right there, in New York City on 9 September 2001. I do not remember 9/11/01 very clearly unfortunately. But reading this book as I said, while reading Claire’s scenes, it was as if I was experiencing everything.

Jasper. I liked him. His character was nice enough and quite understandable. My major complaint is Peter. His character was not developed and the plot for his side of the story was stagnant. Initially, the pacing for the book was just right but as I read more it started moving slowly. The aftermath of 9/11 was a little draggy for me but ultimately the message that David Levithan is trying to convey is that there is hope.

Thank you David Levithan for writing a book about September 11 as I have never read any book about it. Love is the Higher Law portrays the events of 9/11 very clearly making it a heart-breaking yet beautiful and moving novel. Before reading this book, make sure you have a box of tissues beside you.

Sorry but I think I’m giving this a Silver star. I may not have found this book spectacular but I’m sure others will love it.

Silver star