Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Love is the Higher Law (Levithan)

Title: Love is the Higher Law
Author: David Levithan
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, LBGTQ
Pages: 164
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: YA, POC, GLBT
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap): Claire is sitting in homeroom. Jasper is fast asleep. Peter is waiting for Tower Records to open. They don't really know each other. Claire goes to school with Peter. Peter met Jasper at a party, and they made plans to go out. This is the everyday. This is before. And then. The world gets turned upside down. LIfe gets turned inside out. There is fear and there is grief and there is confusion and doubt. It's a dark time, a tragic time. But there's more to it than that. There's also love. And kindness. And a desire to make it through. On 9/11, thousands of people died... but millions upon millions came together in ways they never would have imagined. For Claire, Jasper, and Peter, life has been reshaped just when it was starting to take shape. As their lives intersect and their feelings and experiences crystallize, there are new understandings, new friendships, and a new awareness of what really matters.

Review: What a good book! As soon as I started reading the first few pages I was sucked into the story. All my memories of 9/11 came flooding back: I remember exactly where I was, how I felt, and all the conversations that went on. I remember the country's reaction (flags, bumper stickers, hating Arabs/Muslims, etc). At the time I was married to an Arab so I was accutely aware of it all, especially when we traveled and he was followed everywhere we went in the airport and questioned at every possible point. But I digress...

I liked all three of the main characters; they had faults, made mistakes, were interesting, and seemed real. I liked how Jasper and Peter screwed up their first date and took almost a year to get together and it wasn't all perfect. I liked how Claire was introspective and real. The fact that Jasper is Asian came up, but wasn't a big deal. I also thought the relationships with their parents seemed accurate: not too mushy, not all negative, just a mixture of the two, which is how it is. And, a friendship between 2 guys and girl...that's nice. I had that with 2 guys in high school and it was so great!

In the afterword Levithan says that he wrote this book so that people who aren't old enough to remember 9/11 will have a story that will show them what it was like to be in NYC at the time and how people felt one year later. I thought about that as I was reading this book. It does such a great job of showing how it felt to be there, to see people fleeing, to live in NYC and see the skyline with no Twin Towers.

Basically I really liked this book.

7 comments:

Bonnie Jacobs said...

"At the time I was married to an Arab so I was acutely aware of it all, especially when we traveled and he was followed everywhere we went in the airport and questioned at every possible point. But I digress..."

I don't think that's a digression. It gives me some perspective on what you say about the book and 9/11, and I like knowing how a book affects a reader personally.

Amanda said...

I love David Levithan and I really want to read this!

christa @ mental foodie said...

I like that we read a lot of the same books, but have different opinions about them! I love hearing the different perspectives, and I totally respect the bloggers' reviews even if theirs differ from mine :)

I read this earlier this year and didn't like it as much as you do...

http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com/2010/04/book-review-love-is-higher-law-by-david.html

Aths said...

This one sounds interesting. Haven't heard of it, but it looks like a promise. All those themes in it would definitely pull me in.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Bonnie--thanks for reminding me that personal info helps readers to understand our reviews; great point!

Amanda--the book is getting mixed reviews out there (see Christa's comment below) so I'll be interested to see what you think.

Aths--I did enjoy it though I have not liked other books by him

Christa--I also really like reading reviews of books I've read to see how other bloggers/readers react!

MissAttitude said...

Keep digressing! I can believe that your Arab husband would be followed around and questioned and that's really upsetting. I don't want America to become that kind of place, yet again. My eyes were really opened up to this treatment of Muslims/people of Arab descent by Shine Coconut Moon because I was too young to remember 9/11 and it was the first book I read that talked about the more long term (negative) effects of it.

I really liked this book (not a big fan of Claire though). The writing was genuine and Jasper is really funny. Plus the relationship between Jasper and Peter is so sweetly awkward.

Helen's Book Blog said...

MissAttitude--I agree that Shine, Coconut Moon showed some of that as well. I had forgotten about that (what a good book). Jasper and Peter's dating is awkwardly cute, great description