Schindler, Holly. A Blue So Dark. Flux/Llewellyn Publications, 2010. 288p. $9.95. 978-0-7387-1926-9.Fifteen-year-old Aura is trying to hold her family together. Her mother, a gifted artist, is slowly losing her mind to schizophrenia. She paints with frantic grace and refuses to take the medication that could help heal her brain and psyche. Aura, utterly helpless, can do nothing but keep watch over her mother. Her father is no help, having created a new family for which to provide and care. Aura begins to lose sight of herself; skipping school more frequently, worrying about the household bills, and ignoring the troubles of her best friend, Janny. Aura also worries that her mother’s mental illness will become her own. She is gifted in her own right, but does not allow herself to create the images that have destroyed her mother. The pressure builds until Aura can no longer contain the cacophony of troubles that have invaded her life. Schindler’s debut novel is a lyrical tapestry. Lines like “late August had bloomed, like a giant sweaty marigold,” and “the morning weighs so heavily on me that I feel like Atlas” are poetry in motion. Her first-person narrative is witty yet biting at times. Aura’s voice is clear and sharp throughout the novel. She is burdened with her mother’s mental illness and is holding on for dear life; something that the reader will feel with every word Aura says, every action that she makes. Readers will forget this is a fictional tale—it reads like truth. It is an excellent first novel—a definite must-read.