Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Release Date:
May 8, 2010
Publisher: Flux
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Received: Purchased 
Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

What an amazingly well written story about creativity vs. schizophrenia. It's so achingly poetic and unbelievably touching to follow Aura on a path she shouldn't have had to make alone. Aura does her best to take care of her mother, all while watching the mother she once knew flounder and then sink beneath the waves that are schizophrenia.

The story gripped me tightly and almost didn't let go. It was heart wrenching to see this young girl struggling with the thoughts inside herself – loving art so much that she can't even stop herself from drawing and writing at every turn, yet feeling that if she lets art into her life that she will be crazy just like her mother. It's almost like she had a fear of drowning in art and not surfacing ever again.
Look, Aura, right now, you're okay, just like she was. But soon, you won't be. Soon, you will start to fall to pieces, see?... Enjoy being whole while you can. It won't last forever. pg. 86
Poor Aura had to grow up faster than she should have to and yearning for a normal life, while the adults just passed her by not noticing she was needing help. The emotional toll it was taking on her that left Aura at her breaking point. Such shame and guilt eating away at her due to the promise to help her Mom to not be on medications versus the need to have a normal life.

In the end things always have a way of coming together somehow and true family will always have your back even if at the time you don't think they do.
If a set of genes really does exist to predispose a person to becoming a schizo, it is possible that those same genes also rev a person's creativity, actually helping them to survive in the long run. pg. 248
The other aspects that I loved about this novel were the powerful and gorgeous cover art, the chapter openings with tidbits of information on schizophrenia – some humorous and others informative, and the intensity of the emotions evoked by Holly Schindler's writing.

EDIT: I just happened upon a brilliantly written review of Holly's book and wanted to share it with you all... The Page Flipper has written a beautifully eloquent review.


  1. I agree- very poetic, and I love the cover too. Thanks for the review. Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. I very much agree. This novel is amazing.


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