Friday, October 23, 2015

Review: Love Is the Higher Law by David Levithan

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 as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

It's been more than a decade since 9/11 but a lot of the things written here still rings true.

In Love is the Higher Law, Claire, Peter and Jasper are three teens from New York who deal with the aftermath of 9/11 in their own lives and their relationships with other people.

I live on the other side of the world, and I think I was already asleep by the time my parents turned on the television to watch CNN. I didn't have any relatives living in New York, either. As far removed as I was from everything, all the stories I read about 9/11 afterward still affected me. Why? Because you don't have to be there or to be an American to sympathize. Things changed for a lot of people all over the world, increased airport security being just one of those changes.

Claire, Peter and Jasper all react differently to 9/11. Claire is proactive and tries to do what she can. Peter is more passive but still hopeful. Jasper, however, is more negative, in a way, and fluctuates between not caring and being angry about it.

Of the three, Peter comes closest to how I felt then. I also liked a lot of his lines, especially in relation to the concerts he attends after 9/11. To me, Peter felt the most real and least preachy. However, I think a lot of people closer to New York during that time may have felt more like how Claire and Jasper felt.

There was a scene in the book wherein Jasper and Claire discussed everything that was going on and what was going to happen next. It got a little boring because of the length, but I do agree with some of what Claire said.

Overall, the book was just okay for me, even though there were some really wonderful lines here and there. I think this would have been more meaningful to me had I read it when it was first published.


  1. It has some brilliant lines.
  2. The characters all reacted differently and there wasn't an attempt to make it seem like one reaction was more valid than the other.
  3. The book's message is hopeful. 


  1. There are some instances wherein the action comes to a near standstill and it gets a little boring. 

We all understand that this is just music. We all understand these songs were written Before - there is no way the band could have known how we would hear them After. But the songs ring true. 

  1. You like reading books that try to depict 9/11 and what happened afterward.
  2. You like witty lines.
  3. You sometimes forget that there's still good in the world. 



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