A Blue So Dark - Holly Schindler My first trip to a library again after ten years of not being in one resulted in a fantastic first read. This book is a far cry from the manga and other variety of books I’ve been reading so far, and I never imagined I would wander into the Young Adult section of my library and walk away with this beautifully covered book whose internal message and tale is so… intense and alluring. Considering this is the first novel ever written by Holly Schindler, there are only positive things that I have to say about this read! Literally everything about the story was appealing! …even the things that would turn most people off, scare them, or perhaps disgust them. *Smiles* Being someone with a lot of love for psychology in anything I’m experiencing, books and stories especially, I could really relate to the complex emotions and feelings that were carried over throughout this book.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning a bit, shall we? This is a book written about a middle school girl whose beautiful, artistic mother, eventually succumbs to schizophrenia. It’s a story of the struggle between a family that’s falling apart at the seams, a fear of a madness that might be tied into the main character’s shared passion with her mother—the love of art—and the way she lives a very normal, very relatable life even with all the chaos and challenges unique to her situation. Aura (the daughter and our main character) speaks to us in the first person throughout the novel, and it is a story that isn’t so much unusual as it is realistic. This is a life where the things that happen are all normal situations. School plays a huge role, and like it is for any teenager, it’s filled with harassment, stupid teachers who don’t have a clue what the heck is going on, drama that concerns Aura’s best friend, and more. On top of all of that, we have a family broken by a father that left them, and a mother who… is shockingly unreal.

It can be a scary thing… to have someone with a mental disorder like schizophrenia before you. No matter your age, or your experiences with things like that… it’s a situation that can shock you into a world that you realize was so completely normal before you found someone who cannot abide by its rules—regardless their efforts. Having been a Psychology major, I’ve had the chance to study abnormal psychology before, concerning mental disorders. *Shakes her head* When you see firsthand the footage and studies about schizophrenia, you begin to realize just how sad and life-changing the situation can be. Especially when, like in A Blue So Dark, the schizophrenic tries their best to live life normally without medical help and isn’t able to. Some can! …sometimes they can’t. And that’s where things begin to fall apart.

Although Holly Schindler said she had no personal experience with schizophrenia, and though she mentioned she did research it, I was actually shocked to find she had no actual experience with the disorder! The way she wrote, I kept insisting to my friend and family members that I could see the accurate depiction of what someone with schizophrenia would act like! She carried over everything perfectly in her novel! It was down to the finest detail in convincing me that she knew firsthand what someone with this condition would be like.

Schindler’s writing is not only down to earth, straight-shooting and delicious for its bold attitude, but the emotions are so much more real because they’re conveyed in that way. This brings the experiences of Aura to us all the more like slaps in the face, stabs in the heart, and gut-wrenching pitfalls as she has to deal with her sick mother endlessly. It’s a cruel, grueling, but liberating throe of emotions; one that few get to experience with the reality and clean-cut, leave-nothing-out prominence brought to us in A Blue So Dark. The richness given to our minds and hearts—and that shrouded part of us deeper than both: our very souls—is what makes this book majestic and gripping, like breathing and finding your voice again after being strangled and buried down under countless weights, deeper and deeper until you felt all you had left inside you are tears and screams.

Hope and liberty come to us hand-in-hand though, throughout the experience of this book. And it’s one I would recommend for everyone to go through. Maybe you will not understand it or feel as passionately moved by it. Maybe it’ll frighten you or evoke feelings of disgust that make you want to turn away. But for those of you who stick through and read on until the end, I know you’ll love the feeling of victory and peace you get from this book. It’s worth every horrible moment, every wild and mindless animalistic tear and cry. It’s a book like so few are writing or can ever present so properly, or so beautifully. For that, I recommend this book with the highest marks! Holly Schindler, you did a fantastic job. And I have only praise for you for this amazing read. Thank you, for this creation. It is a provoking piece I will always keep in my heart.