WHEN DORA, ELENA S older sister, is diagnosed with depression and has to be admitted to the hospital, Elena can t seem to make sense of their lives anymore. At school, the only people who acknowledge Elena are Dora s friends and Jimmy Zenk who failed at least one grade and wears blackevery day of the week. And at home, Elena s parents keep arguing with each other. Elena will do anything to help her sister get better and get their lives back to normal even when the responsibility becomes too much to bear.
From the Hardcover edition.
Lena Lindt and her older sister, Dora, have always been close, like "right and left hands laced tight together." They and their parents accept that Dora is the moody but fun one, "a storm on the horizon, [Lena] the needle that always pointed to steady," a formula that works until Dora is overcome by severe depression in her junior year of high school. Schumacher's (The Book of One Hundred Truths) characterizations are humane yet shaded: to combat the effect of Dora's illness, Mr. and Mrs. Lindt send the outwardly coping Lena to a therapist but treat Dora's eventual hospitalization like a shameful secret. Lena, meanwhile, feels an us-against-the-parents bond with her sister, who uses their intimacy to pressure Lena to keep secrets that may be endangering her recovery. The title refers to the drugs prescribed for Dora; at least one comes with a "black box" warning, meaning that the person taking it is at increased risk for suicide and needs to be watched closely-traditionally, Lena's job in the family. An expert use of metaphor, combined with sympathetic insight into the impact of depression on families, turns a painful subject into a standout novel. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.