A Blue So Dark
By Holly Schindler
Flux, 2010. 277 pages. Young Adult
Aura's mother is a highly talented artist, but she's also schizophrenic and is spiraling out of control. Aura, desperate to help her mother, yet unsure how to actually do that, watches as her mother slips further and further, to the point that she is endangering herself. Besides watching her mother's decline, Aura is also afraid for herself--because studies suggest that many schizophrenics are artists, and Aura, with both her artistic talent and her genes, is terrified she's going to wind up like her mother.
Schindler skillfully develops Aura's fears, frustrations, and desperation as she tries to deal with her mother's mental illness and the fact that she's all alone dealing with something much larger than she is. It's not an easy read--many readers will connect deeply with Aura's frustrations, fears, and a desire for any sort of solution--but at the same time, it's a realistic portrayal of a scary situation.