Friday, September 10, 2010

Review: Love Is The Higher Law by David Levithan

Love Is The Higher Law by David Levithan

Published: August 10, 2010

Publisher: Random House

Format: Paperback

Pages: 176

note: LGBT relationship involved

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.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5

My Thoughts:

I remember 9/11 like it was just last week. Working in the financial industry, we had TVs by our desk, though normally kept on the business channel. On 9/11 we got the dreaded call from a broker telling us to put on CNN. We see the first building up in flames, still not sure why a plane would hit, how it got so far off course...then we see the 2nd plane. It was so surreal, I guess this is my generations JFK moment.

I haven't read much about 9/11 and when I started this book I knew it would make me emotional. Love Is The Higher Law takes an alternating look at three teens views during, right after and a year later. Claire's story was the emotional & deep one. You probably wondered the same things she questions from this tragedy. Jasper appeared to grow the most, starting off more removed from, well, people in general. Peter was smack dab in the middle & like a crutch for both Claire & Jasper. I loved the idea of having the story told from three very different perspectives.

The book takes you on a bit of a roller coaster, staring out with the traumatic event, moving onto the shock/grief stage and ending with some peace & hope. A beautiful, touching story that gives us a glimpse of home a tragic event can touch lives in many different ways, even if you weren't there. David captivates the moment perfectly (the thoughts, the fears, the questions) of something I hope never to have to relive again.

My thoughts & prays are with everyone tomorrow.


  1. I would say it's definitely our JFK moment. People can remember where they were, who told them, what they did after, etc. I have to admit that I've stayed away from books about 9/11 because I always go into books about tragedies with a negative attitude. I think they are blatant sensationalism, capitalizing on tragedy. I do, however, like Levithan's other books.

  2. Trisha - me, too & I think that is why I really liked this one. This was not sensationalized, just a look from the perspective of 3 everyday people, centered around the tragedy BUT also living their normal lives.

  3. I really want to read this. I didn't realize it was a new book. I saw another review that said it was really good. I'm sure it will definitely be an emotional read.

  4. Thanks so much for this review, Mel. I like that you posted your review at such an appropriate time, although, any time would be right.

    I live in a NJ suburb to NYC and several people from my town were killed on 9/11 including the husband of my neighbor and father of three little boys. I'll never forget the day or the months following this tragedy. I imagine as emotional as this read would be... it's probably also cathartic.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I have not heard of this one before, and it does sounds like a intense/emotional read. Maybe for later. Thanks for the great review.