Love Is The Higher Law by David LevithanLove Is The Higher Law by David Levithan

Love Is The Higher Law

byDavid Levithan

Paperback | August 10, 2010

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Bestselling author David Levithan (Every Day; Boy Meets Boy; Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) treats the tragic events of September 11th with care and compassion in this novel of loss and grief, but also of hope and redemption.
First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

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 aAs histhe characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever, one rule remains: love is indeed the higher law.

From the Hardcover edition.
David Levithan is a children’s book editor in New York City. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.From the Hardcover edition.
Title:Love Is The Higher LawFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.4 inPublished:August 10, 2010Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375834699

ISBN - 13:9780375834691

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful story We saw some of the worst of people on 9/11 but we also saw some of the best. Love is the Higher Law gives us a glimpse of how such a tragic event affected the lives of three teens, and it ends up turning into an inspirational and hopeful view of their futures. This one's a must read. ~~~ Love is the Higher Law deals with three teens and their experiences surrounding 9/11. I was both hesitant and a little curious to see how Levithan would broach what still seems to be a controversial subject, but I think he did it in a beautiful way, combining heartfelt emotion and such hopefulness after such a devastating event. I started reading this on the bus and I had to put it down because I was tearing up. We first meet Claire, who's in class when she and her peers find out about the first plane crash. First there's panic, but fear is quick to follow when they realize it isn't an accident. She races to get her little brother, and stays in his class to wait for any frantic parents coming to pickup their kids, including their own mom. As an older sister, this was the part that really got to me. Just imagining what kids would be thinking, the chaos and confusion, the 'where's my mom, when's she coming' hit me straight in the heart. For Claire especially, she was left with a lot of 'what-ifs' and it was her story that affected me the most. Jasper and Peter don't have as direct experiences as Claire did, but they do get affected indirectly, and the bond that forms between these three was heartfelt to read about. Though this isn't what I'd call a 'happy' story, it's not necessarily depressing either. Like the blurb says, it's 'also one of hope and redemption'. These three characters go through some horrible times, and seeing how they come together, how the city comes together, is nothing short of beautiful. Little moments like store owners giving away water and shoes as people ran down the streets, taking strangers into their homes, coming together in ways you'd never imagine is what this story's about, and I'm tearing up just thinking of it! Review from my blog:
Date published: 2011-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Perfect Mix Anything that I have read by David Levithan has been hilarious, heartbreaking and just plain awesome. Probably best known for NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW is a compassionate story about how three teens, Claire, Jasper and Peter, lives are reshaped by the traumatic events of 9/11. Told in their own worlds, each character describes where they were that day and how they deal (or not deal) with the circumstances. I appreciated how Levithan juxtaposed the deep emotion of the day with the fact that two guys were supposed to go on their first date that day. How even when faced with the unimaginable, there is still the normal. Or, that certain biases continue to prevail as when Jasper tries to donate blood and is refused because of his sexual orientation. But this is also a story of survival. Not in the sense of “against the odds struggles to survive,” but more of the mental and emotional survival after a trauma. These characters find the strength to move forward and live with a new awareness and compassion. Claire chooses to connect with the people around her and seek solace in a simple candle lighting ritual while Peter finds that the perfect mix will settle a weary heart. In true Levithan-style, there are intelligent musical references, insightful first-date debacles and genuine moments of reflection that shows he is one of today’s most honest and thought-provoking authors of teen literature.
Date published: 2010-03-03

Read from the Book

Chapter OneClaireMy first thought is: My mother is dead.When Mrs. Shields, the school secretary, shows up so gravely in the doorway and gestures for Mrs. Otis to come over to her, I am sure that my mother has died, that I am now going to have to pack up my books and go to Sammy's school and collect him and tell him that Mom is dead and I'm all he has now and somehow we'll get by. I am so sure that something is wrong, incredibly wrong, and I can't imagine what else it could be. I am already gathering my books as Mrs. Shields whispers to Mrs. Otis. I see Mrs. Otis nod, distressed, and then Mrs. Shields disappears back into the hall. I sit up straighter, waiting for Mrs. Otis to look at me, to say my name. But instead she looks at all of us and says, "Class, a plane has hit the World Trade Center."Katie Johnson gasps. Other kids start talking.I am blank.And then Mrs. Otis asks, "Do any of you have parents working in the World Trade Center?"We look around. No. But Teresa says that Jill Breslin, who's in one of the other senior English classes, has a father who works there. I think of our apartment, only ten blocks away from the towers. I know my mother isn't home. I know she left with me and Sammy this morning and continued uptown to her office. But suddenly I'm wondering: What if she forgot something? What if she went back to the apartment? What if she took the subway down to Chambers Street, underneath the towers?I've gone from being sure she's dead to being unsure she's alive, and that's much scarier, because it almost feels rational.Mrs. Otis informed us on the first day of school that there would be no cell phone usage tolerated in class, but now it's the fifth day of school and there's nothing she can do. She's trying to hold it together, but she's as confused as we are. Cell phones are ringing, and all these kids are telling their parents they're okay, we're all okay--our school is a good thirty blocks north of the Trade Center. Abby Winter's mom starts telling her what the news is saying, and then she tells it to the rest of us: "The plane hit around the ninetieth floor. The building's still standing, and people are evacuating. Firemen are going up. The other tower looks like it's okay..."My friend Randy spots a TV in the back of the class, but when he tries it out, all we get is static. I know Randy has a phone and I ask him if I can use it. I try calling Mom's office, but nobody picks up. I leave a message on the answering machine, telling her I'm okay.The principal gets on the PA and says that all the classes have been informed of the "situation downtown," and that if there are any "concerned students," they should come to the guidance suite. We all know what he means by concerned students--he means if your parents are there.We're not a big school. There are only about seventy kids in each grade. So I can't help imagining Jill Breslin down there in the guidance office, and a few other kids. Teresa's getting frantic now, saying she has to go see Jill. And it's not even like they're best friends. Mrs. Otis tries to calm her down, saying the guidance counselors will take care of it. And I think that kind of makes sense, since the guidance counselors are adults, but it also doesn't, because even if Teresa isn't best friends with Jill, she definitely knows Jill more than any of the guidance counselors do.The thought of Jill Breslin in that guidance office makes me feel I should go to the lower school and see Sammy. I wonder if they've told the second graders what's happening, or if Mrs. Lawson is closing the blinds and giving them a spelling test.Suddenly there's this big scream from the classroom next to ours--at least ten people yelling out. Mrs. Otis goes to the door connecting her room to Mr. Baker's, and about half our class follows, so we're there when she asks what's going on. But nobody needs to answer--Mr. Baker's gotten his TV to work, and it's not one but two towers that are burning, and they're saying on the TV that there was a second plane, that the towers are under attack, and seeing it erases any premonitions I might have had, because even if I felt something was wrong, I never would have pictured this. This isn't even something I've feared, because I never knew it was a possibility. Kids are crying now, both in Mr. Baker's class and in my class, and we're looking at each other like What do we do? and the principal is on the PA again telling everyone to remain calm, which only makes it worse. It's like the principal knows something he's not telling us, and the TV is saying that people are jumping, and Teresa just loses it completely, and we're all thinking about Jill and who knows who else, and people are trying to call their parents on their cell phones, but now all the lines are busy, or maybe they've stopped working, and I don't even have a cell phone and neither does my mother. I just want to get Sammy and go home.All of our class is in Mr. Baker's room now--it's practically the whole twelfth grade. Mrs. Otis and Mr. Baker are in the front, talking to each other, and then Mrs. Otis heads to the office to see what's going on. Randy offers his phone to me again, but says it's not really working, although maybe it will work for me. It doesn't, and I don't know what else I can do, except I realize now I should've given my mom Randy's number. The TV is showing people downtown running away. I tell Randy I have to get my brother, and saying it to him makes it mean I'm going to do it.I go up to Mr. Baker and say my brother's in the lower school, in second grade, and I have to go get him. This girl Marisol hears me and says her sister's over there, too, in first grade, and is probably really scared. Mr. Baker says nobody is supposed to leave the school, but we tell him we're only going across the street, and we must sound really desperate, because he looks at us and says it's fine, as long as we come straight back.From the Hardcover edition.