Dora and Elena are as different as two sisters can be. Dora's tall and theatrical; Elena is short and practical. "It was as if, growing up, Dora had occupied a certain space and developed a certain kind of personality," Elena says, "and I had taken what was left over. On a barometer, Dora was a storm on the horizon; I was the needle that always pointed to steady." But after Dora is admitted to the local hospital following a suicide attempt, Elena finds it increasingly difficult to remain the family's "steady Eddie." Author's Note. Resources.
JLG Release: Nov 2008
Like this book? Get more like it every month.
Grades 9 & Up
Awards & Honors
2009 ALA Best Books for Young Adults; 2009 ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List*, The Horn Book Guide, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Junior Library Guild
Elena’s first method of coping with Dora’s depression is denial. Eventually, though, this gives way to another extreme, and Elena makes it her personal mission to understand Dora’s medications and treatment options. Their mother, on the other hand, insists that they keep Dora’s condition private—another form of denial, and one which makes Elena’s situation even more overwhelming and lonely.
Even as the characters in Black Box sway and buckle under the weight of Dora’s depression, Schumacher’s short chapters keep the book moving forward at a brisk, lively pace. Elena’s burgeoning romance with a neighborhood boy helps balance out the family drama.
Many books address the subject of depression, but Black Box stands out from the crowd as an uncommonly smart, honest offering—one that privileges difficult questions over easy answers.
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Level 4.1; Points: 4;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 3.4; Points: 10;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Attempted suicide, Drug abuse, Language,
Psychiatric wards, Security procedures, Depression, Therapists, Medication, Parents, Overdoses, Hospital orderlies, Classmates, Coded messages, Recipes, Cutting as self-abuse, Responsibility, Trust, Secrets, Lies, Suicide, Recovery, Friends,