Black Box by Julie Schumacher

3 Stars

Ninth-grader Elena is shocked when her older sister Dora is hospitalized for Depression. Dora has always been fun, zany, & outgoing. What happened? While Dora is in the hospital, Elena struggles to take care of herself and her parents, and tries to help Dora. They had always been so close. How could she not know what her sister was thinking? Elena finds a friend to talk to in Jimmy, the black-dressed outsider who doesn’t always go to class. Her parents are fighting all the time now and even when Dora comes home, can she be trusted? Is talking enough to help Elena come to terms with her new world?

This book is a 164-page easy read with short chapters. Rather than focusing on Dora’s depression, the reader goes through the family’s suffering, as Dora’s illness affects those around her. The story is narrated by Elena, who finally learns that she can’t take care of everybody and doesn’t have to. She learns to release her emotions in order to be stronger.