This was my second David Levithan book, and again I really liked it! And again it got a little effusive, but I easily forgave it because of the enjoyment I had while reading. Love is the Higher Law is about 9/11. Perhaps you inferred that from the cover. I don’t know about you, but this is only the second book I’ve read where the setting is 9/11. And to me that’s weird. I thought there would be more. Maybe there are more, but they aren’t getting buzz. Or maybe they aren’t good? Don’t know, but this book is very good.
Of the three voices/characters in this book, I related to Jasper as he slept through the event and found himself alone watching the news after the attacks happened. I had just finished my paper route in Half Moon Bay and had gotten the baby back to sleep when the attacks happened. My neighbor woke me up to watch the news. What’s weird is that baby will be 11 years old in the next couple weeks. She has no memory of that day in 2001, while it is still fresh in my mind.
I got to thinking about what she’ll know of September 11th and it’s probably a collage of images rolled together into series of videos on the Internet and set to some cheesy American pop song, which I guess does reflect some truth of moment. But, I think in this book Levithan does thing I love about contemporary novels best, which is tell a truth with a fiction. I admire the way the teens in this book respond to the event. I love that he chose to have all three characters just close enough to the event that if their lives change it’s because of their doing and not the terrorists.
I loved seeing the reactions to the events from a New York perspective. I think the way he used music and concerts specific to the time (especially U2 – hence the title) was heartfelt and interesting and something everyone relates to, which was the point–community and commonalities and an in-this-together camaraderie.
So, hats off to Levithan for preserving this truth for the young adults in my house and all over, and in the YA writer in me that wants to find these kinds of truths in my works.