About the Book
Hours after Emma returns home from boarding school, she realizes that her mom is suffering from a schizophrenic break. Suddenly, Emma’s entire childhood and identity is called into question. Desperate for answers, Emma turns to her boyfriend, Daniel. Will he love her even if she goes crazy too? But it’s the lonely, brooding boy Emma meets while visiting her mother at the hospital who really understands Emma. Phil encourages Emma’s reckless need for hurt and pain in the face of all this change and she is soon caught in a complicated spiral of loss and mistrust. In the span of just one winter break, Emma’s relationships alter forever and she is forced to see the wisdom in a line from Anna Karenina: “The law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.” A beautifully grounded coming-of-age novel, THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS demands that the reader accept the main character, Emma, for who she is, while also creating deep sympathy for all that she is going through.
Praise for The Law Of Loving Others
“Axelrod’s prose is careful, intelligent, and contemplative, and the past-tense narration gives the impression of an older Emma looking back at a painful, but critical episode in her teenage years from a safe distance in the future…[A] reflective and incisive exploration of the far-reaching effects of mental illness.”
“THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS . . . immerses us in an utterly convincing world, and, in Emma, creates the kind of complex heroine readers will long remember—in all her flaws and hidden strengths and surprising wisdom.”
—Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply and Stay Awake
“In this candid, affecting portrait of a girl in crisis, debut author Axelrod nonjudgmentally and realistically captures the swirling ups and downs of anxiety, and the frantic, impotent grasp for control in the face of unpredictable, catastrophic change.”
“The Law of Loving Others is a poignant, powerful, and insightful novel about love, loss, and growing up. Kate Axelrod has written a wise and wonderful debut.”
—Margo Rabb, author of Cures for Heartbreak and Kissing in America
“This atmospheric, intense book captures perfectly the heady feeling of being on the edge of adulthood, when the abstract concept of "love" starts to have real and sometimes terrifying meaning and consequences. Kate Axelrod is a gifted, sensitive and subtle writer who readers of all ages will be thrilled to discover.”
—Emily Gould, author of Friendship
“Axelrod has created a convincing portrait of a teen newly experiencing the step-by-step process of learning how to cope with a family member’s mental illness. Emma’s father and friends provide an additional range of realistic emotional responses to the situation, adding to the story’s potential as a resource for teaching and healing.”
—School Library Journal
“A riveting and heartbreaking story of every young person's worst nightmare: the descent of a parent into madness. A great read by a great new writer to watch.” "
—Blake Nelson, author of The Prince of Venice Beach
"Axelrod vividly captures the emotional peaks and valleys of that fraught age with nuance and the knowledge that level ground lies ahead."
—KGB Bar & Lit Journal