Saturday, December 5, 2009

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

From Amazon:
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.

There’s no mistaking that his is a book about post-9/11 New York; that is clear right from the book’s cover. Somewhat foolishly, I just didn’t expect it to be so closely linked to the days around September 11th. This is the story of several New York teens who were on or near the area on those days. Even as I was reading it I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this kind of story – it still felt very fresh, very real. But I do like Levithan as a writer, and this is very much a book of his: lots of GLBTQ characters, interweaving stories and storylines, talky conversations. Not really a fun read or even an 'important' read, but I'm glad I read it. The characters didn't make as much of an impact on me as some of his other ones, but they fit this story perfectly. I think this is the first fiction about 9/11 I've ever read, and certainly the first teen novel; is this a niche that others have picked up on? How have they handled it? Has anyone written about 9/11 from a non-New York perspective? These are just some questions that I thought of after reading this.

Pair it with:
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - David Levithan and Rachel Cohn (pretty much a love letter to New York)
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation - Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
We All Fall Down - Eric Walters

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