I finally found some time to read Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan. Now for the review!
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.
I finished this book and my first response was to tell everyone to read it. Levithan manages to tackle two complex topics–9/11 and teenage years–beautifully. I was moved by the characters and their struggles and often found myself tearing up while I was reading.
My husband was surprised to see me reading this book. He remarked that I often avoid TV shows and movies that talk about 9/11; this is very true. I find the coverage of the people who died that day so sad that I try to avoid it. This book does not focus on that aspect of the day. Instead it captures what it is like for those who lived. It deals with how they got by in those first few days after the tragedy. There is something in each character that makes them relatable. While you may have not reacted the same way they did, you can understand their feelings and thoughts. All of this combined to make an honest and true story.
Another thing that I liked about this story was that it focused on teens in New York City. In many ways, this tragedy affected those living in the city differently than the rest of the world. They saw things with their eyes in a way that could not be captured on film. They lived the tragedy in a way that I never will. Levithan captures all of this brilliantly and is able to convey these feelings in such a powerful way.
Review: I usually find myself subconsciously skimming through passages of books while reading. With this book, I made sure to read every single word. There is so much that can be found and learned in the 176 pages of this book. A highly recommended read!